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. luvUamerica

    If only the Republicans can learn not to lie and think that people don't know it. If they simply make stuff up, out of thin air, and think people will think it is the truth. I think they, Rubio and rest of the Tea Party have a hard time convincing people that they are honest, and they know what they are talking about. Jeb is in a different category in itself. I mean 2 unfunded wars by his little brother. Bringing the US economy to it's knees. TARP aka Bush bailout. Doubling cost of Medicare. Almost doubling US expenses and cutting taxes for the rich? Failed in capturing Obama or making a dent in combating terrorism. But we do have a completely revised view of what happened right? Thanks to Fox and people like Rubio.

    February 25, 2014 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  2. Chip

    This has got to be a joke. These two morons are a joke as presidential candidates! Tell us what qualifies either as presidential material?

    February 25, 2014 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  3. Dan

    Rubio-Whenwas it then that your family came over from Cuba? Before or after Castro.Y ou have done nothing of consequence for your constituents here in Florida.You are completely irrelevant.You are a failure as a Senator and unfit for the Presidency.

    February 25, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  4. Bubba

    Rubio is still "undecided" on his inevitable place in history as the first candidate to lose to a woman. His convictions on saving his own rear are strong. Such are the convictions of the GOP.

    February 25, 2014 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  5. Anthony

    Hillary wins if she runs. They want Rubio to run so he can get Latino vote which won't happen.

    February 25, 2014 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  6. UriNation

    Why don't the Republicans focus on what they will to do in 2016, instead of dwelling on the Democrats crystal ball.

    February 25, 2014 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  7. Andrew

    Rubio abandoned Florida's poor children because they are poor. He will never live such a hateful thing down as long as he lives. He has no say in any matter.

    February 25, 2014 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  8. Why again

    Why do we need to have another election?
    Can't we just execute the last bunch of failures and start from scratch?

    February 25, 2014 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  9. Tom in Desoto, TX

    What else would Rubio the lackey have to say, he's been put in the closet when the other drones talk. Rubio is nothing more than a weak waterboy

    February 25, 2014 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  10. Suval

    Who is Rubio kidding or what is he smoking? Hillary is not going to have to answer for past foreign policy failures. She did not make them and,if we are being fair, she was repairing horrible foreign relations from the Bush Admin in the WH. If the Republicans attack her on this ,the world press will eat them alive. She was respected and liked. She does not have to answer for Benghazi. A bi partisan, independent investigation cleared that up. Numerous Agency Reports found that the State Dept and Susan Rice were telling the truth. Rubio's problem is that he had his Republican compatriots cannot read or comprehend English . She also is not the one responsible for not funding the safety of our State Dept Staff around the world. Wake up! Congress cut those funds.She worked with what she had. Rubio will never be elected President. He is a loser. One minute he is the King of the Tea Party group and the next he is riding the fence hoping to convince people he is a moderate, rational Republican. There are no such Republicans anymore least of all Marco Rubio. I doubt if Jeb Bush will be in the mix. Too much family baggage and he is from TX where no Republican can be fair ,rational or respectful of anyone anymore. Thank God TX does not represent the whole US. Their behavior and oftentimes stupidity won't fly nationally even though Jeb and Dad Bush were was once a pretty political leaders. Rubio knows he is lying. If he doesn't then he is even more delusional that his Republican friends.

    February 25, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  11. Mike

    Marco go suck down a bottle of water as your choking up again. Better yet keep your mouth shut as every time you open it you shove your foot down it.

    February 25, 2014 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  12. TiskTiskTisk

    Its not important what you think waterboy – you can't relate to the status quo

    February 25, 2014 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  13. kcyankee

    I'd be happy with a Clinton vs. Rubio contest. She would mop the floor with that young fool.

    February 25, 2014 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  14. WVGleeman

    Rubio has no chance of winning. Jeb is the best of all the Bushs but I think his name would lose him the election alone.

    February 25, 2014 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  15. Edward

    Rubio needs to focus on doing his job. What has he done? Really what, anyone from florida please chime in.

    February 25, 2014 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  16. Name

    Go grab that water bottle Marco. You seem to do that best. You would be pummeled by Clinton. You wouldn't even win your home state. Dream on.

    February 25, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  17. Jim Jimson

    Rubio is struggling to seem relevant.

    February 25, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  18. dina

    Rubio is irrelevant and has no business making any comments about Hillary Clinton whose shoes he should shine.

    February 25, 2014 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  19. Bea

    Polls have consistently shown that Hillary would win FL against Rubio (she would also win against Jeb Bush). I think that Rubio would be the one struggling.

    February 25, 2014 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  20. Mike Buck

    Perhaps the members of the Take Education Away (TEA) Party and the RepubliCONS could set another record for filibusters of obstruction if Hillary is elected.

    February 25, 2014 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  21. Name

    Hillary will be a great POTUS, she will win if she runs, Obama is doing a great job despite the horrible Republicans and GOP congress and their lack of cooperation, refusal to work with Obama and make him look bad, all from day one.

    February 25, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  22. Mr. Balls

    Rubio has a very high opinion of himself considering he hasn't really accomplished anything as a senator. Once the Tea Potty darling, his main focus since being elected has been self-promotion. Obama's spectacular rise was an unlikely event which we are unlikely to see again. Rubio has no world experience, no executive experience, and no legislative of accomplishments. What is going to run on the fact that he is Cuban?

    February 25, 2014 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  23. TruthandConsequence

    If he ever had it, Rubio lost the confidence of millions of Americans when he signed on to that most unacceptable piece of legislation which kowtows to the pro-illegal alien crowd, but does nothing to solve our immigration problems. Bad call Marco!

    February 25, 2014 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  24. Steve Allard

    So he's basically saying she wont get the republican votes. Not much of a surprise there. Anyone screaming "Bengazi" for the last 2 years isn't going to vote for any deomocratic candidate anyway.

    February 26, 2014 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  25. blakenaustin

    You have to have your head in the sand to believe that Hillary is a viable candidate for president in 2016. Compulsive liar and deceiver. No moral compass. Fiscally irresponsible. No meaningful accomplishments as a senator or secretary of state. Unlikeable, abrasive, ruthless. Too many unexplored scandals. Is she really the best the Democrats have to offer?

    February 26, 2014 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
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