November 26, 2015

November 25, 2015

Marco Rubio supporter backs anti-Ted Cruz ad

via @learyreports

The battle between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz continues with an ad from a political nonprofit attacking the Texan as soft on terrorism.

Cruz hit back on Fox News last night, accusing Rubio and his allies of trying to shift attention from Rubio’s immigration work.

The ad comes from American Encore, a group that does not have to disclose donors. Politico reported that founder Sean Noble is backing Rubio and co-hosted a fundraiser for Rubio in Arizona last week.

Noble asserts his group isn’t pro-Rubio. Yet the Florida Republican first opened up the attack on Cruz for voting to curb the NSA’s data collection. That came after Cruz went after Rubio on immigration.

A new poll shows Cruz surging to a near tie with Donald Trump in Iowa. Coincidentally, the anti-Cruz ad is playing in Iowa.



--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

November 24, 2015

Marco Rubio tells dad's story in TV ad airing in early states


To introduce himself to Republican voters in New Hampshire and Iowa, Marco Rubio chose the story he told about his late dad in April, when he launched his 2016 presidential candidacy at Miami's Freedom Tower.

"My father was grateful for the work he had, but that was not the life he wanted for his children," says the minute-long spot, titled "Bartender."

Left unsaid is that Rubio's father, Mario, was a Cuban immigrant.

"My father stood behind a small, portable bar in the back of a room for all those years so that I could stand behind this podium in this room," Rubio says, in his signature line concluding campaign speeches. "That journey from behind that bar to behind this podium -- that's the essence of the American Dream."

The ad will start airing Thursday in New Hampshire and next week in Iowa, according to the Rubio campaign. Rubio's first national ad, focusing on foreign policy, also began airing this week.


November 23, 2015

A look back at Marco Rubio's FIU teaching record

via @adamsmithtimes

Marco Rubio has brushed off criticism about missing U.S. Senate votes to run for president and careless use of state GOP credit cards and political committees when he was a Florida legislative leader.

But even in an often overlooked part of Rubio’s professional life — academia — public records show a familiar pattern for the presidential contender: basic expectations for the job unmet or ignored, dubious accountability and oversight, and job opportunities that would be highly unlikely for anyone without his political stature.

Rubio took an unadvertised $69,000 part-time teaching job at Florida International University in Miami as he left the state legislature due to term limits. Even after he became a U.S. Senator and started traveling the country as a national GOP star and prospective presidential candidate, he continued teaching Mondays and Fridays at FIU until April, earning $23,448 last year in addition to his $174,000 salary as a U.S. Senator.

Students and teaching colleagues raved about Rubio’s work in the classroom and the excitement of having a prominent Florida politician, and later a sitting U.S. Senator and prospective presidential candidate, teaching them.

More here.

Yet another complaint filed against pro-Marco Rubio 'dark money' group

via @learyreports

The political nonprofit running ads supporting Marco Rubio has become a magnet for election law complaints, the latest coming Monday with a group citing a lack of disclosure.

The liberal American Democracy Legal Fund writes to the FEC: “Because Conservative Solutions’ television advertisements expressly advocate for the election of Senator Rubio, they are independent expenditures. Senator Rubio has said that he has nothing to do with Conservative Solutions, which, if true, indicates Conservative Solutions’ advertisements were ‘not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of’ Senator Rubio or his campaign. As such, Conservative Solutions should have been filing independent-expenditure reports with the Commission.”

Read the complaint here.

American Democracy Legal Fund, which was started by Hillary Clinton ally David Brock, and some campaign finance watchdog groups have previously filed complaints with the FEC and Justice Department over the “dark money” group supporting Rubio. Conservative Solutions Project has raised at least $16 million. A similarly named PAC, which does have to disclose donors, has raised about as much.

Jeff Sadosky, a spokesman for Conservative Solutions Project, said: "It is clear that DC’s left-wing elites are incredibly afraid that a positive conservative message focused on solutions will put additional pressure on the Obama Administration and Congress to enact conservative policies that will actually address badly needed reforms.  As it has for the past two years, Conservative Solutions Project remains focused on one thing…advocating for a conservative agenda that will solve some of the most serious issues American families are facing."

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Suffolk poll: Marco Rubio in second place in New Hampshire


Marco Rubio is in second place among Republican primary voters in new Hampshire, according to a new poll by Suffolk University and the Boston Globe.

Rubio still only has half the support of frontrunner Donald Trump, the poll shows: 11 percent compared to Trump's 22 percent. But the Florida senator has more support than other GOP establishment candidates who could challenge Trump. And Rubio remains well-liked by poll respondents: 64 percent gave him a favorable rating and 22 percent an unfavorable one, the best numbers in the field.

"Donald Trump's loyal 22 percent goes a long way in New Hampshire," David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, said in a statement. "As long as the remaining 78 percent is split relatively evenly among the six or seven major contenders, we're getting close to 'Trump-mate' in the Granite State."

The other top candidates were Ben Carson (10 percent), Ted Cruz and John Kasich (9 percent each), and Jeb Bush (8 percent).

Last time Suffolk polled the New Hampshire field, in June, Bush was in first place, followed by Trump.

New Yorker profiles Marco Rubio, 'un joven viejo'

From the New Yorker:

At the age of forty-four, [Marco] Rubio has lively dark eyes, soft cheeks, and downy brown hair affixed in a perfect part. He sometimes asks crowds to see him in the tradition of a “young President who said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.’ ” (J.F.K. was forty-three when he entered the White House.) Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, is only five months older than Rubio, but nobody calls him boyish.

If the Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, the Party will be offering the oldest candidate that it has ever run in a general election, and Rubio has taken to saying, “Never in the modern history of this country has the political class in both parties been more out of touch with our country than it is right now.” But in policy terms Rubio can appear older than his years. His opposition to same-sex marriage, to raising the minimum wage, and to restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba puts him out of step with most American Latinos. In the Spanish-language media, he is sometimes described as un joven viejo—a young fogey.

After a summer submerged in a raucous primary field, Rubio had recently climbed into third place. He was ahead of Jeb Bush, his former mentor, and far behind [Donald] Trump and Ben Carson. Trump’s campaign marched to the sound of a dirge—“The American Dream is dead,” he told crowds—and Rubio presented himself as a sunny alternative, a way out of Trump’s sulfurous moment. “We’re very blessed to have so many good people running for President,” he said earnestly to the crowd in Boulder City.


Rubio’s campaign faces a range of tactical questions—Does he have the organization to win an early state? Will he lose his home state to Trump? Could Cruz win with only conservative and evangelical voters?—but the larger question will be harder to solve: Rubio has succeeded in politics by straddling as many positions as possible. He is the Catholic at the Protestant church, the quarterback of both teams, the joven viejo. But it isn’t clear that he can continue to do that and also be as bold as he would need to be to alter the Presidential prospects of the Republican Party in a changing country.

More here.

November 22, 2015

Marco Rubio's first TV ad: 'What happened in Paris could happen here'


Marco Rubio used his presidential campaign's first national TV ad to portray himself as tough on national security in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks.

"This is a civilizational struggle," Rubio says in the 30-second spot, set to air nationally Tuesday, according to his campaign.

So far, Rubio has relied on an allied super PAC, Conservative Solutions PAC, and on a dark money political nonprofit, Conservative Solutions Project, to promote his candidacy.


Rubio also talked foreign policy in a Fox News Sunday interview, in which he called for a ground force made up mostly of Sunni Arabs to fight ISIS and defended his 2013 decision to vote against U.S. airstrikes in Syria.


November 20, 2015

Donald Trump: Close down mosques. Jeb Bush: 'That's just wrong.' Marco Rubio: Close down any place inspiring radicals

via @learyreports

Donald Trump wants to close down mosques in the U.S. and create a database to track Muslims — post-Paris efforts that have stirred debate and backlash.

Jeb Bush denounced Trump this morning on CNBC, going farther than other Republican candidates. “You talk about internment. You talk about closing mosques. You talk about registering people. That’s just wrong,” Bush said. “I don’t care about campaigns. … It’s not a question of toughness. It’s manipulating people’s angst and their fears. That’s not strength, that’s weakness.”


Marco Rubio last night on Fox News was asked a more focused question about the mosques. “It’s not about closing down mosques. It’s about closing down any place - whether it's a cafe, a diner an Internet site - any place where radicals are being inspired." Rubio went on to say the bigger problem is finding out where the places are, citing limits on intelligence gathering. "Any facility that is being used to radicalize and inspire attacks against the United States should be a place that we look at."


--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

November 19, 2015

Could Marco Rubio's rise in the presidential race further delay federal investigation into David Rivera?


@PatriciaMazzei @jayhweaver

Federal prosecutors have circled David Rivera for three years, trying to build a strong enough criminal case to prove the former Miami Republican congressman propped up a ringer candidate in the 2012 election.

They got the ringer, Justin Lamar Sternad, to confess, and sent him to prison. They chased the woman who secretly funneled more than $81,000 to Sternad — Ana Alliegro, Rivera’s ex-girlfriend — to her Nicaragua hideout, and sent her to prison, too. They even got Alliegro, once out of prison, to testify to a grand jury that it was Rivera who had plotted the illegal campaign-finance scheme. 

That was almost a year ago. To date, the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami has filed no charges against Rivera — or closed the investigation against him.

“The judge had them name David Rivera as ‘Co-Conspirator A,’ and David Rivera has not been charged,” lamented Alliegro’s father, Anselmo Alliegro. “Nothing seems to be moving in that direction.”

As 2015 draws to a close, prosecutors may choose to wait even longer to resolve the case.

They have until 2017 to file charges, under the federal statute of limitations. And if Rivera’s friend and former housemate Marco Rubio continues to rise in the 2016 Republican presidential race, prosecutors may want to steer clear of the politically charged case, to avoid the appearance of meddling with an election.

More here.

Photo credit: Hector Gabino, el Nuevo Herald