Washington (CNN) - Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio rejected a blanket characterization of the Tea Party movement as extremist on Tuesday, but at the same time remained noncommittal about the prospect of joining a Tea Party caucus if elected.
When asked about the NAACP's resolution that called some elements of the Tea Party "racist," Rubio said that did not mirror his experiences with the group.
"Well I think it's unfortunate that labels like that are used to brand an entire group of people, the vast majority of whom are folks that care and love their country, believe it's the greatest country on earth," Rubio told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
"I certainly haven't confronted or seen that in my experience and the events that I have attended. What I run into are everyday Americans from all walks of life, from all parties, ethnicities and races," the Republican added.
Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, is one of the group's success stories, but the candidate said Tuesday that he doesn't see the need for a Tea Party caucus in the Senate, an idea that has been floated by Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul.
"Well I don't know what the need for that [Tea Party caucus] would be, obviously, maybe they feel there is a need for that, or others feel there is a need for that. I'm more interested in being part of a caucus that would lower taxes in America and create an environment where jobs are going to be created by the private sector," Rubio said.
And while Rubio remained noncommittal about joining a Tea Party caucus, he did have a prediction about who his election rival, independent candidate and Florida Governor Charlie Crist, would caucus with if elected: the Democrats.
"All indications are and I believe that he will caucus with the Democrats in Washington and be a part of promoting the Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda," Rubio predicted.
"He, I think, has almost admitted that at this point – said he has had two phone conversations with Harry Reid recently to talk about his future in the U.S. Senate."
Rubio is locked in a tight race for Senate, and has consistently trailed independent candidate Charlie Crist since the Florida governor abandoned the GOP primary and instead announced his intention to run as an independent.
Crist and Rubio await the results of a Florida's August Democratic primary to see which Democratic candidate will challenge them in the general election.