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.

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"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. john

    This man is full of himself

    January 31, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. A Texan

    Republicans have no problem "eating their own". They are like sharks; they`ll eat their own without any consideration other than themselves.--- Never seen this level of warfare within any party before!!!! Just shows the severity of the war within the GOP.

    January 31, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Rubio will be fighting tooth and nail with Rick Santorum for the Vice-Presidential nod. His family had the advantage of the INS "wet-foot-dry-foot" policy regarding Cuban immigrants. Had his family been from Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic, they would have been deported.
    But, I guess as he is the golden child for Cuban-American Republicans then he can afford to tell the rest of the states that their primaries don't matter now that Florida's 50 delegates to the convention are decided.

    January 31, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. Gurgi

    thump, thump, thump, McKfly, I thought I told you not to come in here. Rubio, come on.

    January 31, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. Birther

    I'd like to see Rubio's birth certificate.

    January 31, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Honestuck

    I can't beleive Marco Rubio's comment " No candidate in American history has ever run more negative ads than Barack Obama". I know it is a lie. And the reason he did not endorse a candidate is because he does'nt care who wins as long as he is picked by them as VP. Just another politician without principles. I was wrong about Marco Rubio, he is not getting my vote when he runs for office next time.

    January 31, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Marco........Polo!!

    Rubio is an embarrassment to hispanics everywhere. Now that he has reached the promised land, this hispanic hypocrite wants to close the door firmly behind him. What a creep.

    January 31, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. K3Citizen

    Rubio can't stand that South Carolina from being right for the last few decades.

    January 31, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. K3Citizen

    Sorry, my last comment was an error!

    January 31, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. adsf

    Rubio says that the person leading the polls in FL and the person leading the polls nationally will win the nomination?? Who would ever believe something so crazy.

    January 31, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. GetCounseling

    @Joe from CT, not Lieberman, read a little every now and then.
    "wet-foot-dry-foot" was a policy (a horrible one at that) implemented by Clinton.
    Just a "couple of years" after the Rubio family came over from Cuba. LOL

    January 31, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Michael in Houston

    Hey Rubio....lets keep some perspective here shall we. Before you become so enamored with yourself yo need to keep in mind you are popular with a "few" and those "few" are on the fringes already. So dont assume this Nation is waiting with held breath for you. Period.
    Second, what is it with the State of Florida. You people cant count ballots correctly, you stole the 2000 elections from the Nation and you cant even assemble 12 people in a jury to convict a child killer. Get lost.

    January 31, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. Tom

    Marco Rubio, another republican shmuck.

    January 31, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. Cedar Rapids

    "No candidate in American history has ever run more negative ads than Barack Obama."

    You need to come up with proof of this one Rubio, but we won't hold our breath.

    January 31, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. GetCounseling

    @Honestuck, stop being dishonest, he was never going to get your vote and you know it.
    Anyone who was going to vote for Rubio would have no problem at all with his comment.
    Why do so many liberals feel the need to lie about they're political ideology?

    January 31, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. us1776

    Oh thank you Mr. Obvious.

    The GOP only has ONE candidate that isn't totally insane and that is Mittens.

    Of course Mittens is going to take Florida and the GOP Primary. It was planned this way from the start.


    January 31, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Texas Doc

    No matter who wins in Florida, they will be crushed by the Obama/Democratic party machine. Even with all of the problems we face, the last thing anyone wants is one of these walking catastrophies as president.

    January 31, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. masaca

    I disagree with his rethoric, lies and political views and indeed he does not represent me as an Hispanic voter.

    January 31, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Larry L


    "Finally we will be getting rid of a socialist President."
    I've never President Obama refer to any Republican as a "fascist". Conservatives, fueled by the ranting radicals of right-wing media throw the term "socialist" around as if they actually knew what it meant. I suppose you interpret a progressive tax code as "socialism" – a form of taxation we've used throughout modern times. The problems started when the sweet deals for taxing the rich became so lop-sided the middle-class and our economy cratered. We've had the lowest taxes in thirty years for the rich and those jobs they were supposed to have created never materialized. They sat on their money, much of it in overseas banks and created no jobs. By the time President Obama took office over 8 million jobs were lost and we were on the verge of a collaspe we may have never survived – especially since all manufacturing had been sent offshore. When President Obama used federal funds to save the auto industry (plus former President Bush's financial industry bailout package – the first one) the Republicans sat on their hands and yelled "socialism". Had the economy gone under as most economists believed it would, we might be a nation of poverty forever – except for those folks with huge offshore accounts. Before you use the worod "socialism" I suggest you look up the meaning of the word "fascism" and see if it doesn't fit the vision of the Republican Party.

    January 31, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. sdgman

    What if Ron Paul wins?

    January 31, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Marie MD

    Are we to belive rubio on anything? Isn't he the one that didn't even know what his family's history was/is?
    Go ahead and pick him as a vp candidate. He will do your party of hell no damage, maybe not as bad as the she devil from AD, but enough that you won't win in 2012.

    January 31, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. A Southern Lady

    Regardless of who wins the Republican primary, on election day the people of this country will remember what the Republicans did under Bush, how the Tea Partiers in the House have blocked everything the President has tried to do to get the country back on track and their reluctance to raise the debt. celing caused the downgrade of our credit standing. To get the country moving, we need to re-elect the President, send all the Tea Party candidates home and hope, deeply, that once again the once-proud Republicans will elect statesmen and not the uncompromising group that came into government in 2010. Obama in 2012.

    January 31, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. Voice of Reason

    TRENDING: Rubio says Florida winner will clinch nomination

    ALSO TRENDING: Rubio brown-nosing whoever wins Florida so he can be the VP.

    'nuff said.

    January 31, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. GetCounseling

    "right-wing media throw the term "socialist" around as if they actually knew what it meant"
    PLease tell us what it means then.

    January 31, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Voice of Reason

    This is the guy who lied about his parents fleeing the Castro regime (when they were actually comfortably living in Florida years before Castro took power). Kinda like Jan Brewer's dad dying fighting Nazis (when he actually died of cancer 10 years after the war).

    Why do these people have such a hard time with the truth? Are they so arrogant that they think they can just lie indiscriminantly and the sheeple will take it all in without questioning?

    If you believe this guy, then i have some land around Newt's moon-base to sell you.

    January 31, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5