January 31st, 2012
09:19 AM ET
11 years ago

Rubio says Florida winner will clinch nomination

(CNN) - Florida's closely watched junior senator said Tuesday his state's primary election would determine the eventual GOP nominee.

Speaking on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Republican Marco Rubio said he wouldn't handicap the race, but could predict the importance of winning the Sunshine State.

CNN Live: Tune in to CNN on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. ET for CNN's live coverage of the Florida primary results and follow real-time results on CNNPolitics.com and on Twitter at #cnnelections. Stay up to date with CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android or other phones.

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"I'm not going to speculate as to who's going to win," Rubio said. "Here's what I'm comfortable saying. I think the winner of Florida is in all likelihood going to be the nominee of our party. Florida is a mini America. Virtually every issue we want them to be conversant on is a discussion we've had in Florida."

Rubio, who hasn't endorsed a GOP presidential candidate ahead of Tuesday's primary, said his standing relationships with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich prevented him from publicly backing one over the other. Rubio said Gingrich helped him during his time in Florida's state legislature, and Romney campaigned on his behalf in his 2010 Senate bid.

"I have relationships with two of the four candidates," Rubio said. "I know them well. I didn't want to get involved in the endorsement game. None of it will matter at the end of the day. My endorsement won't impact the outcome at the end of the day. Voters will make up their own minds, and we are going to find out tonight what Floridians think."

The onslaught of negative ads in Florida has previewed what's in store during the general election, Rubio said.

"I think that's been a part of every campaign," Rubio said. "Unfortunately, it's only gotten worse. No candidate in American history has ever run more negative ads than Barack Obama. I don't think that will change in 2012. Unfortunately people have to get used to it. I think voters see through that."

Though political observers have pegged Rubio as a strong potential vice presidential pick, the Florida senator reiterated Tuesday what he's said in the past: he isn't interested in being a running mate, and is focused on his work in Congress.

"I'm not thinking about the vice presidency or anything of that nature," Rubio said.

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Marco Rubio
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Could he be anymore of Romney's lap dog?

    January 31, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Bill

    Somehow, the opinion of guy who embellished his own family history for political gain does not carry too much weight.

    January 31, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. joyce

    After the ads Romney has run, how can he say Obama has run more negative ads than any politian?

    January 31, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Fla.Pete

    This arrogent Repub hypocrite needs a defeat to bring him to earth.There's not enough hispanics legally to sway any vote in Florida,except in Dade county ,well that's another country,oops....Highest Medicaid,Medicare fraud percentage wise than all the 50 states combined,Rubio is as crooked as his countrymen who are robbing Florida blind,FACT...He lies every time he opens his mouth,a true snakeoil salesman.He wraps himself in one flag(American),but salutes his true love Cuba,don't let him FOOL YOU.He changes facts,like that Brewer from Arizona.Went to the same Repub hypocrite school...

    January 31, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. KKDenver

    It won't matter as we have a great president right now

    January 31, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. george of the jungle

    I don't think rubio is right. Trump is now making noises about running as independent. This circus will go 0n and on. Good for President Obama bad for the repos that are already dis satisfied with the field of candidates they have. Saw Mitt singing on news this morning. Lets see if the repos jump on him like they did Obama. I would not be boasting about being a repo right now. The party has lost credability with a lot of people.

    January 31, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. ST

    Even the anchor-babies have right to determine what will happen! I always hate interference. Why don't they wait until everyone participate in the process? Why undermine others to exercise their right and see the results?

    January 31, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. Mitt is a Git

    Right, and Mr. Marco "Anchor Baby" Rubio knows this because he looked into his special republican crystal ball and can see that. I wonder if he also sees that President Obama will win in November but he is too upset to reveal that vision to the rest of us.

    January 31, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. Tony


    He sure thinks a lot of Florida. I guess the largest states in the union like New York, Texas, California just don't matter when Florida's so important.

    And lets not forget very important states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan...and the list goes on.

    Hey Rubio, there is a whole country to win not just one state!

    January 31, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. mctampa

    Rubio is such a liar! He know dam well the prize for the most negative ads were from McCain/Palin, remember; socialist, hanging around with terrorists, Obama is a muslim etc. Rubio has been a disappointment to floridians big time.

    January 31, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  11. Chumlee

    Tea Partier – you have no validity. You were elected because of the many lies that spew from your lips, and the
    support of the Tea Partier liars/freaks.

    January 31, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. Drew

    Of course. Romney will win Florida, win the GOP nomination, and win the WH. 4 more years of Obama would be a disaster.

    January 31, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Yuri

    If you say so, Rubio! The problem w/ your pathetic prediction will flummox even the filibustering fellows from the gargoylish GOP.

    January 31, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  14. Publius Novus

    I wasn't aware the President had run any ads in the Florida GOP primary campaign, Sen. Rubio. If you would stick to the question, it wouldn't be necessary for your to gratitously go negative on the President. Perhaps your time would be better spent researching your family history. So you can tell us honestly when and why your parents left Cuba. Were they left-wingers fleeing the right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista? If not, please explain why right-wingers would flee a right-wing dictator, Senator? BTW, we will need to see your long-form birth certificate when you jump on the ticket.

    January 31, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. mk1

    I love this, not even 10 percent of all delegates will have been chosen after today and some are saying the race is over after today. If I were in later voting states I would be extremely mad at this arrogance and presumption by the party elite at telling me I no longer matter. Typical though.

    January 31, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |

    Your endorement is worthless Rubio. We all know you back King Flip Flop. You must seriously think we're dumb. We all know your lobbying for some kind of cabinet position.

    January 31, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. Doug in NYC

    OK well that's it then, after Florida the nomination process can stop no need to continue the GOBP/Tea Party show of 2nd graders. My apology to 2nd graders.

    January 31, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. Hongli

    On early start Rubio said he wasn't endorsing anyone ,then now he"s saying this knowing fully well that Romney has got a huge lead ! Can you say with me "FLIP-FLOPPER".Rubio has been caught red handed. If he's goes against Romney he would like a "MORON" and if he goes with Romney the so-called TEA-BAGGERS will pounce on him. Go Figure !!!! THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN PUPPET.

    January 31, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. Dr Knowitall

    3 states down and we have a winner !.
    The establishment will stop at nothing to make it seem like Romney is the clear choice of Americans.

    January 31, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  20. GI Joe

    Uh – that's a ridiculous thing to say. There are 50 states, not just 4. (Don't they just wish Florida and the Supreme Court could select another president?)

    January 31, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. Joan

    It is an insult to all of the other states who have not voted yet to say that the candidate will be chosen with the Florida vote. That's not democracy. Everyone should have a fair say. Also it is not fair that a candidate can get all of the delegates with a win in one state. That means you could squeak out a win with just a few more votes and walk away with everything. That doesn't seem right. It is more fair to get the delegates based on how well you did. Also, hopefully the other caucus states will tighten up their lax systems so that another Iowa doesn't happen. The most unfair part is that this primary seems to be based on who has the most money and who can run the most ruthless campaign. It truly is going to be the best campaign money can buy. That does not necessarily mean you will get the top people winning. The Super Pacs have really distorted the democratic system. Pawlenty and Huntsman were two quality guys who would definitely been better than what is left but they did not have the mega financial backing. That is truly disturbing. Since Florida is having such hard times right now, why do they just blast the federal government for their problems? Perhaps they should lay some blame at the feet of their state and local governments too. In fact, most of the poorest states in the country are red states run by Republicans so maybe it is their politics and policies that are hurting the people in those states too. This primary has really opened up a lot of people's eyes about the American political system, the wierd electoral system and the huge differences between the two parties.

    January 31, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. vic , nashville ,tn

    May be Romney promised him vp post

    January 31, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. Publius Novus

    Do you fellows in the MSM ever read the news yourselves? Yesterday, Andrea Mitchell was discussing Sen. Rubion on public radio, refrring to him as Florida's highly poplular young Republican senator. Let's look at the facts for a moment. Since taking office with a 61% approval rating, Rubio's approval rating has steadily declined to 40% on December 6, 2011. His disapproval rating is also 40%–hardly the definintion of highly popular. At the same time, a poll of self-identifying Florida "independents" showed that 24% would be more likely to vote for a GOP candidate if Rubio were on the ticket as VP. But 41% said they would be LESS likely to vote for that same ticket. Come on CNN, get over pretty boy's looks and get down to content and reality. The guy is a flash in the pan with a false "humble origins" narrative and little in the way of accomplishments or ideas. BTW, Bill Nelson is more popular and has higher approval ratings.

    January 31, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  24. big E

    Go back under your rock maco

    January 31, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. king

    Dubious and the Cubans in the south, only worship the repubs because they let them come from Cuba for free then stick it to the Mexicans and all the other countries. I bet the Mexicans wont cozy up the repubs as fast as these repubs do. They've elected a governor who took from the poor and give to the rich, and now paying those folks in Florida 10 dollars an hour causing families to pool up to afford housing mortgages.

    January 31, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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