Rubio in Iowa on eve of key primary
June 2nd, 2014
09:10 AM ET
2 months ago

Rubio in Iowa on eve of key primary

(CNN) - Marco Rubio's in Iowa Monday.

The first-term Republican senator from Florida's in the Hawkeye State to campaign for state senator Joni Ernst, the frontrunner in Tuesday's GOP Senate primary.

But anytime a potential White House contender visits Iowa - the state that kicks off the presidential caucus and primary calendar – the political world definitely takes notice. And Rubio's trip to Iowa comes a month after he traveled to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

On the eve of the primary, Rubio joins Ernst at a early evening barbecue at her campaign HQ. And the two team up to talk to local reporters and join WHO's Simon Conway, a popular afternoon/early evening drive time talk radio host. And Rubio's Reclaim America PAC went up last week with a TV ad in support of Ernst, spending nearly $200,000 to run the spot statewide on cable TV, digital and radio.

"Excited to join @joniernst tomorrow at 5:00pm at her campaign HQ – final push!" Rubio tweeted Sunday.

Ernst, who's also a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard and who grabbed national attention earlier this year by touting her hog castrating skills in a campaign commercial, has the backing of some top names and groups among both the tea party movement and establishment Republicans.

Last week, the political wing of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which often backs conservative candidates that launch primary challenges against incumbent Republican senators, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which mainly endorses mainstream Republicans, both went up with statewide ad buys in support of Ernst.

Complete Coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

Friday 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigned with Ernst at two events in eastern Iowa. The state's lieutenant governor, Kim Reynolds, teamed up with Romney and Ernst at those events. And while not officially endorsing her, longtime Gov. Terry Branstad is a supporter. And she's also backed by the National Rife Association, which like the Chamber tends to support more traditional Republicans.

But she also enjoys the support of the political wing of Tea Party Express, a leading national tea party group, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, still influential with many on the right, also recently campaigned with her.

Ernst is facing off against three other major candidates in next Tuesday's primary – businessman Mark Jacobs, former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker, and conservative radio talk show host Sam Clovis. If no candidate cracks 35% of the GOP primary vote, the nomination will be decided by around 2,000 delegates at a state party convention. A Des Moines Register poll released over the weekend put Ernst at 36%, 18-percentage points ahead of Jacobs, who was in second place.

The GOP nominee will face off in the midterm elections against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who faces token opposition in his party's primary. The winner of November's general election will succeed longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, who is retiring at the end of the year. If Republicans flip Harkin's seat, and five other Democratic held seats, they will control the Senate.

Rubio and 2016

When it comes to the next race for the White House, it looks like Marco Rubio isn't laying low anymore.

Last month he was in New Hampshire, sounding like a presidential candidate, as headlined the Rockingham County, Republican Committee's annual "Freedom Founders" dinner, held at the historic Wentworth-By-The-Sea hotel just outside of Portsmouth. The senator slammed Democrats and in particular former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who's seriously considering a second White House bid, and if she runs would instantly become the overwhelming frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

Rubio puts himself back in 2016 conversation

"Their ideas never worked in the 20th century, much less the 21st, and they're threatening to nominate someone now who wants to take us to the past, to an era that is gone and is never coming back," Rubio told the audience.

The dinner was just one stop during a busy day for Rubio in the Granite State. Earlier, he headlined a fundraiser for the state GOP, held private meetings with some influential Republicans, and sat down for interviews with local media.

Rubio quickly followed his New Hampshire swing with an appearance on ABC's "This Week," where said that he's ready to be commander in chief, "but I think that's true for multiple other people that would want to run."

Rubio added that should he decide to launch a 2016 presidential campaign, he won't run simultaneously for re-election for his seat in the U.S. Senate.

"It's a completely wide open GOP field. None of our fruit is ripe: To move from long shot to frontrunner, every potential GOP candidate has to grow, develop, or overcome a debility and Marco Rubio has as good a shot at doing that as anybody at this point," said Alex Castellanos, a veteran Republican strategist and CNN contributor who last year founded NewRepublican.org.

The recent moves by Rubio put the first-term senator back in the 2016 spotlight, which he's avoided for much of the past year.

Early last year Rubio's name was near or at the top of public opinion polls of Republicans' choice for their party's 2016 presidential nomination. But Rubio's numbers slipped after his high-profile support for a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate last June. The measure, which stalled in the House, included an eventual pathway to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants, which is strongly opposed by many conservatives.

Rubio's numbers in 2016 polls quickly faded, and have remained in the single digits in surveys asking Republicans their choice for the party's presidential nomination. Rubio stood in ninth place, at 6%, in the most recent CNN/ORC International poll, which was conducted a month ago.

Many of the other potential Republican White House hopefuls, such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, 2012 GOP presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have made numerous trips to New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, which holds the first southern primary, over the past year and a half.

Rubio did not, until now.

 


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • Iowa • Joni Ernst • Marco Rubio • New Hampshire
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. rs

    TOM I-One question, rs. What happens if one of the 5 that were set free kills one person? Will it be worth it then? What if he kills 2 people? Then we just saved one but lost 2.
    __________________
    You are one twisted cookie. What happens at the end of war in regards to POWs? Don't hurt yourself now....

    June 2, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Tom l

    Smith,
    I totally agree on that point. They're also claiming he was very ill and on the verge of dying so perhaps they can demonstrate that, too.

    But I think that we're just 2 unpatriotic guys who side with the terrorists, though. How dare we question what our President did!!

    June 2, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Or are you denying the huge support for someone like Franklin Raines"

    Blah blah blah false equivalence. Are you going to tell us that Raines was Obama's campaign's Chief Financial Advisor now too?

    "What happens if one of the 5 that were set free kills one person? Will it be worth it then? What if he kills 2 people? Then we just saved one but lost 2."

    Please share your in depth knowledge of the 5 men released from Gitmo, the accusations against them and the evidence to support it. Ready? Go.

    June 2, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    I think you are missing my point.
    1. I agree Rubio is not qualified to even run for POTUS.
    2. I agree (as do many) that President Obama (while an intelligent man) was not qualified nor had the experience to be
    POTUS.
    3. I agree that a former CEO does not make a qualification for POTUS.
    4. I agree that unqualified lawyers (D and R) should not be tinkering around with legislation that can cause economic disaster without putting the right controls in place.

    The problem is now where do we go from here and have we learned anything from it while taking off the partisan glasses. JMTC
    ------------------------
    You missed the point. I purposely ignored your backhanded swipe at President Obama, who had far more legislative experience than what Marco Rubio will have come 2016.

    June 2, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. just asking

    Rudy NYC
    You missed the point. I purposely ignored your backhanded swipe at President Obama, who had far more legislative experience than what Marco Rubio will have come 2016.
    -–

    really??? what were his signature accomplishments? holding the record for the number of 'present' votes?

    June 2, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. excuse my rant

    Fed up
    .
    .
    .
    I think you are missing my point.
    1. I agree Rubio is not qualified to even run for POTUS.
    2. I agree (as do many) that President Obama (while an intelligent man) was not qualified nor had the experience to be
    POTUS.
    3. I agree that a former CEO does not make a qualification for POTUS.
    4. I agree that unqualified lawyers (D and R) should not be tinkering around with legislation that can cause economic disaster without putting the right controls in place.
    ____________________________________
    The US Constitution, Article II Section I, states that "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States."

    But simply because you are qualified doesn't mean you'd be a good president. Everything else is just an indication of whether or not someone would make a good president. I will freely state that Sarah Palin is 100% qualified to be president. But that doesn't mean I think she'd be a good president. Simply that she is qualified.

    June 2, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Tom l

    Sniffit,

    You are classic. Please share with us your in depth knowledge of why they weren't a danger, how about that? By all irrefutable accounts, the 5 released were leaders and captured during war. I readily admit there are no easy choices here you clearly fully support this decision in every way without reservation so I'm just asking whether you think this will be a wise decision if one of these 5 kills Innocent people or American soldiers. Also, I love how you glom on to that rather than the larger point that rs has claimed that if we disagree with this decision then we are unpatriotic. It is no different than Bush's classic "either you're with us or you're wth the terrorists" crud.

    June 2, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Sniffit
    Please share your in depth knowledge of the 5 men released from Gitmo, the accusations against them and the evidence to support it. Ready? Go.
    -–

    One was the head of intelligence for the Taliban and another was a top military commander for the Taliban when they controlled the country and harbored AQ and Bin Laden. Are you seroiusly contending that these 5 people were nobodies and just innocent people? Why did Leon Panetta refuse to sign off on releasing these guys. Answer: They are the worse of the worse.

    You do realize the TALIBAN selected the five people. Do you think they selected low level nobodies? You are as clueless as Obama,

    June 2, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "Please share with us your in depth knowledge of why they weren't a danger, how about that?"

    Innocent until proven guilty. So again, the onus is on you. "By all irrefutable accounts" blah blah blah. Specifics, junior, specifics.

    If you were actually, truly, honestly concerned about it, you'd have supported closing Gitmo and trying these people in our civilian courts, which have thus far done a better job than military tribunals at convicting them and then throwing them in jail legitimately. Just ask Moussoui.

    June 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Marcus (from...?)

    To all those calling Sgt. Bergdahl a deserter, please tell us what are your proofs. As of now there are no known evidence saying that this was the case, so show us that 'secret' evidence you got.
    Thanks in advance.

    PS: Forgeries are not accepted.

    June 2, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "Are you seroiusly contending that these 5 people were nobodies and just innocent people? "

    Nope. Just asking for specifics, rather than the usual irrational claptrap from the right, which amounts to "they wouldn't be in Gitmo in the first place unless they were guilty" crap equating accusations with convictions.

    Even conceding them to be dangerous, so what? We leave nobody behind. NOBODY. When you exchange POWs you are implicitly trading people who fought against you and are dangerous to one side or the other. Will they go home and take up arms again? Maybe. Will ours? Maybe (altho this one in particular seems to be facing a potential court martial). Is that a reason for leaving people behind? Nope...and it never has been before when we've swapped enemies we've captured in return for our own men back. That's how it works. Perhaps if you weren't so afraid of Muslims and so desperate to use others' fear of Muslims as a means for attacking Obama, you'd accept that releasing people who we captured in exchange for people we want back ALWAYS involves risk of them becoming combatants again, but it's never stopped us from bringing our soldiers home in the past. You just want it to this time because it's Obama.

    June 2, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    Rudy NYC
    You missed the point. I purposely ignored your backhanded swipe at President Obama, who had far more legislative experience than what Marco Rubio will have come 2016.
    -–

    really??? what were his signature accomplishments? holding the record for the number of 'present' votes?
    -------------------------------
    Sen. Barack Obama was initially elected on the weakness of the Republican ticket. People chose inexperience over whatever it was the Republicans were selling. 2008 was more a vote against Republicans, than it was for Democrats. The same could almost be said of the 2012 Presidential race. Barack Obama also had four years under his belt.

    June 2, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    "really??? what were his signature accomplishments? holding the record for the number of 'present' votes?"
    --------------------–
    Sen. Barack Obama had more on his resume than a mayor from Alaska. Inexperience lost.

    June 2, 2014 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "To all those calling Sgt. Bergdahl a deserter, please tell us what are your proofs. As of now there are no known evidence saying that this was the case, so show us that 'secret' evidence you got.

    Actually, there's a lot of soldiers who survived from his company who accuse him of deserting...just dumping his gear and leaving. Their testimony would be evidence. It actually doesn't look all that good for him, BUT, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have brought him home. A proper investigation can be conducted and he can be tried if necessary, but he's not guilty of anything until proven so.

    June 2, 2014 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Thomas

    Last week, the political wing of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which often backs conservative candidates declared
    Hog castrating is an essential ritual in todays republican primaries . Nobody can do it better then Joni Ernst , yet Marco Rubio say's he can do it one handed using his teeth .

    The recent moves by Rubio put the first-term senator back in the 2016 spotlight.
    When it comes to the next race for the White House, it looks like Marco Rubio isn't laying low anymore.

    In a statement , Rubio said he can't wait for corn dog season to start .

    June 2, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Say WHAT???

    Sniffit
    -–
    "To all those calling Sgt. Bergdahl a deserter, please tell us what are your proofs. As of now there are no known evidence saying that this was the case, so show us that 'secret' evidence you got.
    --
    Actually, there's a lot of soldiers who survived from his company who accuse him of deserting...just dumping his gear and leaving. Their testimony would be evidence. It actually doesn't look all that good for him, BUT, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have brought him home. A proper investigation can be conducted and he can be tried if necessary, but he's not guilty of anything until proven so.
    --

    OK, so Obama set lose five high dangerous enermies of this country after holding them for years because they were too dangerous to set free and no country would take them. He set them free in exchange for a deserter???!!! So we are all now in more danger than before to save a DESERTER?!! Somebody we could try and throw behind bars?

    Yup, this is making perfect sense. If you are totally insane that is.

    June 2, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. just asking

    Rudy NYC
    "really??? what were his signature accomplishments? holding the record for the number of 'present' votes?"
    ------––
    Sen. Barack Obama had more on his resume than a mayor from Alaska. Inexperience lost.
    --

    wrong as usual rudy. she was a governor, somebody actually charged with running a state. obama never ran so much as a dog pound. and we are all paying a heavy price because of it.

    June 2, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. TONE

    Rubio the clown that keep on clowning.

    June 2, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. TONE

    i will vote for a dog over Rubio.

    June 2, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    "Actually, there's a lot of soldiers who survived from his company who accuse him of deserting...just dumping his gear and leaving. Their testimony would be evidence. It actually doesn't look all that good for him, BUT, that doesn't mean we shouldn't have brought him home. A proper investigation can be conducted and he can be tried if necessary, but he's not guilty of anything until proven so"

    He "drops" his gear and walks away in the middle of worn torn Afghanistan hoping to walk where? Back to America? If so, this man was mentally unfit to serve before he ever reached Afghanistan and you're talking a potential court martial for him? McCain dropped his plane, became a POW, and spent the rest of his life living in hero-worship status. Where's the difference between the two?

    June 2, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Marcus (from...?)

    Sniffit – Thanks for some facts. As for the court martial thing, if that is really the case (the military prosecutors decide that they have a strong case against him so let's do it), then I think that the death of those 2 to 6 (at least) US soldiers that were out there looking for him should and must be put somehow as part of the accusation.
    I confess that I know very little of the military penal/judicial procedure (having watched six or seven 'JAG' seasons really don't count), but it seems logical that the death of people that were killed (no natural death) while looking for a guy/gal that left his/her post on purpose should count as part of the accusation.
    Supposing that it is the case against Sgt. Bergdahl, with evidences and all to back it up.

    June 2, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "As for the court martial thing, if that is really the case (the military prosecutors decide that they have a strong case against him so let's do it), then I think that the death of those 2 to 6 (at least) US soldiers that were out there looking for him should and must be put somehow as part of the accusation."

    Sure. I imagine those deaths would be introduced as a consequence of his desertion and would be used to argue for harsher sentencing or as aggravating factors (maybe there are different levels of desertion? I dunno). As for whether those deaths constitute grounds for charging him with something separate based solely on those deaths...some form of homicide or reckless endangerment or something...I dunno enough about military law to know if that could be done. It seems a little tenuous to stretch that far though.

    June 2, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "He "drops" his gear and walks away in the middle of worn torn Afghanistan hoping to walk where? Back to America? If so, this man was mentally unfit to serve before he ever reached Afghanistan and you're talking a potential court martial for him? McCain dropped his plane, became a POW, and spent the rest of his life living in hero-worship status. Where's the difference between the two?"

    Relax dude. I was just acknowledging the possibility. He may be traumatized enough by 5 years of captivity that he isn't fit to face any sort of trial. They could also just decide that 5 years a captive like that was punishment enough. We really don't know anything yet...which is why the GOPers/Teatrolls are so busy trying to get out in front of the story and pollute the air with rumors and conjecture that would support their knee-jerk criticisms of Obama, etc. That way, when the facts do come out, they'll have already convinced much of their base to disregard the facts and dismiss them out of hand where they contradict the narrative the GOP/Teatrolls and MSM built BEFORE having the facts. Get them to decide early, before there are facts, so any contrary facts are ignored and rationalized away.

    June 2, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "McCain dropped his plane, became a POW, and spent the rest of his life living in hero-worship status. Where's the difference between the two?"

    Oh, and setting aside the fact that I'm not taking sides at all...I dunno if any of the reports or accusations about desertion are true or not...there's still a big difference: I'm pretty McCain didn't crash a plane he was in on purpose, whereas SOME are accusing this kid of willingly abandoning his guard post after having made comments about trying to get to China if he did.

    June 2, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. rs

    Tom I-
    So, here in the middle of a nice discourse on Mr. Rubio- you're out here claiming to be a terrorist support (or something).
    Look- you're the one always talking about due process. You ought to realize the 5 POWs at Gitmo, haven't had any. Neither has the man you call a deserter. But, yes, you know it all. No need for due process, Tom I is on the case.

    Meanwhile, your GOPpers are now raising money on the POW release story, and creating yet another fake "scandal"- doesn't matter that they don't know the facts, and here you are making wild accusations. For someone claiming to want civil discourse, you certainly howl when you get shown to be a partisan hypocrite.

    June 2, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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