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. opinion8it

    Hey Rubio! ...stay thirsty my friend ...

    February 25, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. gb0423

    Rubio is an intellectual lightweight..the dumbing down of American politics continues

    February 25, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. Hillary 2016

    ...It would be easy sailing for Hillary! ...Rubio (or ANY Republican), has NO chance, just sayin'!

    February 25, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  4. Jim Beam

    .....GOP, deluded and out of touch as ever.

    If this is their rebrand, and best next generation they have to offer, Clinton is good for eight years.

    February 25, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. Reality rocks

    Mr. just asking, are you better off than 2008, when the last republican President was in power? I am and most Americans. They are not going to ruin Obama years followed by Bush type years (not making the Clinton followed by Bush mistake).

    February 25, 2014 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  6. Case

    Lol.. Clinton will roll, foreign policy has been, not perfect, but pretty darn good. Rubio is not even a player.

    February 25, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. steve

    Rubio implies that Clinton will struggle during the campaign for the presidency, but will win. This is a good assumption. Marco, just learn to say, Madam President.

    February 25, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. griffbos

    all this from a guy who might not get re-elected to the Senate

    February 25, 2014 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. myway

    Wishful thinking can be so sweet, especially when reality is so far off in the future.

    February 25, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Paul

    Every one that is sure, Hillary will win the democratic nomination, do you have any lotto numbers any of you might like to share. Because two years is a long time. Hillary`s problem is not with the republican party, but with her own, their are high ranking democrats that don't like her. and will make sure the questions she don't wont to be asked will be.

    February 25, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. craig

    Hey Just Asking,

    2016 election is as good as over and done, Clinton will win in another landslide because again the gop brings nothing, most importantly no candidates to the table, I mean who U gonna imagine between now and then? Those dems need competition, Hillary needs competition to be better and kept in check as they and she should be. But unfortunately the gop has nuttin! Especially rubio whose mentor was jeb. OMG! And this time if any republican supports palin for anything but a beauty contest for cougars, they should be banished, that's just too much telling on themselves!.

    The really good news though is that when Hillary becomes President she will have Bill as First Gentleman and all the experience he has gained throughout his lifetime at her disposal when necessary. Bill can show Hillary how to reduce our debt, avoid wars, deficits, propel the stock market, etc., etc. as he has shown by example. I only hope Bill still has a stash of those specially cured cubans and keeps one for an old admirer, me.

    February 25, 2014 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. mark

    YAWN!!! the only ones struggling are members of the GOP!

    February 25, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  13. mark

    Ambassador Stevens REFUSED additional security 3 times!

    February 25, 2014 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  14. Bill R in Oakland

    Who is Marco Rubio?

    February 25, 2014 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. Bubba

    America is not biting on another Bush. Clinton may have her enemies, but she seriously spanks any Republican polled against her. The GOP has nothing but smoke, and America is running out of stupid, except for Texas, where the supply is unlimited.

    February 25, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. Someguysarerude

    Rubio is a born loser. He's so transparent, I can't bring myself to listen to a word he says.

    February 25, 2014 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  17. Nameraymond

    Rubio is a gnat in the mind of Clinton

    February 25, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  18. FG

    Get real Marco, your not Presidential material.

    February 25, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. Charlie

    i am a registered Republican, but by all accounts, Clinton will do much better that the current Republican bozos who may run. Maybe Scott from Wisconsin would be a decent candidate.

    February 25, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  20. harrisonhits2

    Lol keep dreaming Rubio. She'll slaughter any of the possible GOP candidates. The collection of morons, psychopaths and mental defectives the Republicans will put forward as candidates will ensure defeat without any help from the Dems.

    February 25, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  21. Michael

    Here's your weekly Hilary propaganda

    February 25, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  22. Dan

    Rubio is the biggest has-been hack there ever was in the GOP. He was supposed to be the party's savior, and now is just a joke. He's got no moral compass and has changed his positions more times than the shifting winds. Can't wait for him to throw his hat in that crowded ring only to drop out in the first few weeks.

    February 25, 2014 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  23. Dallas329

    The struggle will be with finding a credible, cohesive, strategic, disciplined, focused and all encompassing GOP. America and the world is fed up with empty leadership on the left and extremism on the right that is bankrupting the nation and setting up a future economic catastrophe. I do hope Jeb Bush runs, he would be far superior to Perry, Cruz, Christie, Paul, etc.

    February 25, 2014 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  24. John

    We need another Bush?.......... right
    ......combined 2 Bush's lost 3 trillion in stock market value (Bush I &1 trillion Bush II minus 4 trillion)......thankfully Clinton and Obama have lpresided over a 23 trillion $ increase
    ......combined 2 Bush's 3 recessions combined started during theiir presidencies...Clinton & Obama.....none began
    ......combined Bush's started 2 wars finished none, Obama & Clinton started no wars but finished two
    ......Combined Bush's allowed 1 succesful terrorists major attacks on US....No other president has allowed even one major terrorist attack on our mainland

    Can we afford another Bush?...............anyone with an ounce of intelligence would say no......................

    February 25, 2014 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  25. Yuripelham

    What a total loser

    February 25, 2014 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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