February 25th, 2014
05:28 PM ET
5 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. Mark

    CNN is going to dedicate itself to Hillary

    Clinton nonstop network – cnn

    February 25, 2014 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    "she'd have to answer for Benghazi", "conservatives" slashed budgets foe security for embassies. End of story.

    February 25, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  3. TomGI

    Rubio could never win a national election. He harbors an illusion that he could capture the Hispanic vote for a voting block but Hispanics won't back a Cuban. It won't happen. Jeb Bush might win if his dad is still alive. #41 might be able to rig the election, he did it for #43 and certainly will try if he is still alive.

    February 25, 2014 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  4. Peace

    Rubio, you need to prepare dozens and dozens of drinking water. Don't pray to meet this intelligent woman (Hillary) on a stage for debating. The sipping of water will be 5 bottles in a minute.

    February 25, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  5. MidwestMaestro

    Nothing but more republican WISHFUL THINKING. Clinton will WIPE THE FLOOR with any republican competitor, as has already been well-established by basically every single unbiased poll out there. The only people that care about this pseudo-controversy of Benghazi are fox news nutters that would never vote for a democrat anyway. Make no mistake: republicans are nervously sweating and praying she wont run for office.

    February 25, 2014 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  6. Chris-E...al

    CLintons clown show an tricks is comeing to a city near You ! They have free door prizes and food an ballons for the kids ! hury hury hury

    February 25, 2014 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  7. Areyoukidding?

    Another 1 term senator lawyer. Just what we don't need

    February 25, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  8. Bazinga

    Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush....Its a joke, right?

    February 25, 2014 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  9. Green mountain

    Stop the madness before America is destroyed

    February 25, 2014 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  10. Joe barnathan

    Good luck and you have my vote.

    February 25, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  11. FrankinSD

    Gee, the panty waste from Florida things that Hillary would "struggle." The only struggle she would have is the struggle to avoid laughing at little Marco as he goes for his baby bottle when his mouth goes dry.

    February 25, 2014 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  12. thaschadow

    What makes those idiots Rubio and Cruz think they have enough experience or know how to become our president? They are delusional.

    February 25, 2014 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  13. retief1954

    Utterly ridiculous. Wishful thinking. And I'm NOT concerned about Mrs. Clinton's ability to respond to whatever sewage Repubs toss at her.

    February 25, 2014 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  14. bspurloc

    Hillary has blood on her hands... Remember how she sat around deceitfully while a WMD LIE got 5000+ servicemen killed 50,000+ injured, even more PTSD's from multiple tours. 100's of thousands of veterans needing our help with no plan to take care of them....
    Yes Hillary has blood on her hands... and I cant recall what happened to Mr shock and awe our hearts and minds.

    February 25, 2014 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  15. Junior

    Send him the clown....

    February 25, 2014 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  16. Sandvichmancer

    The only people who believe that Benghazi is relevant are people who would never have voted liberal in the first place.

    Or at all if a Tea Party approved candidate doesn't get the nomination from Republicans.

    February 25, 2014 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  17. Ron

    Rubio, your wrong, Hillary will slide thru YOU, will struggle and still not win, You repubs need to get it straight, the People don't like REPUBLICANS, and they will not vote one into office,

    February 25, 2014 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  18. Dan215

    More Jedi Mind Tricks. Now: "Hillary will struggle"... Before: "Obama is a one term President". I love the Rights predictions.

    February 25, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  19. Whatever

    Clinton's been around for like a gazillion years and Rubio for how long?

    February 25, 2014 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  20. steve from largo

    Both would struggle for votes from LEGAL American citizens as both want amnesty for the illegal alien criminals and offspring.

    February 25, 2014 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  21. Mato you

    It is fine that Rubio deny how connected Clinton is with the American public.Republicans blew it against Obama during the last election and it looks like they are setting themselves up for the same mistake in the next election.
    This guy refuses to see reality.

    February 25, 2014 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  22. sadlyperturbed

    just askin said: "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."

    So please name all these lies, failures, and deceit please. Your accusations without foundation are just rhetoric with nothing to back it up.

    February 25, 2014 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  23. DocJay

    Why has Benghazi become an Obama or Clinton issue? Under the Reagan administration there were 7 embassy bombings that resulted in 94 deaths. Under Bush, there were 12 embassy attacks that resulted in 60 deaths. Not to mention the fact that the Republicans have voted to reduce spending for embassy security for the past 5 years. Rubio and the Republicans part need to find another subject to debate.

    February 25, 2014 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  24. randomguy9999

    every time Rubio opens his mouth something crazy comes out... and saying that Benghazi will make a Clinton campaign struggle is just plain old wishful thinking

    February 25, 2014 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  25. Savik

    any democrat is going to struggle against O's record

    February 25, 2014 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
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