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. Joe Biden

    "what difference does it make at this point" when you lie to the AMerican people?

    February 26, 2014 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  2. Switters

    Voters in Florida know a different "Marco":

    Marco Rubio is not a good 'national candidate'.

    He was born in the U.S. while his parents only held 'temporary visas' – he is the prototype 'anchor baby'.

    He lied for years about his parents escaping Castro's Cuba. Actually, they left several years before Castro took power. They came to the United States for the economic opportunities that are here – just like all the Hispanic economic refugees that Marco works every day to help 'keep out'.

    He won his race in Florida with only 48% of the vote.

    He walked away from a home he was buying in Florida when the value went 'underwater'.

    He was a Mormon – then a Catholic – now he takes his family to a 'Southern Baptist' church.

    February 26, 2014 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  3. jboh

    Markie is struggling for relevance. Just askin trolls again for his Koch roach puppet masters.

    February 26, 2014 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  4. larkwoodgirl

    If he wasn't seriously worried about her, he wouldn't be talking about her. Although I don't particularly like her, I would vote for her over him any day.

    February 26, 2014 06:58 am at 6:58 am |

    The debt ceiling was just the start. Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.

    February 26, 2014 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  6. OldWest

    Rubio is a spineless, gutless moron...

    February 26, 2014 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  7. OldWest

    PS...You republicans really need to stop this Benghazi, Benghazi, and more Benghazi...Your party has added nothing to the well being of this country except for attacking people and other politicians...What a bunch of lapdogs......

    February 26, 2014 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  8. Oh Nooo!

    Clinton will win the white house in 16' the republicans will still be at civil war in 2016. The tea party is unelectable in a general election. There only a lock in extremely red states. There party is still in disarray  I don't see the republicans winning the white house for a very long time. That makes it very tough for them to accomplish anything.

    February 26, 2014 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  9. TheBlanton

    Rubio is angling for that Hispanic Surname VP candidate that the GOP desperately wants on their electioneering signs. If not Rubio then Cruz (god help us). Meanwhile here in Texas George P Bush is running for Land Commissioner, setting up a Gubenatorial or US Senate run in the next 4 years.

    February 26, 2014 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  10. greenaxe

    Hillary will struggle....Oh yeah and the earth is 4,000 years old. That said.....gimme a drink of water.

    February 26, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  11. AJinFLA

    Another Bush? Yes bring back the stock market down to 7500, unemployment back over 9%, a few more wars, massive expansion of government, Wall Street bailouts...... (you know all those things that happened before 2009, that the Republicans try to blame on Obama)

    February 26, 2014 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  12. Alyssa

    What a clown.

    February 26, 2014 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  13. resident

    Perrsonally, I think she flushed it with her "What difference does it make" quote. But I'd vote for a dead dog before any of the current GOP candidates.

    February 26, 2014 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  14. ShawnDH

    Settle down Marco. You couldn't even handle a brief State of the Union rebuttal without having a meltdown. Go have some water and simmer down.

    February 26, 2014 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  15. Carrie

    I am not a Republican or Democrat not sure if I would vote for Hillary or not, I am just glad that Obama will be gone.

    February 26, 2014 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  16. oldbones24

    ROFL JED?! He really helped FL, NOT! He started this nightmare we now call Florduh.

    February 26, 2014 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

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

    Who do they have? President Mitt Romney. Because, well .... you know: Mitt has the momentum.

    February 26, 2014 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. dzerres

    I don't get the GOP. That Benghazi thing failed in 2012 and yet they plan to go back to the well on that one? Why? Four more years will have passed and they expect people to think there's any more to it than was already investigated by Darrell Issa and others. That's insane but as the President famously said, "do proceed".

    February 26, 2014 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  19. luc

    GOP will bring Benghazi up all the time because they do not have any creative ideas to run the country. It is sad that 4 people lost their lives it is even more disgraceful too see hundreds die in Iraq over a lie to Americans about weapons of mass destruction. How quick the GOP are to flip the subject. The GOP needs to put forward there platform which is go to the past instead of taking the country forward.

    February 26, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Why don't the Republicans focus on what they will to do in 2016"

    Republicans? What they do is spend our taxpayer money running around from one media outlet to another circling their wagons in a show of unity against everyone who isn't a "real" American in their eyes.

    What they can't seem to "do" is come up with fresh ideas: trying hard to take America back to circa 1950 seems to be the only goal they are willing to fight for ... or understand.

    February 26, 2014 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  21. tom l

    "What they can't seem to "do" is come up with fresh ideas: trying hard to take America back to circa 1950 seems to be the only goal they are willing to fight for ... or understand."


    Hillary Clinton's battle cry was that she was going to take our country back. She said it over and over and over.

    February 26, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. Hugo V

    Rubio overshadow to all my Spanish people. Was elected only for Cubans, but they regret now with this ambitious candidate. No principles, no leader, only jumping from side to side searching for personal agenda, no the republican party.

    February 26, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    bio argued she'll "have to answer for Benghazi," referring to the 2012 deadly terrorist attack against a diplomatic post in Libya...
    Whaddya know? Rubio goes overseas and comes back with a broken crystal ball? He's making self fulfilling prophesies. Of course, we all know that Rubio, et al, will be the one who will still be demanding answers about Benghazi.

    February 26, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. JY

    If Hillary wins, the GOP will do what they did to Bill and Barack, everything possible to destroy them, even if it hurts the country

    February 26, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  25. luc

    Maybe the USA needs a women to run the country and straighten the guys up a little. You know Hilary when POTUS will chew these guys up and spit them out like nothing. Can't wait too see a women for the first time run the country it will keep the guys on there toes.

    February 26, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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