Washington (CNN) – Florida Republican Senate hopeful Marco Rubio slammed the Obama administration Wednesday for its response to the Gulf oil spill. And Rubio did not miss the opportunity to criticize his opponent Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for not doing more to get the resources Florida needs to defend against the spill's onslaught.
"I think the federal government took its time responding to this early on," Rubio said of the spill in an interview that aired on CNN's The Situation Room. "I think that they weren't quick enough. I think that the bureaucracy continues to be in place."
"[W]e are the most powerful country in the world," Rubio told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "Every oil skimmer on the planet should be in the Gulf of Mexico by now. And they're not."
Rubio added that it is "tragic" to see what Florida is facing "because of the lack of response from the federal government" as more oil has come ashore in Pensacola even today.
Rubio is set to face off in a three-way Senate race this November against Gov. Crist and the eventual Democratic nominee. When GOP primary polling earlier this year showed Crist lagging behind Rubio, the Florida governor made the decision to forgo the GOP primary race and effectively concede the Republican nod to Rubio. Instead, Crist is running an independent Senate bid as a non-party affiliated candidate.
As he explains how Florida is responding to the spill, Crist has had the opportunity to spend plenty of time with the media – something that Rubio sought to highlight Wednesday. And, echoing a frequent GOP refrain that portrays Crist as too friendly with President Obama, Rubio also told Blitzer that he thought the Florida governor has not put enough pressure on the Obama administration to get Florida's the spill response resources it needs.
"[H]e's doing a great job of getting, you know, press releases and press conferences and video time. And that's part of the job of being governor," Rubio said of Crist. "But the other part is to get results. And right now we're not getting results from the Obama administration.
"And I don't think the governor has pressed the Obama administration enough. I think recently he said that he thought the Obama administration was doing a very good job. That they have finally caught up. They haven't. And today is evidence that they haven't caught up."
Although Rubio said he blamed BP for the Gulf oil spill and said the embattled energy giant "cut corners and it led to this accident," the Senate hopeful also said he supports increased domestic production of oil and gas if it can be done safely.
"The bottom line is that I am for safe exploration of domestic resources," Rubio told Blitzer. "We need that in order to be energy independent and safe. But it has got to be done safely. And that's why it's so important to find out why this happened so it never happens again."
And Rubio took a dig at Crist for calling the Gulf oil spill "a wake-up call ... to go more green and clean" in terms of energy sources.
"Well, what car runs on wind power? What car runs on solar power that's cost-effective? And there is no cars that I know that run on nuclear power," Rubio said, reacting to Crist's earlier remarks. "What we're talking about here is transportation energy. And right now the only cost-effective way to fuel vehicles for driving, for airplanes, et cetera, is petroleum-based products.
"We should change that. We should invest in technologies. We should invest the time to become a leader in alternatives, whether it's fuel cells or electric cars. But that's not going to happen from today to next week or next month or next year."