February 08, 2016

Rubio attacks Cruz for defending Chinese company

Getting tough on China has been a recurring theme among the candidates running for president in 2016

In Bow, N.H. last week, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said one his GOP rivals isn’t telling the whole truth about his record standing up for American firms against the Chinese.

"Ted Cruz was counsel on record for a Chinese company that stole an invention from an American inventor in Florida," Rubio said. "Here you have someone who goes around talking tough about China, but he leaves out the fact that when China stole an American inventor’s product, he stood with the Chinese."

"That is a fact," Rubio said.

We decided to check it out. See what Jonathan Van Fleet of PolitiFact New Hampshire found and see PolitiFact's coverage in New Hampshire.

February 07, 2016

For Marco Rubio, a Florida reunion before the Super Bowl


MANCHESTER, N.H. -– Marco Rubio’s Super Bowl watch party Sunday in New Hampshire had a distinct Florida flavor.

Mingling with voters were volunteers who flew up from Rubio’s home state, on their own dime, to make phone calls and knock on doors ahead of Tuesday’s primary. You could spot the Floridians: They wore matching badges on lanyards that read, “Freezin’ for the Future.”

They were doing what Rubio himself did eight years ago, when he trekked to the Granite State to stump for Mike Huckabee.

“I took vacation days to come up. It was that important to me,” said Doug Kruse, a 47-year-old nonprofit fundraiser from Parkland.

Kruse lived for 13 years in New Hampshire, so he’s familiar with the state. Since arriving Friday he’s worked a Rubio phone bank, trying to persuade voters to support the candidate.

“People in New Hampshire, on the weekend before the primary, they know that they’re going to get 15-20 calls a day…so they don’t really answer the phone,” he said. But when they do, he tells them that Rubio has foreign-policy experience and the right “vision for America.”

Jason Steele came Thursday with his wife, Lori Harbert, and 16-year-old son, Jace Chastain, from Melbourne Beach.

“We wanted to come up to show the people of New Hampshire what the people of Florida think of Marco Rubio,” said Steele, who has been on the door-knocking trail. “I actually fell into the snow. I was covered in it. It was fun.”

Among the volunteers was former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (Rubio’s Florida campaign co-chairman), former Miami state Senate Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla, Republican operative Christian Cámara, Tallahassee attorney Len Collins, former Rubio state legislative aide Rafael “Ralph” Perez and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban Bovo. Nelson Diaz, chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party attended an event earlier in the day, though not in an official party capacity.

Quipped Bovo: “It’s not like knocking on doors in Hialeah, that’s for sure.”

The party featured Little Caesars pizza, popcorn, cold cuts, veggies, black-bean-and-cheese dip and cake. But, alas, no beer.

Rubio spoke briefly -- "I think there’s a football game on tonight" -- and wrapped up before the game began. 

"Enjoy the game. It doesn’t really matter to me, the Dolphins haven't been there since '84, '85." (1985.)

An earlier version of this post misstated Diaz de la Portilla's title.<\i>

New Hampshire voters have the Marco Rubio-Chris Christie showdown on their mind


via @learyreports

BEDFORD, N.H. – The Christie-Rubio showdown was the talk of a middle school cafeteria here before the candidate showed up to a crowd of hundreds.

Steve Poschmann, Bedford, 50, intends to vote for Rubio

“It was a little cringe-worthy how he repeated the same lines over and over again how Obama is deliberately destroying the country. He should have laid off those and gone after Christie. I’m not sure why he didn’t. He’s not even running against Obama. Will it hurt? It depends how much the video gets out there.”

Kevin Reigstad, Bedford, 50, undecided

“It made Christie look bad, like a bully. Every politician has their messaging they want to get out. Chris Christie does the same thing, tells the same story, makes the same points."

Val Zanchuk, Concord, 65, undecided independent voter

"Christie pretty much skewered Rubio. It affirmed my concerns that he’s fairly shallow. I’m just here to see if he has anything to say other than his normal script. Rubio should be bleeding right now. I saw Jeb on Friday. I was impressed. He comes across much more genuine, much more knowledgeable than he appears to be on TV and the debates."

Continue reading "New Hampshire voters have the Marco Rubio-Chris Christie showdown on their mind" »

Marco Rubio defends repeating Obama attack at debate: 'I'm going to keep saying it'


NASHUA, N.H. -- Chris Christie rattled Marco Rubio in Saturday night's debate for repeating four times a line about President Barack Obama. But Rubio said Sunday morning that he stands by what he said -- and plans to keep saying it on the campaign trail.

"I would pay them to keep running that clip because that's what I believe, passionately," Rubio told ABC News' This Week

"We raised more money last night in the first hour that debate than any other debate. As far as that message, I hope they keep running it and I'm going to keep saying because it's true. Barack Obama --  yes, has he hired incompetent people to implement laws and run agencies? Absolutely.

"But when it comes to the -- what he's trying to do to America, it's part of a plan. He has said he wanted to change the country; he's doing it in a way that is robbing us of everything that makes us special."

Miami politicians trek to New Hampshire to help presidential candidates


Team Marco Rubio's post-debate spin

via @learyreports

GOFFSTOWN, N.H. -- While acknowledging a "tough exchange" with Chris Christie, Marco Rubio's senior strategist spun Saturday's debate performance as a win. 

"What Gov. Christie was trying to do was to knock Marco out, to kill him dead. He took his best shot and he failed," Todd Harris told reporters.

Asked why Rubio kept repeating the line about President Obama, a tactic that perplexed just about everyone, Harris said:

"Maybe unlike Chris Christie, Marco thinks that fundamentally what this election is about is defeating Democrats in November. So when he was given repeated opportunities to bash Barack Obama and to bash the record of the Democratic Party, he took every single one of those opportunities. It surprises me that any member of the media would think that Republican primary votes wouldn't be interested in hearing a candidate running for president take the fight to the Democrats. We did it repeatedly. We’re proud of it. We’re going to do it again tomorrow. And the next day, and the next day, and the next day."

Harris said Rubio's campaign had raised "three times" more money during the debate than previous debates. He said Rubio's goal is to finish in the "top tier" on Tuesday.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

How Cuban exiles ended up with 2 of their own as Republican presidential contenders

Primary Pixels Photo Gallery(2) (1)


NASHUA, N.H. -- For 50 years Cuban exiles have dreamed of the day they would elect one of their own to be president of Cuba.

This year they might actually see one elected — to be president of the United States.

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, both sons of Cuban immigrants, head into Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary as two of the Republican Party’s top contenders for the 2016 nomination. That one of them could win marks an exceptional feat for a community only two generations removed from political exile.

“This race could come down to the two of them,” said former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, a Florida Republican backing Jeb Bush for president who was the first Cuban-American in the U.S. Senate. “It’s really remarkable.”

Last week, Cruz became the first Hispanic in history to win the Iowa caucuses. Together, he and Rubio took more than half the vote —nearly 51 percent — in a state not known for its ethnic diversity.

Yet there were few headlines proclaiming Cruz’s win and Rubio’s third-place finish as a victory for Latinos.

“Where is the media on this, right?” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday on Fox News. “I mean, this is a big deal.”

It is. But Cruz and Rubio themselves didn’t play it up. They don’t campaign as trailblazing Hispanics.

More here.

Photo credit: Chris Carlson, Associated Press

February 06, 2016

Marco Rubio, Chris Christie brawl in New Hampshire debate

GOP 2016 Debate

@PatriciaMazzei @lesleyclark

GOFFSTOWN, N.H. -- Marco Rubio knew he’d be the target in Saturday’s Republican presidential debate. But even though he was prepared, things probably didn’t turn out as well as he would have liked.

Rubio, usually an unflappable debater, seemed to get rattled by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has spent the past week singularly focused on the Florida senator. Christie had nothing to lose — he’s trailing Rubio and has pinned his entire candidacy on New Hampshire — and he turned the early part of the debate at Saint Anselm College into a two-man brawl.

That delighted the rest of the Republicans on stage, all hoping to slow Rubio’s ascent after his third-place finish behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and celebrity businessman Donald Trump in the Iowa caucuses.

“You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable. You just simply haven’t,” Christie began, likening Rubio to President Barack Obama, who was also a first-term senator when he ran for president. “Do not make the same mistake again.”

Rubio then delivered again a line he had used only moments earlier.

“Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Rubio said, trying to single-handedly undo a message Republicans have been leveling against the president for seven years. “He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world. We don’t want to be like the rest of the world, we want to be the United States of America.”

Christie, who has spent the past week in New Hampshire lambasting Rubio as being rigidly scripted, saw an opening.

More here.

Photo credit: David Goldman, Associated Press

Bobby Jindal backs former rival Marco Rubio

via @learyreports

Bobby Jindal is the second former 2016 presidential candidate to endorse Marco Rubiothis week.

"He can unify the party," Jindal said on Fox News. "He can win this election in November."

Jindal's endorsement follows Rick Santorum, who failed to name an accomplishment of Rubio's. The fomer Louisiana governor may have to explain this line from October 2015: "We've got a first-term senator in the White House. We need somebody with a proven track record."

But is shows how the GOP is beginning to unite around Rubio.


--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

February 05, 2016

Marco Rubio says China is practicing how to blow up U.S. satellites


The 2016 presidential campaign has inspired discussion of plenty of scary foreign-policy scenarios, from ISIS attacks to cyber warfare. But at a Feb. 3 town hall in Manchester, N.H., Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio offered one we hadn’t heard much about – the possibility that China could blow an American satellite out of the sky.

China, Rubio said, is "practicing how to blow up our satellites."

Experts told PolitiFact that Rubio is basically right. "Regrettably true," Michael Krepon, a space-policy expert and co-founder of the Stimson Center, said of the claim.

Most spectacular was an incident on Jan. 11, 2007, when a six-foot-long Chinese weather satellite flew over China and was blasted to smithereens by an 18,000-mile-per-hour missile launched by China. "And then it was gone, transformed into a cloud of debris hurtling at nearly 16,000 mph along the main thoroughfare used by orbiting spacecraft," as Popular Mechanics magazine put it.

Keep reading Louis Jacobson's fact-check from PolitiFact