February 25th, 2014
05:28 PM ET
6 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.

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. gwenc

    marco Rubio needs to take another sip of water and swallow all the lies and hype he threw at wolf.he will be eaten alive on the big stage with Hillary in a debate BRING IT ON MR. SIPPY

    February 25, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. Larry

    Rubio might win a dog catcher position. We have had all of the Bush family anyone could ever stomach..It makes me nauseous just to think about it.

    February 25, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  3. sbreee

    i dont mind having a major policy difference with the GOP – what i do mind is their incessant refusal to acknowledge reality. i was waiting for fox news and karl rove to insist that mitt romney won the election – just because the fact of the matter upset them so much. If you are a literate, rational adult American and you continue to support this party you need to take a long, sober look at yourself in the mirror. These people are dangerously delusional and seem to think that if they push their narrative enough it will become reality. the GOP needs some very big reform efforts and some fresh leadership in their ranks – what we have now is something that is the enemy of a rational democracy

    February 25, 2014 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Solomon Walker

    No Bushes. The United States cannot encourage an oligarchy of executive power within the same family. If the Bushes push this to a third presidency, some will ask for an amendment to the Constitution.

    Clinton will be impeached upon arrival.

    Candidates that dip in the ocean in zero degree weather or appear in photographs with Zombies need not apply. 'Preciate the gesture, crazy fools.

    February 25, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  5. Pherdson Whomp

    All fine & good but does Hillary carry more baggage than Ted Nugent has under his eyes?
    Time for some quaaludes Nuge.

    February 25, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. Jake

    Rubio, it's time to pick up your toys and go to bed. You're a lightweight with anybody and everybody. Even McCain, the old man will beat you six ways to Sunday.

    February 25, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  7. srcactus

    Rubio just seems too clean for politics. maybe even too honest.

    February 25, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Nagu Hu Phart

    Had enough Clintons, had enough Bush, and WAY too much Rubio already.

    February 25, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. Fr33th1nk3r

    LOL. What else is there to answer for in Benghazi? The terrorists attacked, people died, and the GOP blames their political opponents for everything.
    BENGHAZI: 1 embassy and 4 Americans killed
    2000 – 2008: 11 embassies and 56 Americans killed

    Why the witch hunt now, Repubs?

    February 25, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. martiniano

    Oh for Pete's sake! Rubio is a Republican, as such he has his head so far up a Koch Brother's bottom that he can barely breath. He can spread whatever fantasy he wants, but HRC will be our next president.

    February 25, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  11. Fr33th1nk3r

    "hillary clinton is an even empty pants suit than obama was and we all see how that nightmare is playing out. more failure, lies and deceit than you can shake a stick at. we want more of that? nope."

    The U.S. has universal healthcare for the first time in its history. We killed Bin laden and removed Al-Queda in Pakistan/Afghanistan. We have Iran under our thumbs now. Unemployment is down.
    I am not sure what you think Mitt Romney was going to do better.

    February 25, 2014 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  12. 54StarryNights

    This is just one more example of Republicans/Tea Partisans feeling that if they say speak their wishful thinking it makes it so. I think that is the most generous analysis of Mr. Rubio's statements that could be made. A less generous one would be that he is totally nuts and is out of touch with reality.

    February 25, 2014 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  13. works4me

    Rubio... the freshest GOPuppet. Just pull whichever string you want him to respond to.

    February 25, 2014 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  14. Todd

    I might help conservative republicans deal with the 2 crushing defeats that President Obama handed them in the last two presidential elections if they think of their candidates as finishing in 2nd place instead of losing. I hope this helps

    February 25, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  15. mark

    Rubio is a pathetic idiot. There is not a potential GOP candidate who is not a bad joke.

    February 25, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  16. Scoot

    Rubio is joke, no credibility what so ever. The thought of another Bush in office makes my skin crawl, Jeb would be a failure like his father and brother.

    February 25, 2014 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  17. Kinard

    Rubio, who? The very fact that he's meaningless to any election or outcome thereof remains paramount to any opinion he has or gives freely.

    February 25, 2014 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  18. DJC

    Another example proving that Florida voters are the dumbest people on the planet.

    February 25, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  19. SFRich

    Ah... pudgy young Marco with his infinite wisdom declares that Clinton would have a hard time defeating the GOP in a run for White House 2016. Certainly, with all the GOP's support from women, people of color, and ordinary Americans across the social and economic spectrum, there could be no possibility for another Democratic trouncing for his party of (mostly) idiots.

    Marco is living in a bubble.

    February 25, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  20. gahh

    Rubio is a nit wit, and Jeb Bush is an extension of GW Bush. GWB made so much money selling out this country, he's already told his brother, there's millions to be made, all you have to do is sell out the American people, and the USA. Then there's a Wall Street Liebary waiting for you, paid for by the billions you give to Wall Street Companies. And above all, pay no attention to the families of dead soldiers. Maybe once a year, you have a golf tournament, to act like you care.

    February 25, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  21. Semper Cogitatus

    Clinton is guaranteed the nomination, but will definitely have a struggle on her hands in the general election. She is deeply loved by many, and her Trotskyite politics are exactly what the American Left has been seeking for generations.

    (I know you'l think that's hyperbole, that I'm just calling her a commie, but look up Trotsky and what he advocated, it is almost exactly what she has been advocating since steeping onto the national stage in '92 and has little resemblance to what the Soviet Union turned into after 1924, or if reading is too much trouble go ahead and react emotionally, it'll be entertaining.).

    But people underestimate how many people despise her. Democrat family were broken up by the struggle between her and Obama. I know two sisters, now in their late 60s, both life long Democrats, who still don't talk to each other after disagreeing about Obama vs Clinton.

    If the Republicans can come up with someone who can appeal to the middle (no idea who that might be as of now, not Rubio and certainty not Jeb Bush (the name alone dooms him, regardless of his politics)) she will have a struggle on her hands.

    Feel free to disagree and shout from the mountaintops that no Republican will ever achieve the Presidency again if that's what makes you feel good about yourself, but the reality is Americas are spread all over the political spectrum, from the hard core violent communist revolutionaries that pop up sometimes at protests here int he Pacific Northwest, to the hard core Nazi's you sometimes find in northern Idaho, and every possible position between them. The Presidency will be passed back and forth every few terms, as it has since the beginning, for as long as the nation exists.

    February 25, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  22. TX JIM

    Clinton would only struggle beating you and anyone else by double digits..

    February 25, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  23. Nodack

    Whatever you say Rubio. You think she will struggle over Benghazi because you are going to pound it into the ground some more and hope it wins you some votes. It certainly didn't help Romney a year ago, but you go ahead and keep saying it some more with the rest of the Republicans.

    The only people that care about Benghazi are Republicans that don't plan on voting Democrat anyway. They don't really care about Benghazi the same way Democrats don't really care about the bridge gate, but when you are fighting a war you use all ammo at your disposal even if it is petty and dumb.

    February 25, 2014 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. Kata Strophic

    Rubio couldn't even win a race against Jindal, and he's not exactly Mr. Popular–the guy who told his own party enough with stupid. I can't believe any news outlet would publish Rubio's thoughts on anything, much less on the electoral chances of actual candidates. Is everyone sure this isn't lifted from an "Onion" article?

    February 25, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. craig

    rubio, the only guarantee is that you will repeat your past as a crooked, misdirected, traitor and hoodwinked latino politician

    February 25, 2014 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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