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

Anti-tax champion Grover Norquist opposes Marco Rubio's support for Big Sugar

via @learyreports

In defending government subsidies for the sugar industry, Sen. Marco Rubio calls it a matter of national security.

Eliminating the program while other countries use similar programs, Rubio has said, would leave the U.S. “at the mercy of a foreign country for food security.”

But a number of conservative voices are rejecting that argument. “It’s not fair to people who focus on national security to burden them with corporate welfare as a justification,” anti-tax leader Grover Norquist said on Tuesday in an interview following a meeting on Capitol Hill that took aim at the subsidies.

“He’s from Florida,” Norquist said. “But at the end of the day, people have to decide if they want to run to be president to be a national leader, as opposed to a regional leader.”

Continue reading "Anti-tax champion Grover Norquist opposes Marco Rubio's support for Big Sugar" »

Marco Rubio plans grassroots fundraiser in West Miami

FullSizeRender (7)@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio will be home in West Miami on Dec. 5 for a fundraiser -- but not the kind of high-brow event that asks attendees for four-figure political contributions.

Instead, his campaign will host a Saturday breakfast (at 8 a.m.!) for local supporters. The requested donation? $20. 

The campaign has dubbed it the "Where It All Began" breakfast, since Rubio's first elected post was on the West Miami City Commission. The fundraiser will take place at the Rebeca Sosa Multipurpose Facility, which is a few blocks from Rubio's house and was named after Rubio's political godmother. Sponsoring the event are Miami-area elected officials, politicians and community activists, including Sosa and West Miami City Manager Yolanda Aguilar

Rubio's presidential candidacy has been gaining traction, and he has been more in demand nationally, so the event is intended as a gesture for the community that backed him from the beginning. It also lets people who may not otherwise be able to afford mingling with the candidate to spend some time with him.

Fact-checking Marco Rubio's claim about Ted Cruz's position on illegal immigration

Florida’s Marco Rubio, asked by a reporter if Texan Ted Cruz is perhaps more serious about stopping illegal immigration, shot back that the freshman senators competing for the Republican presidential nomination share common ground.

Rubio, who helped propel Senate approval of an immigration overhaul in 2013 that included a path to citizenship for immigrants already living here, replied at a South Carolina event Nov. 12, 2015: "Ted is a supporter of legalizing people who are in this country illegally."

That’s kind of a head-snapper. Among presidential hopefuls, Cruz holds himself out as tougher than the rest against giving ground to people living in the U.S. without legal authorization. In September 2015, PolitiFact rated Mostly True Cruz’s claim that he alone among 10 candidates (including Rubio) at the CNN Reagan Library debate never backed "amnesty" for immigrants. Research suggested he was the only one who had never plainly supported something like a path to citizenship or another form of legal status.

But Rubio suggested in South Carolina that when the Senate was debating its plan, Cruz was on board with giving immigrants legal status. "In fact, when the Senate bill was proposed," Rubio said, Cruz "proposed legalizing people that were here illegally. He proposed giving them work permits. He’s also supported a massive expansion of the green cards. He's supported a massive expansion of the H-1B program, a 500 percent increase. So, if you look at it, I don't think our positions are dramatically different."

See how PolitiFact rated this claim. 

New Spanish-language TV ad targets Republicans over immigration


A political action committee for a major national labor union released a new Spanish-language television ad Thursday hitting several Republican presidential candidates, including the only two Hispanics seeking the job, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

The groups behind the ad are iAmerica Action and SEIU-COPE, the Service Employees International Union Committee on Political Education. The union has endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.

The ad, which will air nationally on networks Univison and Telemundo, condemns Republicans' opposition to the actions President Barack Obama took using executive authority that protect some immigrants in the country illegally from deportation. The actions are known as DACA and DAPA; DAPA, which Obama pushed a year ago, has not been implemented due to an ongoing lawsuit.

"One year ago President Obama took historic action, standing up for all families striving to achieve the American Dream," said Rocio Saenz, executive vice president of SEIU International and president of iAmerica Action’s President. "Since then, we have reached one full year of consistent attacks against Latino and immigrant families. It's simply inexcusable."

The groups say they will spend six figures on the ad campaign, which include digital ads in English in Florida, Nevada, Colorado and Texas.

The spots quote Rubio, Cruz and Donald Trump -- and also picture Jeb Bush. All have said they would end DACA (and DAPA, if it ever moves forward). Bush has generally taken a more empathetic tone toward immigrants, and Rubio has indicated he might let the program stand for a while before canceling it, to give Congress some time to reform immigration laws. He says he would cancel it even if Congress doesn't act, however.

Here's the English-language script:

Rubio: We need to get rid of all these illegal executive orders the President has put in place.

Cruz: I think amnesty is wrong.

Rubio: DACA is going to end.

Trump: They have to go.

Voice over: These candidates may be different, but their messages are all the

same: No to DAPA, no to DACA, np to immigrant families.

Now it’s time for our community to say no.

We will not accept hate. We will not allow anti-immigrant attacks.

We will not support the status quo.

Because if they win, we lose.

Here's the Spanish-language spot:


November 18, 2015

Florida GOP will submit documents by Nov. 30 qualifying presidential candidates for primary


One by one, the Republican presidential candidates who attended the Florida GOP's Sunshine Summit last week signed a piece of paper asking to be on the state's March 15 primary ballot.

That was the summit's biggest allure, after all: To qualify for the Florida ballot, the Republican Party of Florida required candidates to either attend the Orlando summit and sign the party oath -- or pay a $25,000 fee, or amass 3,375 voter petitions.

All but one of the candidates still in the race at the time (former New York Gov. George Pataki) spoke at the summit, and all signed the oath. (Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has since dropped out.)

Donald Trump's campaign tweeted about it. 

Marco Rubio bragged he had been the first to file the paperwork -- because he was the summit's first speaker. And Ben Carson claimed Wednesday that he had "submitted" the document.

None of the oaths, though, have made it to the Florida Division of Elections yet. The party will turn them over to the state by Nov. 30, RPOF spokesman Wadi Gaitan said.

WaPo: Marco Rubio lands another billionaire donor, Frank VanderSloot

From the Washington Post:

Frank VanderSloot, a top Republican donor and chief executive of an Idaho nutritional-supplement company, on Tuesday pledged his support to Marco Rubio's campaign for president, giving the Florida senator another top financier in a quickly growing donor network.

"We started out by saying we needed to answer these two questions: Who would be the best president? And number two, who can get elected?" VanderSloot explained to The Washington Post. In the end, he said, "It ended up being the same person."

More here.


Marco Rubio attends one Paris terror briefing but skips another to fundraise

via @learyreports

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee went behind closed doors for a briefing titled, “The Aftermath of Paris: America’s Role.” But Sen. Marco Rubio was not there. The Florida Republican is on his way to California for fundraising.

The absence illustrates how Rubio is not just missing floor votes but also key hearings on national security and foreign policy -- issues he has presented as chief credentials of his presidential campaign. He's also skipping a Paris briefing this afternoon for all senators. His office said he attended an Intelligence Committee meeting on Paris held Tuesday.

In recent months Rubio has missed a slew of Foreign Relations hearings and classified briefings, records show, aiding his critics.

Continue reading "Marco Rubio attends one Paris terror briefing but skips another to fundraise" »