May 15, 2015

Marco Rubio gets at least $100,000 in additional book royalties

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio earned more than $30,000 in additional book royalties in 2014, according to his latest financial disclosure and pulled in considerably more this year as he emerged as a presidential contender.

The Florida Republican had to file a disclosure with the Senate, which shows the $30,000 for 2014.

But as a presidential candidate he also had to file a disclosure with the Federal Election Commission. On that form he listed book royalties between $100,001 to $1 million for 2015. It was said by some to be near the middle of that range.

The new income adds to the more than $1 million he had already earned from two books, chiefly the 2012 memoir An American Son. (Hillary Clinton reported Friday earning $5 million from her latest book, Hard Choices.)

Rubio's second book, American Dreams, was published by Penguin Group in January and is a collection of policy proposals.

That book deal provides him 12.5 percent to 15 percent of profits on hardcover editions, 7.5 percent to 10 percent of paperback editions and 10 percent to 25 percent for audio editions and downloadable audio versions.

Rubio, who gets the standard $174,000 salary as a senator, also reported $22,114 salary for part-time teaching at Florida International University.

He listed on his Senate disclosure $68,000 in income from liquidating an ABA Retirement Funds account. It was unclear Friday why Rubio cashed in on Sept. 1, 2014, and his team did not comment.

He reported between $15,001 and $50,000 partnership distribution income from his wife's event planning services business. (In 2013, she earned at least $54,000 working part time for the charity financed by Miami billionaire Norman Braman, records show.)

Rubio's assets include an employee savings plan at FIU, and he noted that he will get approximately $1,000 a month, starting at age 62, in state pension payments for his time in the Florida Legislature. He has Florida Prepaid College Plans for his four children.

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May 14, 2015

Back in Senate, Marco Rubio meets with wives of Venezuelan political prisoners


Taking a break from the 2016 Republican presidential campaign trail, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio met Thursday on Capitol Hill with the wives of two prominent Venezuelan political prisoners.

Lilian Tintori's husband, Leopoldo López, head of the Voluntad Popular political party, was arrested 15 months ago. Mitzy Ledezma's husband, Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, was detained earlier this year. The two women and a Venezuelan human-rights advocate, Tamara Suju, met with Rubio and Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who like Rubio sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Both Cuban-American senators have criticized the Obama administration on its policy toward Cuba and Venezuela.

Rubio called for "more robust implementation" of the sanctions law he sponsored and President Obama signed late last year against human-rights violators connected to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's government.


Photo courtesy Sen. Marco Rubio's office

May 13, 2015

Marco Rubio: I wouldn't have gone into Iraq knowing it didn't have WMDs


Marco Rubio said after a foreign-policy speech Wednesday that, knowing that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, he would have been against the U.S. invasion launched by President George W. Bush in 2003.

"Not only would I not have been in favor of it -- President Bush would not have been in favor of it," Rubio told CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose in a question-and-answer session following Rubio's remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Rubio, a 2016 Republican presidential contender who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has fielded Iraq questions in the past -- and has sounded more supportive about the invasion, or at least about its consequences, than he did Wednesday.

In March, Rubio was asked on Fox News: "Was it a mistake to go to war to Iraq?" That question made no mention of weapons of mass destruction.

"I don't believe it was," Rubio said at the time. "The world is a better place because Saddam Hussein doesn't run Iraq."

In 2010, when he was running for Senate, Rubio was asked, "Is America safer and better off for having gone to war in Iraq?" 

"I think the answer ultimately is yes," Rubio said. "First of all, the world is better off because Saddam Hussein is no longer in charge in Iraq. And I think we have to remind ourselves of that, is that the world is a better and safer place because Saddam Hussein no longer is in charge of that country."

The Iraq question has bedeviled Rubio's Florida rival, former Gov. Jeb Bush, who tripped up over the weekend when Fox News asked him if he would have authorized the invasion given the "faulty" intelligence exposed after the fact. He said yes but then walked back his answer to say "I don't know."

Rubio's spokesman characterized the senator's answers as consistent: In March, he answered about the decision made in 2003, without the benefit of hindsight. On Wednesday, he answered about what the decision would have been in hindsight.

As for what former President Bush thinks, in hindsight, he wrote in his book Decision Points: "While the world was undoubtedly safer with Saddam gone, the reality was that I sent American troops into combat based on intelligence that proved false. That was a massive blow to our credibility -- my credibility -- that would shake the confidence of the American people."

Watch the full speech and Q & A below, with the Iraq question around the 44-minute mark.


This post has been updated.

Does the U.S. have the highest number of immigrants as Marco Rubio says?

The United States leads the world in terms of the number of immigrants it allows to enter the country, says U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

"We have a legal immigration system in America that accepts 1 million people a year, legally," Rubio said at the National Review Forum May 1. "No other country in the world even comes close to that."

Is Rubio correct that no other country in the world comes close to the number of legal immigrants that come to the United States each year?

See what PolitiFact Florida found.

In pivotal N.Y. policy speech, Marco Rubio promises to exert U.S. strength around the globe


Marco Rubio, who is running for president from the right of many of his conservative competitors, promised a muscular, interventionist foreign policy that would showcase U.S. might around the world.

In a speech in New York before the influentialCouncil on Foreign Relations, Rubio – a freshman Republican senator from West Miami, Fla. – started by quoting John F. Kennedy, praised the actions of Ronald Reagan and blistered the tenure of Barack Obama as he outlined a three-prong foreign policy that he said would amplify American strength.

As Rubio criticized Obama, he also took an unnamed swipe at Hillary Clinton, who more likely than not would be his Democratic challenger were he to win the Republican Party nomination for president.

“We simply cannot afford to elect as our next president one of the leading agents of this administration’s foreign policy – a leader from yesterday whose tenure as secretary of state was ineffective at best and dangerously negligent at worst,” he said, according to his prepared remarks set for delivery at 3:30 p.m. EDT. “The stakes of tomorrow are too high to look to the failed leadership of yesterday.”

More here.

A look at Marco Rubio's claims about foreign affairs and the military

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio gives a speech at the Council on Foreign Affairs 3:30 p.m. May 13. PolitiFact has fact-checked Rubio about 90 times including claims about nuclear weapons, defense spending, Cuba, Iran, and ISIS. Here is his full Truth-O-Meter record and here is a summary of some of his claims:

Nuclear weapons: The United States "is not modernizing its nuclear weapons." Most of the experts we interviewed disputed Rubio’s statement. While the United States has reduced the number of warheads, it has also been modernizing nuclear equipment and has plans to continue to do so. Comparing our arsenal with other countries is misleading since the U.S. and Russia own the majority of the nuclear weapons. We rated this claim False.

Cuba: In the negotiations with Cuba, "no commitment was made to allowing the establishment of political parties or to even begin the semblance of a transition to a democracy." He was largely correct. Cuba did promise to release 53 political prisoners, but the secret talks led to no measurable changes to a political system dominated for more than half a century by the Castro brothers. We rated Rubio’s statement Mostly True. (And here is our fact-check about his claim about the internet and Cuba.)

Iran: "The Iranians are now saying that what we're saying the deal is and what they understand it to be are two different things." Leaders in Iran and the United States both accused the other of distorting the framework agreement reached in April -- and there are some dramatic and significant differences in the way the two countries are describing aspects of the agreement. We rated Rubio’s claim True.

ISIS: ISIS is "now the predominant Islamist group in Benghazi." While there are myriad militias, radical militants, armed groups and even multiple governments in Libya, Islamic State’s footprint is still relatively small. Besides some activity in pockets across the country, the group holds sway in Derna, but not so much in Benghazi, experts say. We rated his claim Mostly False.

In key New York address, Marco Rubio to lay out three-prong foreign policy doctrine


In a speech before an influential foreign policy group Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida plans to lay out the principles that should govern the exercise of U.S. power.

“The 21st century requires a president who will answer that question with clarity and consistency – one who will set forth a doctrine for the exercise of American influence in the world – and who will adhere to that doctrine with the principled devotion that has marked the bipartisan tradition of presidential leadership from Truman to Kennedy to Reagan,” the senator plans to say, according to excerpts of his speech made available in advance of the event.

Rubio is appearing in New York Wednesday afternoon before the Council on Foreign Relations, an influential, nonpartisan think tank. It’s being billed as the senator’s first policy speech since announcing his run for the presidency last month, and it will be before heavyweights of foreign policy and political circles.

With the spotlight on him, political analysts say Rubio needs to articulate a broad foreign policy vision. He’s generally considered among the most hawkish of the Republicans seeking the presidency, and analysts say he has displayed an aggressive enthusiasm for intervention abroad.

He has urged military action or support in Libya and Syria, for example, and supported giving authorization to the president to take the military steps necessary to destroy Islamic State terrorists in Iraq. He has also been supportive of foreign aid – something often targeted by conservative deficit hawks – and has said U.S. leadership in the world doesn’t have to be just through its military.

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Marco Rubio to lay out 'Rubio doctrine' on foreign policy


Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio will speak at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Thursday to detail his approach to foreign policy -- a hawkish doctrine centered on funding the military, protecting global commerce and advancing U.S. values through aid.

Here are excerpts from his prepared remarks, provided by the Florida senator's campaign:

What principles should govern the exercise of our power? The 21st century requires a president who will answer that question with clarity and consistency – one who will set forth a doctrine for the exercise of American influence in the world – and who will adhere to that doctrine with the principled devotion that has marked the bipartisan tradition of presidential leadership from Truman to Kennedy to Reagan.

Today, I intend to offer such a doctrine. And in the coming years, I intend to be such a president. My foreign policy doctrine consists of three pillars:

The first is American Strength. … To ensure our strength never falters, we must always plan ahead. It takes forethought to design and many years to build the capabilities we may need at a moment’s notice. So to restore American Strength, my first priority will be to adequately fund our military. This would be a priority even in times of peace and stability, though the world today is neither. 

The second pillar of my doctrine … is the protection of the American economy in a globalized world.  … As president, I will use American power to oppose any violations of international waters, airspace, cyberspace, or outer space. This includes the economic disruption caused when one country invades another, as well as the chaos caused by disruptions in chokepoints such as the South China Sea or the Strait of Hormuz.

Russia, China, Iran, or any other nation that attempts to block global commerce will know to expect a response from my administration. Gone will be the days of debating where a ship is flagged or whether it is our place to criticize territorial expansionism. In this century, businesses must have the freedom to operate around the world with confidence.

The third pillar of my doctrine is moral clarity regarding America’s core values. We must recognize that our nation is a global leader not just because it has superior arms, but because it has superior aims. … 

As president, I will support the spread of economic and political freedom, reinforce our alliances, resist efforts by large powers to subjugate their smaller neighbors, maintain a robust commitment to transparent and effective foreign assistance programs, and advance the rights of the vulnerable, including women and the religious minorities that are so often persecuted, so that the afflicted peoples of the world know the truth: the American people hear their cries, see their suffering, and most of all, desire their freedom.

May 12, 2015

In title for most conservative, Marco Rubio just misses top spot


As they race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, the senators in the running are also in a battle for the title of most-conservative.

Ted Cruz of Texas wins. But not by much.

The new legislative ratings by the American Conservative Union, a leading grassroots conservative organization, gave three senators perfect 100 scores: Cruz, Mike Lee of Utah and the just-retired Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Another five senators were bunched together with ratings of 96. Included were Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Cruz, Rubio and Paul are all declared candidates for president and will compete in a Republican primary season where conservative credentials will be a major selling point.

Another Republican senator who has all but declared a run, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, had a far-more moderate score of 74.

Florida’s other senator, Bill Nelson of Orlando, was one of 16 Democrats to score a zero in the conservative group’s rating system.

The group’s ratings were based on an analysis of votes cast or positions taken on 25 key issues. The group’s ratings are designed to test the issues and votes that “serve as a dividing line to help separate those members of the U.S. House and Senate who protect liberty as conservatives and those who are truly liberal.”

Rubio only went afoul of the group’s positions once: his vote against an amendment that would have phased in a reduction in government subsidies for flood insurance.