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. Neutral Observer

    If the major news outlets (they mostly are outlets now, not originators) cover Hillary as they have covered her and Obama in the past, I'd say she's going to win. If they really put her under the spot light, she hasn't a chance.

    February 25, 2014 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  2. Stop wasting time

    She'll struggle measuring for new drapes considering the Republicans best chance was a fat guy from jersey.

    February 25, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  3. ron

    Hillary certainly does not need to answer for Benghazi because the press has, and will, give her a pass on that because they prefer Democrats.

    February 25, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. Neutral Observer

    I hear many of the posters here state how scared the GOP is of Hillary. The GOP??? My god, the whole country should be terrified of that whole clan.

    February 25, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  5. JustWho

    He's practicing witchcraft – again.

    February 25, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  6. Wes

    Didn't see have a brain hemorrhage? I don't think she will make it to 2016, much less 2020

    February 25, 2014 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  7. TNPatriot

    I think Rubio should run......to Cuba.

    February 25, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  8. Neil Bush

    Ted is the TX lap dog while Marco is the fl one. They'll be running around the 3 Bush libraries (no need to write the state) after all that wa co dope smoke hits 'em.

    February 25, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. Paul Vondra

    With all due respect to the First Amendment, it is time to start rounding up reporters and pundits who are already deluging us with stories of the 2016 Presidential race. We just had one, we barely had time to breathe and fumigate the air from all the endless blather surrounding that one, GIVE USE A BREAK! Seriously, any mention of 2016 until at least after the 2014 midterms is an utterly worthless, pointless exercise in sheer mindlessness.

    Now for all those rounded up reporters: Stick them in a locked coliseum and subject them to Marie Osmond singing Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign biopic "Why Not The Best?"

    In its entirety.

    February 25, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  10. Name

    thanks Clinton News Network, i was starting to wonder where the next hillary article was

    February 25, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  11. Dream on Marco

    Marco Rubio's interview was the same-old same-old recycled GOP tag lines. Rubio sounds more inteliigent swilling a water bottle than spewing that tired rubbish.

    February 25, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  12. browerpowr

    Republicans these days are sadly stupid; it pains me to no end to have to vote Democrat in every single election. I'm desperate for something else to consider!

    February 25, 2014 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. TKO

    Always a mistake to make a prediction like this.

    February 25, 2014 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  14. polo

    was rubio born in america?

    February 25, 2014 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  15. oh

    oh please....no way with the GOP extremists would support Rubio through the primary and no way Jeb could weather the general election....next....oh, that's right, the GOP is going to offer up another cast of loonies that will self destruct one by one as they're brought under national scrutiny....

    popcorn time...

    February 25, 2014 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  16. JoJoJo

    Geez let's hope the Republican party can do better than Marco Rubio.. He is too light in the loafers even for a weekend in Key West.

    February 25, 2014 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  17. are122

    LOL, Hilary Clinton couldn't even pass the bar exam in D.C....and had to go to Arkansas where luckily she had Bill. And she's lived off his coat tails every since. LOL...The only way she might be a successful president is if she sat on Bill's lap and moved her lips while he talked.

    February 25, 2014 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. Devon

    Name one positive think Hillary has done in the past 5 years. Even Liberals are jumping off her ship. She's just an extension of the Bush administration.

    February 25, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  19. Proud Independent !

    Haha ! Rubio is a joke ! Clinton would easily beat anyone the GOP put up against her at this point ! I seriously don't see anyone on the horizon that would even give her a challenge ! If Clinton run's she will win and the GOP know's it !

    February 25, 2014 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  20. DC Johnny

    Whether Clinton runs or not, and whether she wins or not, the fact of the matter is that she oversaw the Department of State during one of its most dreadful periods in American history. The consistent rise Muslim extremists to power, the nuclear proliferation in the hands of enemies of peace around the world, and what happened under her watch in Libya. These are just a few of the disastrous setbacks in our foreign policy.

    Again, she will probably win the presidency. But that doesn't validate her efforts as Secretary of State. It only proves what we already know... that a country dumb enough to elect a community organizer to a second term after his first disastrous term is dumb enough to elect the worst Secretary of State in modern U.S. history to the same office.

    Bravo, America.

    February 25, 2014 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. OrmondGeorge

    Marco Rubio
    Sounds like a "Conservative" mantra. One that will put you into a deep DEEP sleep from which you will awaken to Hillary's two term Presidency.
    By comparison, Hillary will float through the skies freely while you sit chained to the bottom of the Mariana trench

    February 25, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  22. Ronald Romney

    Word on the grapevine is that rich Republicans are already buying up property in South America so that they have a place to move to after President Clinton is inaugurated. Go figure.

    February 25, 2014 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  23. Peter

    Those of us who live in Miami know better. Marco Bubio is an opportunist blowing a lot of hot air.
    The locals here know it and the rest of you will as well. Just give it time.

    February 25, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  24. Anthony in California

    Hillary would struggle with what? What color drapes to choose for the Oval Office?
    It surely wouldnt be struggling to dismantle the the TPs, the GOPs, and anyone who crawls out of the RNC...

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

    February 25, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  25. PAPoliticalLife

    Well...I believe anyone that will run in today's society will struggle. Smear campaigns and criticism about one's past dominates the media & debates. It seems that American society is swaying further and further away from the party's actual platform. Yes, of course a "likeable" presidential nominee is important, however it should not outweigh the policies they run on. Sure, some of the policies may not work as expected once elected, BUT PEOPLE DO NOT EVEN PAY MUCH ATTENTION to the actual policy. Instead of viewing what Hillary will do, people will continuously bring up Benghazi & the Monica incident. Sheesh,

    Hillary has experience. Look at our first say...7 Presidents? Their résumé included participating in either Senate/House, along with that they were a Governor, Sec. of State, Lawyer, etc. THEY HAD EXPERIENCE. Hillary comes in with various forms of experience, something that many other nominees will lack, or either ONLY have senator or governor under their belt.

    February 25, 2014 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
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