February 25th, 2014
05:28 PM ET
9 years 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.

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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. drake mallard

    what rubio accomplish other than running up a tab on the taxpayers backs

    A Cuban on the ballot means nothing to the general population of the
    Hispanic community.

    Spend thousands with GOP credit card

    “Marco Rubio born to Cuban exiles? Not true, after all."Marco Rubio Lied About His Cuban Exile Immigrant Background"

    His parents came to this country in 1956 looking for economic opportunity. They declared at that time they intended to stay permanently. The fact that Castro came to power in 1959 makes a nice excuse to claim his parents were exiles, but it's simply not true. They came here looking for opportunity and assumed they'd be able to return to Cuba for visits whenever they could. Castro complicated the latter, but didn't change the

    as House speaker when he spent nearly $400,000 on office renovations.

    Rubio's 2010 senate campaign was fined $8,000 by the Federal Elections Committee for receiving "prohibited, excessive and other impermissible contributions totaling $210,173.09."

    Records show Rubio sent payments to American Express totaling $13,900 for his personal expenses during his tenure as House speaker. But those payments were not made monthly. He made no contributions to the bill during a six-month stretch in 2007, records show.

    One committee paid relatives nearly $14,000 for what was incorrectly described to the IRS as "courier fees" and listed a nonexistent address for one of them. Another committee paid $5,700 to his wife, who was listed as the treasurer, much of it for "gas and meals."

    Rubio's spending continued in 2005 when the Republican Party of Florida handed him a credit card to use at his own discretion. While serving as House speaker in 2007 and 2008, he charged thousands of dollars in restaurant tabs to the state party at the same time taxpayers were subsidizing his meals in Tallahassee.

    Marco Rubio, was paying thousands to Bovo's firm absentee Helping Rubio cruise to a surprise win was a political consulting firm owned by Viviana Bovo, the wife of county Commissioner Esteban Bovo. She was paid $19,637 for "political strategy" and "consulting" by Rubio's campaign.

    Will the Birthers Scrutinize Marco Rubio's U.S. Citizenship?

    Rubio is a hypocrite he want his family to have health insurance but not the taxes payer. who pay his salary and health insurance the laugh is on the people who voted for him who might need and will benefit from the ACA.Poor Marco Rubio. He's only signing up for Obamacare and pocketing those ten grand because he's FORCED to, lol. What a terrible fate! Obamacare is worse than slavery, LOL

    “rivera has been accused of misusing campaign donations for personal use, and Rubio has largely admitted to having done the same thing.

    Indeed, the far-right senator was about using a Republican Party credit card to purchase personal items. Rubio conceded it "looks bad," and acknowledged, "I shouldn't have done it that way."

    It's worth noting that we're not talking about minor purchases - Rubio billed the state GOP for more than $100,000 during his two-year tenure as Florida's House speaker, including repairs to his family minivan.

    marco rubio and david rivera the two con men also co-owned a house together, a house that went into foreclosure

    February 26, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. forwhatsright

    "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." Well, THAT should make all the difference! The fact that Rubio doesn't think it is the success that others do. How many votes does he get? What a joke.

    February 26, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. The Truth the Light and the Way

    Rubio? For president? A political light weight against Hillary? Oh please run. She will tear you up little boy. Spit you out. If McCain and Mitt couldn't do it, two pros, what makes you think you could survive against the Clinton machine? HILLARY 2016 (and 2020)!

    February 26, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "Why don't the Republicans focus on what they will to do in 2016"

    They're already doing that. They plan to serve lots of whine to the voters. You can expect to hear all of the usual, ranging from "Benghazi" to "Fast and Furious" to "Monica." This year, 2014, will be used as a beta test just to see what sticks, and what doesn't. By 2016, then plan to have their "message" refined and drilled into every candidate's head.

    February 26, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. Amused Independent

    Do Democrats really believe the 9/11 Benghazi attack was over a film? Given the handling of that, and how Hillary avoided questions being 'sick' and stepping down, do they really want her as their figurehead. Would she be more honest than Obama?

    Or do Democrats care little over such things?

    February 26, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    "hey @justasking... who do you have better and why? (i'll try to hold in my laughter)."

    Who do they have? President Mitt Romney. Because, well .... you know: Mitt has the momentum
    Somebody call the fire trucks!!
    My girl Lynda is ON FIRE!!!!!

    February 26, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hillary will struggle....Oh yeah and the earth is 4,000 years old. That said.....gimme a drink of water.
    Water boy! Somebody send in the water boy!!

    February 26, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  8. tet1953

    The GOP have no one who can win in 2016. Not even against Biden.

    February 26, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Oh Rubio (which translates to "Blonde" in spanish. You make the connection...), Rubio, Rubio, your surname might get you the second slot on the ticket, but it won't help get the top slot any votes.
    Unfortunately for you the GOP puppet masters that are willing to flush millions upon millions of dollars into the next general election know this.
    But here.....let me get you a glas of water1

    February 26, 2014 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    dzerres wrote:

    I don't get the GOP. That Benghazi thing failed in 2012 and yet they plan to go back to the well on that one? Why?
    Actually, the reason is pretty simple. Messaging. Everything is all about the messaging to Republicans. When they lose elections, it's always because they had a problem with their messaging. I once heard Michael Steele say something a few years ago that puts the entire mindset in perspective. Steele was trying to explain why Republicans had lost in the general election in 2008, back in early 2010. He said something that sounded very much like this.

    "We lost because of our messaging. We didn't lose because we could not get our message out. We lost because people were simply not listening, or paying attention to it."

    February 26, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. spqrome

    I certainly hope Repubs place all the hopes on beating Clinton by trying to use Benghazi against her. It will be a failure of epic proportions. Almost similar to their failure doing the last election....which they still haven't recovered from.

    February 26, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  12. Leah

    Rubio is yet another GOP clown. The other one I'm laughing more at this week is Bobby Jindal, who, himself, gives new meaning to the Stupid Party.

    February 26, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. kvining

    This country is never ever going to elect anyone named Bush president ever again. And Rubio, who is a Tea Party targetted "RINO" would be smarter if he switched parties, he has the proverbial snowball's chance of ever getting the GOP nomination.

    February 26, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. JIM

    and don't forget rubio and ryan both voted to shut down the government

    February 26, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. Joi Gibson

    Rubio is popular in this state? Really?

    I think he is projecting regarding H C – he would be the one struggling especially with his immigration flip-flopping. That man does not seem to know whether he is on foot or horseback. And he does not appear to have the gravitas it takes to be president. All he does is react and send out pathetic tweets.

    February 26, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. EdL

    We should not underestimate Hillary. Remember she claims expertise in the dodging of sniper bullets. Oops, I forgot. Her spokeslady said Hillary did not lie, she simply misspoke, i.e., her sniper bullet dodging event never took place.

    February 26, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ tom I: "Hillary Clinton's battle cry was that she was going to take our country back. She said it over and over and over."

    Yawn. Or something.

    February 26, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. bub

    we don't need a bush or a Clinton

    February 26, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Amused Independent

    Do Democrats really believe the 9/11 Benghazi attack was over a film? Given the handling of that, and how Hillary avoided questions being 'sick' and stepping down, do they really want her as their figurehead. Would she be more honest than Obama?

    Or do Democrats care little over such things?
    Of course, not. You ain't funny, but you are amusing. Did you know that? You'd really have to be not paying any attention to not know the answer to that question. It's amusing how Hillary Clinton was grilled by Congressional committees, uttered an infamous phrase, and don't seem to know anything about that, either.

    Facts, do amused independents care about such things?

    February 26, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. Publius Novus

    Although he is a media darlilng, Rubio was elected by less than half of the Florida electorate. He pulled 49% of the vote in a three-way field of candidates. What will happen if he runs in a two-way contest, with no one to split the vote? What if the Democrats actually put up a real candidate?

    February 26, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. sly

    Rubio? The illegal immigrant traitor who shut down American government?

    Send this buffoon back to Germany – This is OUR America now, and you TeaKlans are no longer part of our nation.

    These are good times for America – thanks to our progressive President Obama. President Clinton will continue this good trend.

    February 26, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. Wake up People!

    I see the Cons rescinded their invitation to CPAC for the atheists.....

    February 26, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. Chris-E...al

    The Clinton clown show is c0meing to a town near you folks. they have free food and donkey rides .balloons an a dunkin booth .and l0ts of trix an surprises for y0u and you kids hury hury hury

    February 26, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Anonymous

    I really wish Trey Gowdy from South Carolina would run

    February 26, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Thomas

    Sen. Marco Rubio is perfect for playing the part of Ronald Reagan in the remake of Bedtime for Bonzo .

    February 26, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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