(CNN) - Florida's closely watched junior senator said Tuesday his state's primary election would determine the eventual GOP nominee.
Speaking on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Republican Marco Rubio said he wouldn't handicap the race, but could predict the importance of winning the Sunshine State.
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"I'm not going to speculate as to who's going to win," Rubio said. "Here's what I'm comfortable saying. I think the winner of Florida is in all likelihood going to be the nominee of our party. Florida is a mini America. Virtually every issue we want them to be conversant on is a discussion we've had in Florida."
Rubio, who hasn't endorsed a GOP presidential candidate ahead of Tuesday's primary, said his standing relationships with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich prevented him from publicly backing one over the other. Rubio said Gingrich helped him during his time in Florida's state legislature, and Romney campaigned on his behalf in his 2010 Senate bid.
"I have relationships with two of the four candidates," Rubio said. "I know them well. I didn't want to get involved in the endorsement game. None of it will matter at the end of the day. My endorsement won't impact the outcome at the end of the day. Voters will make up their own minds, and we are going to find out tonight what Floridians think."
The onslaught of negative ads in Florida has previewed what's in store during the general election, Rubio said.
"I think that's been a part of every campaign," Rubio said. "Unfortunately, it's only gotten worse. No candidate in American history has ever run more negative ads than Barack Obama. I don't think that will change in 2012. Unfortunately people have to get used to it. I think voters see through that."
Though political observers have pegged Rubio as a strong potential vice presidential pick, the Florida senator reiterated Tuesday what he's said in the past: he isn't interested in being a running mate, and is focused on his work in Congress.
"I'm not thinking about the vice presidency or anything of that nature," Rubio said.
Marco need only be concern helping Florida as he committed to.
Don't be looking for VP position.
No it won't.
You're just saying that because it's Romney's turn to win again.
No one cares what florida thinks
RON PAUL 2012
Well maybe that's what most of the GOP brass wants, but if I'm in the Romney camp I'd be worried about the February caucus states, Paul and Santorum could do well there and possibly even win. Than in March the deep south votes and well it would be interesting how those people vote especially if Gingrich is still in the race by than and I still dont see them voting for a Mormon and Gingrich could sweep the south and maybe some of the midwestern states overall this could get bad fast for Romney and it's still so early on you cant say its over yet!
No matter who wins the Republican Primaries Obama will lose in a landslide. Finally we will be getting rid of a socialist President.
Romney will be the nominee. Why can't you losers get that through your head? And it will be close, but Florida could once again decide it just like in 2000. Here is the fact: The nominee MUST be someone that Independents will vote for. Newt & Santorum?–NEVER. Ron Paul? He can't win anything. The longer Newt's ego holds on, the worse it will be for Republicans to win in Nov.
it's only four states get real. Even if Mitt wins FL he still won't win it with more than 50%
People just don't trust him. He's a moderate at best and with the support of Dole and McCain and the GOP establishment in DC who wants tha't again
Just like Rubio to support a draft doggier who's five sons avoided military service.
Oh I forgot , Rubio fought in the Bay of Pigs when he was 5 years old.
Party of Hypocrites
Romney / Rubio
Who is this Rubio anyway? What's the big deal about him, what he says and what he will did in the future. His youth, inexperience and Hispanic background are enough to disqualify him from the vice-presidency and enough to allow the republicans to lose the general election against Obama. Who the hell is he anyway?
Why do liberals tend to make things so personal?
It's fine that you disagree but why do you feel the need for such angry personal attacks?
so you call hin arrogant? what do you call pelosi, hoyer, biden and obama????? FOOLS!
this is a great hispanic...need to talk to his community so they stop drinking the Dem koolaid...and realiza that their values are conservative!!!!
Isn't this Rubio the liar who lied about the time and reason why he's in the United States today? Do we forget the story he forged until he was recently called out?
Given the definition of the word, isn't he a LIAR? He certainly is.
Who is this Rubio anyway? What's the big deal about him, what he says and what he will do in the future. His youth, inexperience and Hispanic background are enough to disqualify him from the vice-presidency and enough to allow the republicans to lose the general election against Obama. Who the hell is he anyway?
But Rubio, what if your crystal ball is on the fritz?
Oh, Marco, Marco.....you know all your party is doing is wasting a lot of money deciding who you want to lose to President Obama.
Only by fraud.....just like the voting in Florida.
~Blessed Be to all~
Rubio is such a coward, he acts as romney's pet and yet doesn't even have the guts to endorse him, i can't wait for this clown to get a national vetting
Maxx, why in the world are you commenting on a story about a person you supposedly don't know?
BTW for someone who keeps asking "Rubio who?" it's a little funny that you know his age group, his heritage and his level of political experience.
Republican/Tea Bagger politicians hate and don't care for the middle class, minorities, immigrants, elders, the american industry and working class, the poor, foreigners and foreign cultures, gays, environmental organizations and people with other religions. They even hate themselves, no wonder the record negative campaign they are staging. They are not focused in the progress of the country, caring only for the very rich and powerful to grab power in order to push their own misguided agenda and special interest. President Obama will crush easily any of these candidates in the general election
Anybody but Obama!! Personally I'd love to see Marco Rubio - he'd make a great president - intelligent, passionate about America, understands our history and exceptionalism, has a handle on all the issues, is articulate, good-looking. Oh I wish he was running. But as I said, anybody but Obama!
I can't believe people here are saying that Rubio is a liar - when he might've misspoke about a year or two about his history – not anything he actually experienced. When Obama has LIED about everything! Why doesn't Obama release his college records, why has he had multiple ssn's, why does he tell the American people on thing and then do whatever the heck he wants! Stop the B.S. already because we are sick of your hatred of anything good in this world.
Great! So we'll soon know which Republican clown wins the privilege to lose to Barack Obama in November. Yay!
Rubio is just a mouthpiece for the GOP looking for his fifteen minutes of fame.A nobody on the trail to nowhere.
Sorry Marco, but it's not a good time to be a Repubican right now. OBAMA/BIDEN in NOVEMBER!!!
Sheeesh....no matter how ya cut it.......Romney is far better than the Grinch. Its an outright embarrassment to even have the latter on the ballot. More baggage than a railroad luggage car- too many to list.
I love these people who make these predictions when a child could make them. So it is news that Romney will be nominee? Give me a break. CNN why do you call this a surprise prediction. Maybe because the prediction is so surprisingly dumb?