November 6th, 2013
01:28 PM ET
11 months ago

Rubio: Don't jump to conclusions about meaning of Christie win

Washington (CNN) – In an interview with CNN, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio downplayed Wednesday any national takeaways from GOP Gov. Chris Christie's crushing victory in the blue state of New Jersey and Republican Ken Cuccinelli's loss in Virginia, saying what happened in Tuesday's elections carry little implications for the future of the GOP.

"I think we need to understand that some of these races don't apply to future races. Every race is different–it has a different set of factors–but I congratulate (Christie) on his win," he told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash.

Watch more of Bash's interview with Rubio Wednesday on CNN at 4 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. ET.

The first-term Senator from Florida stressed that each race is unique to the state where it's taking place.

"Clearly (Christie) was able to speak to the hopes and aspirations of people within New Jersey. That's important. We want to win everywhere and Governor Christie has certainly shown he has a way of winning in New Jersey, in states like New Jersey... so I congratulate him on that," he said.

Rubio's comments stood in stark contrast to the message Christie tried to convey in his victory speech Tuesday night. The governor argued his win should send a cautionary tale to Washington (and more subtly, to the GOP) that his way is the right way.

"Listen, I know that if we can do this in Trenton, New Jersey, maybe the folks in Washington, D.C. should tune in their TVs right now, see how it's done," said Christie, whose speech further cemented speculation that the straight-talking Republican governor will likely run for president in 2016.

CNN exit polls indicate Christie had strong showings among many of the crucial voting blocs the GOP needs to capture on a national scale. He won 57% of the female vote and every age group except 18- to 29-year-olds, which he narrowly lost. He also won the Latino vote and took just over a fifth of the African-American vote, a much better performance than many Republicans in recent elections.

But he also won two-thirds of independents and a third of Democrats in a state where Democrats and independents made up nearly three-quarters of Tuesday's electorate.

5 things we learned from Election Night 2013

Rubio, also a potential presidential contender, wasn't as quick to say Christie's style should be the model for the entire Republican Party.

"Every election is different," he said, adding the only message that "translated across the country" on Tuesday was a need to "abandon the politics of big government and embrace free enter and limited government."

"I think Chris Christie's tried to make that argument in New Jersey. I think Ken Cuccinelli made that argument in Virginia. It worked in one place, it didn't in another because of factors particular to those states," he continued. "But on a national level I think that's a winning argument no matter who our nominee is in 2016 and certainly for our candidates running in 2014."

Opinion: Christie is GOP's lone superstar

In Virginia, what if...

Rubio, however, argued there was one national takeaway in the Virginia race, where Cuccinelli lost to Democrat Terry McAuliffe in a narrower margin than expected.

"I think if he had more resources and a little bit more time he would have won that race, and that's a clear indication of how unpopular Obamacare has become," he said.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, Cuccinelli sought to make the election into a referendum on the president's signature health care law, and his supporters argued that the close margin reflected growing frustration with the Obamacare rollout fallout.

Election Night 2013: Christie wins big, Virginia provides drama

Rubio also said Cuccinelli would have benefited if he had more resources, and questioned whether the GOP abandoned him too quickly. The Republican Governors Association spent about $8 million on the race, but stopped running television ads weeks ago. By Election Day, Democrats had a roughly 4-1 spending edge over Republicans on Virginia TV airwaves.

"He didn't have those resources to answer some of the negative attacks that were levied against him that created a caricature of him that he was unable to undo," Rubio said. "I certainly think a lot of people now need to look back at that race and wonder, would we not have won had he just a few more resources to set the record straight about his own record."

'Grossed out'

Asked whether recent efforts in Washington that led to last month's government shutdown have hurt the Republican brand, Rubio told Bash that frustration levels are up with the federal government as a whole.

"Everyone around here is paying a political price because people are grossed out by Washington and by the fact that this is a town that seems incapable of solving any of the major issues that we face, and quite frankly on many of the big issues, lacks any sense of urgency," he said.

Rubio especially blasted Congress for failing to come together to pass immigration reform and the farm bill.

So will a U.S. Senator fare well in a presidential race?

"Well I don't know of any Senators that are running for president," he said. "Those are decisions people make later but I think you can work in Washington without being of Washington."

Standing up for prayer

Rubio made his comments to CNN outside of the Supreme Court, where justices heard oral arguments Wednesday for a case on whether public prayer at a New York town's board meetings are permissible. Rubio is supportin those in favor of allowing public prayer.

"It's part of our country's tradition. It's also a constitutional right to be able to exercise that," he said. "I think we're going to win, and I think it's going to affirm a fundamental right to religious freedom."

Supreme Court debates church-state dispute over public prayers

Asked if he feels more compelled to be vocal on social issues than he used to, Rubio said he got involved in the case months ago.

"(To) be able to express yourself in prayer before a governmental meeting is something that our tradition upholds as a country because it's something the founders–the very people that wrote the Constitution–did," he said. "But it's also something that I think is an important part of the fabric as a nation."

A ruling is expected by early summer.

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser, CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby and CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2013 • 2016 • Chris Christie • Marco Rubio
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    I advise these guys not to nag on Obamacare any more. They saw the most wretched HUMILIATION yesterday. Chriss win is not at all a win–he is a hidden Democrat. I advise hom to change the party to democratic. Nothing wrong with it.

    November 6, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "Every race is different–it has a different set of factors–but I congratulate (Christie) on his win,"

    "abandon the politics of big government and embrace free enter and limited government."
    --------------------------------------------–
    Here's a factor Marco. You sponsored immigration legislation and then took a dump on it months later. That may be a factor in your next race.

    As for big government, Ken Cooch was the embodiment of big government. The man's policies literally would have hit Virginians in our bedrooms.

    So yes Marco, each race is different, but the ideology is still the same. GOP policies suck and are not in the mainstream. End of story.

    November 6, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Peace

    Unfortunately am not impressed the way Christie talks about himself. He did this during the last GOP Convention in Tampa last year, he did it again yesterday during his acceptance speech. Why can't he leave it for people to compliment him? Is he insecure?

    November 6, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Bill

    Keep telling yourself that Boy Wonder.

    November 6, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. rs

    Hmmm, except for Christie's win, it was a bleak day for the TP. I think Mr. Rubio might need to re-assess reality.

    November 6, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. ARMYCSM

    If we only had a little more money, a little more time, a little more headliners, Oh really? You all lost; close is good in horse shoes but, not elections.
    OBAMACare is only unpopular to you losers... Fubio. The true referendum was the rejection of the GOP and their flea party extremists. There, I said it!!!

    November 6, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    I see the difference. Rubio campaigned for the Cooch, but Christie wanted no part of the Koch's man child. Marco must be a little bitter to be shunned by Christie. Maybe we should send Rudio to campaign in close races, and the democrat would win.

    November 6, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. Woman In California

    I no longer live in NJ so therefore, I could not vote – but having said that, the people of NJ voted in the person they wanted and I respect that. On a national level, neither Christie or Rubio could win enough minorities or women to make it to the White House (and Rubio knows it). I just hope the more Christie is in the spotlight the more people will really see he's just not presidential material.

    November 6, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Rubio: Don't jump to conclusions about meaning of Christie win"

    Yeah, nevermind all the talk prior to the election about how it was all a referendum on the ACA, Obama, Dem/liberal ideology, etc. etc. Interpreting election results as having some sort of meaning with respect to what the public wants and believes is only for when GOPers/Teatrolls win them. IOKIYAR...or didn't you get the memo?

    November 6, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Kinard

    No one, not one living soul cares about the comments from this zipper stain and the news keep him plastered on the front page as often as possible. Give it a rest Bruno. No one wants to hear from you. Meaningless, mindless red herring.

    November 6, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Larry in Houston

    Hey Marco, the only conclusion that I'm drawing is : so far, Christy is the front runner, and of course, as time goes by, things & people will change

    November 6, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. James

    Doing the same things and expecting different results.

    November 6, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    Oh, don't worry, Sen. Rubio. I haven't jumped to conclusions over Christie's win. I predicted he'd win. I mean, come on, we ALL predicted he'd win. Why he did win is a story for another day, another year. Well, another 3 years actually. I'll let you GOPers decide what you all want do with Chris Christie politically. Just to be clear, though, Christie makes me yawn.

    I'm filled with unanticipated excitement that TeaPers (especially Koch funded TeaPers) didn't do so well last night. Cheers to those who are finally seeing what happens locally when a couple of billionaire brothers want to buy votes while interfering in local elections, and go the extra step to vote their bought and paid for surrogates out. Hopefully my sister state Wisconsin is paying attention on how to get rid of the Koch influence in their state and local branches of government. I'll let New Jersey get back to us when they decide they are no longer willing to once again vote for Christie. The 2016 presidential election comes to mind. He's going to need to carry that state in the same manner Romney needed to carry Massachusetts.

    @Dominican mama: Job well done. Kudos to all who canvassed, worked the phones, and voted against Cuccinelli.

    November 6, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. loving it

    rs

    Hmmm, except for Christie's win, it was a bleak day for the TP. I think Mr. Rubio might need to re-assess reality.

    Actually, I think Christie's win was bleak for the TP, also. Demonstrates that a more moderate Republican candidate can win, whereas a TP candidate can't.

    Maybe the more moderate Repubs should threaten to "primary" the TP.

    November 6, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Who cares? Marco Rubio let the Guns Over People tea potty set him up. Now he is a dead man walking and talking.

    November 6, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. Data Driven

    @Gurgyl,

    "he is a hidden democrat"

    No he is not, Gurgyl. He's a right-winger who hates public school teachers, despite the fact that New Jersey has been at the top of education rankings for years. He is also bigoted toward gays, thinking that they don't deserve equal marriage rights. If he was Governor of Tennessee, he'd be full-on crazed-dog "tea party".

    Do not let the media fool you.

    November 6, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Every election is different," he [Rubio] said, adding the only message that "translated across the country" on Tuesday was a need to "abandon the politics of big government and embrace free enter and limited government."

    "I think Chris Christie's tried to make that argument in New Jersey. I think Ken Cuccinelli made that argument in Virginia. It worked in one place, it didn't in another because of factors particular to those states," he [Rubio] continued.
    ------------------------–
    They just don't learn anything, these Tea Party folks. It wan't the economic message of limited government. Obviouisly, something else was different about Cuccinelli and Christie. Do you think it has anything to do with the radical right wing, social engineering agenda in which the Tea Party has been engaged. Cuccinelli embraced it, while Christie rejected it with colorful language. And I was just about to give Rubio credit for not being as arrogant as Rand Paul, who actually congratulated Christie by welcoming him to the Republican Party, as if he owned it.

    November 6, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    "If we only had a little more money, a little more time, a little more headliners, Oh really? You all lost; close is good in horse shoes but, not elections."

    Stubborn is as stubborn does. It has been pointed out that CNN is losing all its political credibility nationally and yet here they are again today still carrying that "if only" water bucket.

    November 6, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lynda Minnesota
    Thanks babe!
    In regards to Rubio:
    I don't think Christie's win had anything much to do with the Teatard Brigade, as I don't recall him running against one.
    The real story is in the races that the Tea Party lost. Places like Iowa and the deep, DEEP south like Alabama
    It should be giving all the cray-crays in your Party more than pause for thought, although thinking appears to be something that they are wholly unfamiliar with.
    More losses to come for you in 2014.
    Thankfully Obamacare covers mental health.

    November 6, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Please Senator Rubio , take more photos of you and Ted Cruz together !

    Also , if you spent as much time doing your job and less time on Twitter , you might accomplish something !

    November 6, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. vic , nashville ,tn

    Tea party please move over let us win the white house
    Moderate republican

    November 6, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Forgetaboutit Rubio, your not even going to get realected in Florida!!!!!!! And where's our 24 billion you and Cruz and lee , the three stooges of the GOP teaparty LOST in 16 DAYS

    November 6, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. sonkarlay

    They never learned, they campaign on Obama care in 2012,they lost couple of their senators and couple of house members, this time in 2014 things will be much better for the president because right now we have the enemy of the nation in the house, we want cuz and his father out there talking more and the other tea bags too, the more they are out there the more democrat will win, what's wrong with helping your citizen's that don't have, is that the way of the bible?because they call themselves Christian

    November 6, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Data
    Thank you for the list of Chrisitie's transgressions that you provided in another story today.
    These are not little things to sneeze at.
    My question is "If he didn't make it through vetting for V.P. based on things on your list, are they going to overlook those things when he is vetted for a shot at the presidency?".
    They gave that mayor in Detroit 28 years for racketeering and profitting from the office he was entrusted to.
    Do you think that they will give ole' Christie a wink and a nod?

    November 6, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Rudy: "And I was just about to give Rubio credit for not being as arrogant as Rand Paul, who actually congratulated Christie by welcoming him to the Republican Party, as if he owned it."

    Oh, Rudy! I saw that comment Rand Paul made. How utterly delicious of Paul to sound so petty and so spiteful and so pompous.

    One hopes Paul didn't cut and copy his words of welcome to Christie?

    November 6, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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