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Marco Rubio talks about RPOF audit, economy

He did not talk to reporters after the Univisión debate in Miami Friday, but GOP Senate hopeful Marco Rubio did take some questions at the West Miami opening of a Republican Party of Florida office. And the focus of the questions was not on the debate.

What, we wanted to know, did Rubio think of the audit released earlier in the day of the party's books?

"The audit confirms what we've been saying all along, and that is that we acted appropriately," Rubio said. "In those instances where there were charges on Republican Party credit cards that were not politically related, I paid for them out of my own pocket -- at the time, not after the fact."

Would Rubio be willing to have the party release his American Express credit card reports from before Gov. Charlie Crist, running against Rubio as an independent, began leading the RPOF in 2007?

"It’s a party decision," Rubio said. "No one ever questioned spending at the party before Jim Greer took over. There were tight fiscal constraints in the party before that time. There was never a spending problem until Charlie Crist put Jim Greer in charge of the RPOF."

Then Rubio turned the focus on the economy.

"The most important announcement today has nothing to do with this audit," he said. "The most important announcement today is that unemployment in Florida is at 11.7 percent. That a million Floridians are out of work."

As governor, Crist gets heat -- from Rubio and others -- on the state of Florida's economy. Should Rubio get some too, considering his term in the Florida House overlapped with some of Crist's term as governor?

"No, no," Rubio said. "The downturn in Florida's economy is largely due to a collapse in the housing market, due to federal housing policy that was started by Democrats and perpetuated by Republicans. What we did is try to lower property taxes. That’s what the state can do, and we worked very hard to try to lower property taxes.

"It would have made things better. It wouldn’t have fixed anything, but it would have made things better than they are right now."