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. akduck

    Rubio epitomizes the idea that, when put together, the words "republican" and "intelligence" form a perfect oxymoron. The only republican that defies the concept is Paul Ryan. Rubio should shut up and sit down to stop the bleeding. And we can only hope that Ryan rises up. He has a ways to go, but it is not impossible.

    February 26, 2014 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  2. JCS

    I hope he had a glass of water nearby during this interview.

    February 26, 2014 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  3. Jafo

    Another Bush in office, would be the finishing move. And America would never recover.

    February 26, 2014 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  4. Human4All

    Rubio, What stopped you from taking your daily prescriptions, can't afford anymore. Get yourself check by a psychiatrist. .

    February 26, 2014 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  5. Jafo

    More Republican lies. We all heard the lies, when Romney was running. Faux News had Romney winning by a landslide, lol. Yet, that prediction was the other way around. Faux News fair and balanced, lol. Nope, Faux News is 360 news at its finest, because the outcome is always the other way around. Hence, Faux News doesn't allow comments. Say what you want about CNN, but atleast CNN isn't afraid of letting users speak, like Faux News is.

    February 26, 2014 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  6. D

    Uh huh, great opinion from the old "Rube"; the man who wouldn't know reality it reached up and slapped him.

    February 26, 2014 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  7. Jim

    Hillary is going to be 69 in November 2016 the same age as Reagan. However, I feel that Obama-care will play the biggest role in her defeat. I don't see the economy doing anything other than going sideways or slowing down in the next two years we may not have a recession but when people get hit with higher medical insurance, food prices, and inflation due to printing money for years it is really questionable if people are going to want another Democrat in charge. If a radical Republican is running against her it will be a toss up.

    February 26, 2014 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  8. Matt

    Rubio already is struggling and has been for a long time.

    February 26, 2014 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  9. Independent

    Rubio? Good luck with that.

    February 26, 2014 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  10. VoteForPedro

    The GOP have plans to dig up Reagan, attach strings to his arms and legs. And dub-in Newts voice during speeches. Then when elected, you won't ever see him. Remember "Weekend At Bernie's"?

    February 26, 2014 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  11. gregor1971

    She is just not a leader of people, lacking in the same way that Obama has during his tenure. The best two Presidents of the last 50 years were Reagan & Clinton. They were both governors and had gained valuable experience as leaders of people. They had learned how to compromise & work cross the aisle through consensus building – something that Clinton and Obama have no experience at. She has had chances to gain this type of leadership experience, but she has shied away from it.

    February 26, 2014 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  12. Tony in STL

    Geez. Who listens to republicans these days? They are tried, tired, and proven! Hillary 2016!

    February 26, 2014 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  13. Amused Independent

    I don't about Rubio, but I'm disturbed by Clinton's Sec. of State experience. I don't believe her on Benghazi...which is worse than if she just admitted a mistake on security and that the attack wasn't over a film. It was on 9/11...how dumb does she play the American people for. I'd never, ever, vote for Hillary, and doubtfully Rubio unless it was just those two. We need better choices than these.

    February 26, 2014 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  14. Amused Independent

    I don't know about Rubio, but I'm disturbed by Clinton's Sec. of State experience. I don't believe her on Benghazi...which is worse than if she had just admitted a mistake on security and that the attack wasn't over a film. It was on 9/11, then she had a convenient illness and didn't testify...how dumb does she play the American people for? I'd never, ever, vote for Hillary, and doubtfully Rubio, unless it was just those two.

    We need better choices than these.

    February 26, 2014 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  15. Simplefaith

    Sorry Rubio, he has no chance and will be squashed like a bug. He has no experience to lead our country.

    February 26, 2014 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  16. Travis

    Rubio is in dreamland. He will never be elected president. He will be lucky to get re-elected to the senate.

    February 26, 2014 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  17. Bill S.

    The Clinton's are a team like no other. . . Bill is as popular as ever. . . Hillary knows how to take a beating from the republicans, rise out of the rubble, dust off and fire back twice as hard. . . They know every play book the republican machine can produce. . . The Clintons are a juggernaut that can't be stopped. . . THIS is what scares the wits out of the republicans.

    Republicans will give a spirited show that will not disappoint, and Rubio will like to get his two cents in....

    We'll see Mr. Rubio, . . . We'll see.

    February 26, 2014 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  18. Name

    Rubio is a FRAUD and a blabber mouth!!

    February 26, 2014 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  19. ss

    Because we know how much Rubio accomplished compared to Hillary.

    February 26, 2014 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  20. shawn l

    Rubio wasn't even born in the US. He has had less experience than Obama has in government, and the republicans have slammed Obama on his lack of experience before he became pres. Funny.

    February 26, 2014 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  21. Anonymous

    The only difference he could make would be to make us all very sick and poor

    February 26, 2014 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  22. Carrie

    Rubio is the one who would struggle – BIG TIME!

    February 26, 2014 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  23. polite centrist

    The choice will be between center-left and far right. Guess who I'll vote for.

    February 26, 2014 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  24. E Schuyler

    Another Republican trashing a democrat in this instance Hilary Clinton....Same old line...why don't they talk about their successes and leave the trash talk alone ... talk about what he has done .... on paper and otherwise. The reason he can't talk about himself is his accomplishments are a big fat zero, zed, nothing , nada.... get the picture .... If he had been media saavy he would have talked about what he could do for the country or has done in Florida. All we know about Florida is the court system and how it handled Traavon Martin and how it handled the Jameis Winston case... that tells you so much about Florida. I know he is young and Hispanic but I wouldn't vote for him in a million years unless he can show me his record and what he has done.... In absence of that ... move on McDuff and get some experience instead of trash talking.

    February 26, 2014 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  25. Winston5

    "She'll have to answer about Benghazi".??? Really dude. This sounds familiar. Like 2012. How did you exactly make the POTUS answer for Benghazi?? By reelecting him in a darn near landslide! You want to play 'Benghazi' again in 2016 little man?...BRING. IT. 😉 (just imagine the debates!)

    February 26, 2014 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
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