February 25th, 2014
05:28 PM ET
10 months ago

Rubio on 2016: Clinton would 'struggle'

(CNN) - Sen. Marco Rubio questioned how formidable a candidate Hillary Clinton would be if she runs for the White House again.

And Rubio, in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," indicated that he and his political mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, could potentially go head-to-head as they both weigh 2016 presidential bids.

Asked by Blitzer if he thinks he could beat the former secretary of state, the first term Republican senator from Florida didn't directly answer the question but said he expects Clinton to "struggle to win on multiple fronts."

"First, I think she's going to be asked to account for her time as secretary of state and I don't think it's the sterling success people think it is. Quite frankly, much of the foreign policy failures we see in place today began when she ran the Department of State," Rubio said.

Rubio argued she'll "have to answer for Benghazi," referring to the 2012 deadly terrorist attack against a diplomatic post in Libya that left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead. That incident happened during Clinton's watch as secretary of state.

Polls indicate that Clinton, if she decides to run, would start out as the overwhelming frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. And the most recent surveys also indicate Clinton with double digit leads over most of the possible GOP White House hopefuls in 2016 hypothetical matchups.

Correct the Record, a group that does not represent Clinton but seeks to defend her against political attacks, argued that Rubio was playing politics with the facts.

"In her tenure as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton helped restore America's leadership and standing in the world during a time of global challenges and changes," said Adrienne Elrod, the group's communications director. "She played an integral role in the New START Treaty with Russia that reduced nuclear missile launchers."

Elrod also noted that Clinton supported the raid that led to Osama bin Laden's death.

Jeb Bush not a factor in Rubio decision

Rubio said that Bush, who served two terms as Sunshine State governor, wouldn't be a factor on his own decision making process for a White House run.

The senator said Bush would be a "formidable candidate," but added "my decision will be based on me, not what anybody else decides."

"If I feel I can make a difference…from that office, to lead us in that direction, that's something I would have to strongly consider," Rubio told Blitzer, adding he'll make a decision "later this year, early next year."

Both politicians are considered relatively popular in the Sunshine State, but a Quinnipiac University poll released last month indicated Bush would best Rubio, 25%-16%, in a potential GOP presidential primary.

Rubio reiterated to Blitzer that he'll decide about a presidential run later this year or early in 2015.

CNN's Ashley Killough and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.


Filed under: 2016 • Hillary Clinton • Marco Rubio • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Whatever helps you sleep at night, Captain Thirsty.

    February 25, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    Uh oh. Marco Rubio is once again giving us his seasoned political opinions amounting to nothing more than a hill of beans drying in the harsh drought ridden California desert.

    "And Rubio, in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," indicated that he and his political mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, could potentially go head-to-head as they both weigh 2016 presidential bids"

    Yeah. Rubio is going to go head-to-head with Jeb Bush nationally. Uh huh.

    February 25, 2014 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. just asking

    hillary clinton is an even empty pants suit than obama was and we all see how that nightmare is playing out. more failure, lies and deceit than you can shake a stick at. we want more of that? nope.

    February 25, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. Ol' Yeller

    We'll see who struggles... rubio will have at least 12 teab agg er candidates primarying him from the right, if he is even brave enough to run; which I doubt.
    Should he somehow manage the miracle of miracles and get to the right of all those crazies and win the nomination... then Hillary would destroy him and no fake faux news polls would save him.
    Just like they failed to save mitttens...

    February 25, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Rubio has no credibility, and evidently, no media available for him to catch up with reality.

    February 25, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. Dan5404

    If Clinton would struggle, then by comparison, Rubio would be crushed. He has tried to play bith sides of the fence and wound up straddling barbed wire. Not a chance, And, Jeb Bush would have to disown his brother's record

    February 25, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Arizona republicans and republicans nationwide have done so much to bring our country together, oh wait . . .

    February 25, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "more failure, lies and deceit than you can shake a stick at."

    Is that why you're shaking your stick at that windmill instead?

    February 25, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. Tampa Tim

    When you talk about Rubio, you are talking about an empty pant suit.

    February 25, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  10. Sandra

    Mrs Clinton would struggle? Projection much, Mr Rubio?

    February 25, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  11. mark

    Its easy for him to run the bs than anything else

    February 25, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. Jon

    Oh my god! Another Bush???? No thanks.

    February 25, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. Ryan

    Rubio is and will always be a voice with no credibility specially by suggesting that the incompetent Jeb Bush is a formidable candidate. We the people do not need another Bush as a President.

    February 25, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. Who Knows

    Hey Marco, I'm certainly not a Hillary fan, but just who in the Republican party is going to beat her if she runs? You might want to figure out how to get a candidate that can beat a Democrat.............and I don't vote Democrat!

    February 25, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. 1alien1

    oh yeah, rubio would know

    February 25, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. Jesse

    The only thing struggling is his hairline

    February 25, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  17. just saying

    i think rubio means clinton would struggle on the campaign trail because of her walker....

    February 25, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. Will S

    "Rubio argued she'll "have to answer for Benghazi,"

    Actually, she won't. She won't be attending any Senate confirmation hearings when she runs for President and can effectively ignore any reference to Benghazi. The only people that care about Benghazi now wouldn't vote for her even if she was the only candidate. Rubio, Cruz, Inhofe, and Paul can listen to the crickets chirping in their empty chambers while she keeps on campaigning.

    February 25, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. Pander Bear

    It's going to be fun watching the GOP clown car in 2016. Rubio won't make it through New Hampshire before he drops out for lack of interest in his campaign.

    February 25, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. Stentor

    Marco Rubio – concern troll for Democratic Presidential Candidates.

    February 25, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  21. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Rubio , the GOP TEAPaARTY CLOWN, will be LUCKY to be realected to the senate, it was obvious it was a MISTAKE to elect the moron in the first place !!!!

    February 25, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. Dave1157

    I love how all these undecided Republicans are weighing in on Hillary's prospects for 2016. Does CNN (or anybody) expect a one of them to say she'd be a formidable opponent? Their only hope is to get the sound bites out there now and hope Rush and his buddies at Fox News keep repeating them loudly enough that the independents (who will undoubtedly decide the next election, but are not known for listening to either Fox or Rush) will take their predictions at face value and vote without giving it any thought of their own.

    Benghazi will keep coming up, but if the worst thing Hillary has to worry about is answering for the death of four Americans at the hands of foreign terrorists, she's pretty much got it made. Rubio is about as popular as Ted Cruz outside of his own home state, and Jeb Bush has a strong family legacy to overcome. Christie is the GOP's best hope, and they've done just about everything they can to tear him down.

    If Hillary doesn't run, all bets are off. But if she does, whoever goes up against her will have a long uphill battle.

    February 25, 2014 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. Wake up People!

    Listen to this lightweight. If Hillary would struggle so much, why is your party trying to destroy her before she even announces she's running?? It's kind of like the ACA, if it's the be all end all didn't the Kock's waste their money? Wouldn't it fail all on it's own? Or did it just need a billion dollar push?

    Just asking....

    February 25, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. sly

    Ho ho ho ... TeaKlan is polling at 11% (I know I know – Republicans think all polls are conspiracies!).

    Hillary at 62%.

    Maybe Rubio means a 62-11 win would be a 'struggle'.

    Anyhow you look at it, Hillary Clinton wins a landslide in 2016. And it's about time we got a woman as President. Praise the Lord Jesus that we finally broke 200 years of Rich White Males as Presidents.

    Yup, America is improving. These are good times.

    February 25, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Truck

    Liberals are destroying this country,so the old battle axe would continue down the road to a utopian third world "country".
    What difference does it make?

    February 25, 2014 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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