July 08, 2016

Rubio after Dallas ambush: 'I'm not sure there's a law we can pass'

Rubio 03 EKM
@PatriciaMazzei @alextdaugherty

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio got an obvious question Friday, the day after a sniper gunned down Dallas police officers, killing five of them and wounding seven others: If good guys with guns couldn't fend off a bad guy with a gun, should lawmakers limit the availability of guns?

No, the Florida Republican said.

"This is a very unique situation," Rubio told reporters. "You have snipers that are in rooftops, picking off police officers -- a very difficult situation."

The officers were armed, Rubio conceded, but didn't know who was firing at them or from where. "The police officers found themselves in a very vulnerable situation: They are wearing uniforms," he said.

He rejected the notion that the Dallas shootings -- which by Friday had been blamed on a lone gunman -- should spur any legislative action.

"I'm not sure there’s a law we can pass," he said. "If people want to get into that debate, I'm not in favor of criminals having guns. Unfortunately, criminals don't care about what the law is. If you pass a law that bans a certain gun, criminals are going to have it law abiding people will not. Criminals, by definition, ignore the law."

Continue reading "Rubio after Dallas ambush: 'I'm not sure there's a law we can pass'" »

Marco Rubio raised $2.1 million in nine days

Marco Rubio raised over $2.1 million nine days following his announcement to seek re-election, his Senate campaign announced Friday.

"Thanks to thousands of donations from supporters received between June 22 and June 30, Marco's campaign started July with approximately $2.1 million cash-on-hand," states a press release. "Conservative leaders throughout Florida and the nation have coalesced behind Marco. Given their overwhelming show of support and Marco's national fundraising network, the Rubio for Senate campaign has proven to have the necessary resources to quickly put together a successful campaign."

At the end of May, Rubio only had about $24,000 left in his presidential campaign account and about $1.9 million in debt.

Rubio is competing against Bradenton businessman Carlos Beruff in the Aug. 30 primary.

Democrat Patrick Murphy said Thursday he raised $2.4 milion for the quarter.


PolitiFact: Marco Rubio's opponent Carlos Beruff botches facts about immigration bill

Marco Rubio’s Republican rival for the Senate says that Rubio sided with President Barack Obama on amnesty, rather than protecting the border from undocumented immigrants as Donald Trump vows to do.

Bradenton businessman Carlos Beruff sent a statement to the media July 5 blasting Rubio on immigration:

"When faced with increasing threats to Americans, what did Marco Rubio do? Rather than work to secure the border, he supported Obama’s amnesty plan for illegal immigrants, endearing him to the Washington establishment in his bid for president. It’s clear that ISIS and others intent on doing us harm will use any means necessary, including our Southern border, to enter this country."

Beruff then praised Trump’s immigration plan.

Beruff’s campaign argues that Rubio supported a plan that would have immediately legalized immigrants without guarantees of border security. That’s distorting the facts. The legislation Rubio helped draft had multiple hurdles to permanent legal status and had extensive border security measures -- and funding for them. The Rubio campaign declined to comment.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

July 07, 2016

In first joint appearance, Rubio to attend Trump roundtable in Miami

GOP 2016 Debate


On Friday, for the first time since the end of their sharp rivalry, Marco Rubio will join Donald Trump on the presidential campaign trail, as one of Trump’s lunch guests at Miami’s Versailles Cuban restaurant.

Rubio’s attendance, confirmed to the Miami Herald by Trump’s campaign and Rubio’s Senate re-election campaign, is a significant coup for Trump, whose Miami trip is intended to smooth over relations with local Hispanics deeply dubious of his presumptive Republican nomination. Rubio is South Florida’s highest-ranking — and perhaps best known — GOP politician.

For Rubio, appearing with Trump is a chance to underscore the commitment he has pledged to his party’s standard-bearer — without having to publicly advocate on Trump’s behalf. The lunch is private and closed to the news media. Rubio dropped out of the presidential contest after losing the March 15 Florida primary to Trump in a rout.

Rubio won’t make it to Trump’s speech later at the DoubleTree Hotel Miami Airport & Convention Center. He plans to fly back to Washington D.C. after lunch for a family event.

Trump plans a powerhouse lunch that will include Rubio as well as Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a potential Trump running mate. Among the other guests will be other local politicians, business people and pastors, Trump’s campaign said.

More here.

Photo credit: Paul Sancya, Associated Press


Rubio picks up NRA endorsement

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio picked up the endorsement of the NRA.

“Marco Rubio is a strong advocate for the rights of law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman, NRA Political Victory Fund. “He has fought to preserve our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage, and stood strong against President Obama, Hillary Clinton  and former New York City billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s extreme gun-control agenda."

A news release celebrated his highest attainable “A+” rating, "reserved for legislators who have excellent voting records on Second Amendment issues and who have vigorously fought to promote and defend the right to keep and bear arms."

It said Rubio:

Continue reading "Rubio picks up NRA endorsement" »

Clinton should be stripped of security clearances, Rubio says

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio and other Republican senators want the State Department to suspend security clearances for Hillary Clinton and her top aides, seeking to capitalize on the private email scandal.

“We believe that is clear from Director [James] Comey’s statement and the FBI investigation that the State Department should immediately suspend the clearances of Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and other former State Department employees for security violations if they still maintain them,” the senators wrote in a letter Rubio's office said he organized.

“There is simply no excuse for Hillary Clinton’s decision to set up a home-cooked email system which left sensitive and classified national security information vulnerable to theft and exploitation by America’s enemies.  Her actions were grossly negligent, damaged national security and put lives at risk.  Failure to impose any sanctions for these clear violations of State Department procedure undermines the integrity of the State Department’s system for handling classified information and sends the wrong message to the Department’s employees."

The letter was signed by Rubio, David Perdue (GA), John Barrasso (WY), Cory Gardner (CO), John Cornyn (TX), Johnny Isakson (GA), James Risch (ID), Ron Johnson (WI), James Lankford (OK), and Tom Cotton (AR).

The move comes after House Speaker Paul Ryan first suggested action Wednesday, writing a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

July 06, 2016

No Rubio at GOP convention, but he says it's not because of Trump

via @learyreports

Sen. Marco Rubio will not attend the GOP convention, citing the need to stay in Florida and focus on his re-election campaign.

Rubio joins a list of prominent Republicans -- among them Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, John McCain andKelly Ayotte -- skipping the convention.

But Rubio's campaign said it did not have to do with Donald Trump.

"Florida has always been a competitive state and it will be this fall. Marco had planned to go to the convention before he decided to seek re-election. Since Marco got into the race late, he will be in Florida campaigning and meeting with voters instead of going to Ohio," spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said.

In late May Rubio said he would attend, surprising some given differences with Trump. "I want to be helpful. I don't want to be harmful, because I don't want Hillary Clinton to be president," he said on CNN.

He later clarified that he wasn't sure if he would be asked to speak and if so, it would be about issues he believes in.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

Tea party backs Rubio despite 'huge mistake' over immigration

via @learyreports

He made a "huge mistake" by getting involved in immigration, but Sen. Marco Rubio has the backing of the nation's largest tea party group.

Tea Party Patriots said its super PAC will back Rubio in his re-election bid.

“When he first ran for the Senate in 2010, Marco Rubio had the courage to challenge a popular sitting governor, and Tea Party Patriots all over the state responded by flocking to his candidacy and forming the backbone of his support. Since winning that election, he has served ably and well, and – despite his huge mistake on ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ (read: amnesty for illegal immigrants), from which he says he has learned his lessons – he is, clearly, the strongest conservative candidate for the Senate in Florida," Jenny Beth Martin said in a release.

“Let’s be frank: That mistake hurt him with Tea Party activists in Florida, and across the nation. But he now says he recognizes the difficulty of dealing with such an issue in a comprehensive fashion, and instead supports a one-at-a-time approach – first, implement real border security, and don’t make any further moves until the public agrees that our borders are secure. Then, and only then, will we be able successfully to move on to other aspects of the immigration reform agenda. Tea Party Patriots believes that will be a successful strategy, and we support Sen. Rubio’s decision to follow that course.

Continue reading "Tea party backs Rubio despite 'huge mistake' over immigration" »

Help is on the way: GOP super PAC reserves TV time in Rubio race

via @learyreports

A super PAC tied to Mitch McConnell said today it has reserved $1.5 million in TV advertising for the Florida Senate race.

Senate Leadership Fund said the ads will air in Orlando and Tampa on broadcast and cable from 7/15 to 7/22.

"Whether the Democrats nominate Patrick Murphy or Alan Grayson, we are all in for Senator [Marco] Rubio and intend to hold this Senate seat," said Steven Law, president of the PAC.

The subject of the ad was not disclosed.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times