February 25th, 2014
05:28 PM ET
7 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. frank thomas

    Politicans like Rubio and Cruz might have Hispanic names but they represent white only t baggers, , and bush being married to a Hispanic will make no difference to Hispanic voters, Hilary will be the democratic nominee and will have millions, The GOP is a shadow of itself and will be defeated big time.

    February 25, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  2. Grumpster

    Ribio just needs to shut his pie hole and pack his phoney baloney pious self and fake ethics and leave the country. We do not want nor need him.

    February 25, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The teaparty 24 billion dollar CLOWN Rubio won't even get realected in Florida . He represents the teaparty, the Koch roach brothers and the Cubans , NOBODY ELSE!!!!!!

    February 25, 2014 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  4. gustifer53

    Rubio is a typical Teabagger, crazier than a BedBug and as hard to kill as a Cockroach. Where do these people come from? WOW it's amazing. One day Rubio is for something and the next day he against it. Same here talking about Hillary, who is what 40% points ahead of Fidel Castro Rubio in the popularity polls. Tomorrow he will probably be praising her, I think he is Bipolar. It's just like Rand Paul trying to degrade the most popular President that is alive. Just keep up the nonsense boys, you're the best guys on the Democratic team.

    February 25, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. fbsernum

    What is a rubio?

    February 25, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  6. Mark

    Whatever happened to the other minority Republican who was supposed to make waves and take the party by storm? Bobby Jin-something...

    February 25, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  7. Arcfontis

    Enough Bushes already! We don't need another Bush in the White House. Two have been more than enough...

    February 25, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  8. AMDO

    Who would consider Rubio or anyone named Bush after the debacle of the last 10 years, The republicans will have their circular firing squad and the Democrats will have theirs. Clinton has a better shot than any republican out there at the moment. Rubio, Christie, Bush is the best we can do....Geez. How about someone that will bring the country together and create opportunity for all Americans. A good start would be overhauling the tax system and term limits. Rubio is just another clown.

    February 25, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. Jet

    Just ask Rubio about prisons for profit corruption, and the sunshine state kickbacks for privatizing public services.
    He will never even make the ballot. The boy is playing in a mans world.

    February 25, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. Sue

    Sorry mario, you're letting your fantasy life leak over into the REAL world. YOU are the one with the struggle ahead. And there's NO WAY our country is letting another Bush into the White House (except Barb). That family's had their fun, at the countrys' expense, for the last time.

    February 25, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  11. Chow

    Clinton on 2016: Rubio would go down in flames.

    February 25, 2014 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  12. gustifer53

    Rubio and Rand Paul from the same disease, Benghazi in the mouth. Every time both of them talk to the media, all that comes out of their mouths are Benghazi. You can ask either of them what they had for breakfast yesterday, they would both answer BENGHAZI...

    February 25, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  13. Amaberis

    Did he say this before or after he had a sip of water? Hee Hee. Oh Rubio.

    February 25, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  14. vidal808

    Mr. Rubio, you got it all wrong, you would be the one that would struggle. Safe yourself the embarrassment of defeat and stick to your job as a Republican Senator. Maybe you could assist Hillary in some capacity to run the country wile your other colleges will continue to obstruct and block everything Hillary will try to do.

    February 25, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  15. Dan Man

    Ya, lets listen to Rubio, a Cuban socilaist supporter who we aren't even sure is a real American. Daddy was an illegal for years. Is that who we want running our country? Some illegal Cuban?

    February 25, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  16. amazed2

    Dream on right winger. President Clinton II is a lock with the way you clowns handle your self serving politics. I'm fine forget you is losing it's appeal.

    February 25, 2014 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  17. jim

    Rubio will have to deal with how he lied about his parents and Castro, and why he had trouble paying his mortgage!

    February 25, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  18. Maria Echeverry

    Really? Not even Spanish people trust Rubio. He is a republican puppet

    February 25, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. Larry Colin

    The biggest struggle Hillary would have against either Jeb or Marco would be to keep from having too big of a landslide. We already know how accurate the fox new entertainment polls are. They had robme ahead by double digits. Yet we know know by real history how that turned out. But we do hope Marco does run. Makes it a bigger landslide for Hillary.

    February 25, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  20. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Rubio needs: 1. A new hair stylist. 2. A good dose of perspective 3. To stop believing his dreams and fantasies. 4. To choose a serious cause. 5. Stop believing he appeals to Hispanics. He doesn't. 6. Develop a sense of respect for others. 7.Quit sounding and looking like Reince Priebus. It's not a good thing. 8. Get out of the cold war mentality. It's the 21 century. 9. Unserstand that human dignity is inviolable. Poor people are not poor by choice, life happens and sometimes there are no lifelines like the one his father got. 10. Understand that all women, including Mrs. Clinton, deserve respect. We ladies are not going to take the GOP insults anymore.

    February 25, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  21. skipper

    Can someone please explain to Rubio that he is supposed to represent All of Florida not just Cuban ex pats who fled Cuba rather than fight?

    I forget, did Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and Patrick Henry, flee from British rule ? or did they stay and Fight ?

    February 25, 2014 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  22. I don't get it

    Ok, the race for 2016 has begun and all republicans in the race will have every sentence include a Noun, a verb and Benghazi. This will fail after everyone hears it 5000 times and nothing to back it up. Rubio should realize that the republican party is using him as a tool.. their little trophy boy with the Cuban background.

    February 25, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Rubio would melt

    February 25, 2014 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  24. elgranreyes

    Rubio wouldn't even win the Latino community. Hillary Clinton is much better connected to the needs of that community than Rubio ever will be. He might have had a chance if Republicans had passed the immigration bill he promoted in the senate, but then he pulled a Romney: he denounced his own legislature just like Romney had to run against the health care system he set up in Massachusetts. Voters have no idea what Rubio stands for if he's forced to denounce immigration reform after having been the one to promote it. He's just another minor Republican functionary with deadly weaknesses like all of the so-called front runners in the Republican Party.

    February 25, 2014 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  25. Thomas

    As much as Hillary Clinton is like the same movie with a gender change .

    Marco Rubio's remaking of Bedtime for Bonzo won't guaranty him the White House

    February 25, 2014 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
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