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.
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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.
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."
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.
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."
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."
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.