July 20th, 2010
07:29 PM ET
12 years ago

Rubio sidesteps Tea Party caucus commitment

Washington (CNN) - Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio rejected a blanket characterization of the Tea Party movement as extremist on Tuesday, but at the same time remained noncommittal about the prospect of joining a Tea Party caucus if elected.

When asked about the NAACP's resolution that called some elements of the Tea Party "racist," Rubio said that did not mirror his experiences with the group.

"Well I think it's unfortunate that labels like that are used to brand an entire group of people, the vast majority of whom are folks that care and love their country, believe it's the greatest country on earth," Rubio told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

"I certainly haven't confronted or seen that in my experience and the events that I have attended. What I run into are everyday Americans from all walks of life, from all parties, ethnicities and races," the Republican added.

Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, is one of the group's success stories, but the candidate said Tuesday that he doesn't see the need for a Tea Party caucus in the Senate, an idea that has been floated by Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul.

"Well I don't know what the need for that [Tea Party caucus] would be, obviously, maybe they feel there is a need for that, or others feel there is a need for that. I'm more interested in being part of a caucus that would lower taxes in America and create an environment where jobs are going to be created by the private sector," Rubio said.

And while Rubio remained noncommittal about joining a Tea Party caucus, he did have a prediction about who his election rival, independent candidate and Florida Governor Charlie Crist, would caucus with if elected: the Democrats.

"All indications are and I believe that he will caucus with the Democrats in Washington and be a part of promoting the Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda," Rubio predicted.

"He, I think, has almost admitted that at this point – said he has had two phone conversations with Harry Reid recently to talk about his future in the U.S. Senate."

Rubio is locked in a tight race for Senate, and has consistently trailed independent candidate Charlie Crist since the Florida governor abandoned the GOP primary and instead announced his intention to run as an independent.

Crist and Rubio await the results of a Florida's August Democratic primary to see which Democratic candidate will challenge them in the general election.

Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Marco Rubio • Tea Party movement • The Situation Room
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. The Big J

    The TEA Partiers are getting sold out by those they brought to the dance!

    July 20, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. George of the jungle

    new tactic seems to combine Obama, reid and palose. This is suppose to help the repos. Wrong! You might tell us about all you have done in the last year and a half to improve the economy help with health insurance create jobs. What Nothing but say NO. Bunch of loosers lead by the tea party and a bunch of southern senators thumping the bible and screwing the ladies. Oh ol Beck is under investigation now. How funny.

    July 20, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. Peter s

    Rubio are you try to run away from a monster you helped create! The monster is on the way to bite your neck.

    July 20, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  4. TonyInlargo

    Too late Marco, you'll need Major Surgery to distance yourself from the Tea Party!!!!!!

    July 20, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  5. Donnatella

    In other words he don't mind them helping him get elected, but in reality he knows that are a racist group and want's to keep his distance. The Tea Party is being used by the republicans, I thought they were all about freedom.

    July 20, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  6. Pragmatic

    Rubio: already a corrupt republican ... under investigation by the IRS for using over $100,000 of republican donations at liquor stores and for getting his personal van fixed ... not to mention all the ethical problems he had while serving as the Florida speaker of the state government!

    The tea-party and GOP decided to ram this "Hispanic" down the throat of Floridians ... and Charlie Crist will win this election! Crist will be welcomed by Democrats and stoned by republicans who threw him out in favor of Rubio.

    July 20, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Dano

    Tax cuts, tax cuts, tax cuts – this guy is like a broken record. What have all the tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy done for America, other than create massive deficits where there was surplusses anticipated for years to come? Where are all the jobs that 10 years of these tax cuts were supposed to produce?

    July 20, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  8. Riley

    Crist changes his positions with whichever way the wind is blowing. Who would ever vote for him.

    July 20, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |