April 26, 2016

Marco Rubio's image in Florida took a hit after presidential race

via @learyreports

Marco Rubio’s image in Florida took a hit during his run for president and more so than any other senator who entered the race, according to a new Morning Consult survey.

Rubio's favorability dropped 6 points to 45% and his unfavorability increased 7 points to 41%, according to a news release. That’s drawn from a broad series of online questions asked across the country between Jan. 8 and April 17. (The last survey was released in November)

The results come after Rubio’s poor showing in the March 15 Florida primary in which he lost to Donald Trump in every one of the state’s 67 counties except Miami-Dade.

Bill Nelson remained in “pretty much the same spot -- favorability is 52%, unfavorability is 24%, don't know/no opinion is 24%.”

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

April 24, 2016

Marco Rubio says he plans to sit out rest of GOP primary


Marco Rubio intends to watch what remains of the Republican presidential primary from the sidelines.

In an interview aired Sunday, Rubio told Univision's new Al Punto Florida show that he has no imminent endorsement or campaigning plans.

"For now, I don't plan on getting involved in the contest that's still going," he said. "I ran my own race, it didn't end in victory, and I'm going let voters decide what's going to happen. But I will support the Republican nominee."

In his final days as a candidate, Rubio had wavered on backing front-runner Donald Trump, but the Florida senator has no longer sounded reluctant in recent interviews. He told Al Punto Florida co-host Ambrosio Hernández -- who made Rubio the brand-new show's maiden guest -- that Trump had a "pretty overwhelming" victory in last week's New York primary.

"If he keeps winning delegates like he did the other night in New York, I think he's going to reach that number," Rubio said of the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. "But let's see. There are still other states to go."

Continue reading "Marco Rubio says he plans to sit out rest of GOP primary" »

April 21, 2016

Donald Trump's misleading claims about "rigged" elections


As Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has led the delegate chase, he has complained that the "corrupt and crooked" elections have been "rigged" against him.

But he has repeatedly failed to prove his case that states have stacked the deck against him.

Trump has received a plurality of delegates so far, but he yet hasn't hist a majority, which is 1,237. It is that process of delegation selection that has fueled many of his complaints.

We have fact-checked three claims by Trump or his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski related to delegate selection or the primary voting system. Two of the claims were about Florida’s March 15 primary, while the third pertains to the Colorado caucus and state convention. We rated all three statements False on the Truth-O-Meter.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida to see how we rated Trump's claims.

Marco Rubio celebrates brother's induction into Miami High's hall of fame



Miami Senior High School welcomed new members to its hall of fame last weekend -- including one Mario Rubio, a football standout and the older brother of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

The younger Rubio attended the ceremony Saturday. He wore a name tag that read, "Marco." His older brother, a Vietnam vet who lives in Jacksonville, joined Rubio on the presidential campaign trail beginning late last year.

Here are some snapshots of the night, by photographer Matias J. Ocner:

Continue reading "Marco Rubio celebrates brother's induction into Miami High's hall of fame" »

April 20, 2016

Marco Rubio renews commitment to backing Donald Trump if he's GOP nominee


Marco Rubio sounded sure Wednesday that he could support Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee.

In an interview with South Florida radio station WIOD-AM (610), Rubio said he'd back whomever GOP delegates choose at their July convention.

"I've always said I'm going to support the Republican nominee," Rubio told host Jimmy Cefalo. "And that's especially true now that it's apparent that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate."

Last time Rubio was asked the question, though, three days before he dropped his own presidential bid, the Florida senator wavered on whether he could stand behind Trump.


"I don't know," he said the Saturday before Florida's March 15 primary, his voice breaking. "Getting harder every day."

Marco Rubio steps into Haiti elections fray -- again

via @Jacquiecharles

Sen. Marco Rubio is once more speaking out about Haiti's elections.

The Florida Republican has teamed up with Georgia Republican Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson to ask U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to step it up on Haiti's on-again, off-again final presidential round.  

"We urge the Department of State to use every tool at its disposal to ensure that Haitian authorities conduct elections by the agreed upon deadline," the letter said.

That would be Sunday under a Feb. 5 political accord outlining the steps for Haiti's interim leaders to transfer power to an elected president. The date, however, is impossible to meet. That means, while not yet official, the country's scheduled April 24 runoffs to elect a president and complete parliament, will be postponed for a third time.

Léopold Berlanger, the newly appointed head of Haiti's revamped elections body, said as much in his in his first news conference earlier this month.

"We cannot talk about the electoral calendar in the state that we're in," Berlanger said, referring to the chorus of doubts over the credibility of the final results of the Oct. 25 presidential first round pitting government-backed candidate Jovenel Moïse against opposition candidate Jude Célestin.

Continue reading "Marco Rubio steps into Haiti elections fray -- again" »

April 18, 2016

Donald Trump wrongly blames Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush for Florida's winner-take-all primary


Donald Trump has been on a tear accusing the Republican establishment of rigging the system to hurt him, despite the fact that he leads the delegate count in the primaries.

One of the states where leaders are out to get him is Florida, he says. The state’s March 15 primary was "winner-take-all," which means all of the delegates went to one winner, who ended up being Trump.

"You speak about what’s unfair, so in Florida you had 99 delegates," he said in aspeech in Rome, N.Y. "And Jeb Bush had it set -- Jeb Bush or Rubio, both of them. They had it set so that the winner takes everything, because they wanted to make sure that I didn't get anything."

Did Bush and Rubio set the Florida primary for winner-take-all because they wanted to prevent Trump from getting any delegates?

Republican officials did hope a winner-take-all primary would benefit Bush or Rubio, but Trump gets some of his key facts wrong. Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

Photo by the Associated Press.

April 14, 2016

Marco Rubio blasts Senate for refusing vote on end to welfare benefits for Cuban 'refugees'



The U.S. Senate refused to vote Thursday on Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s bid to stop giving welfare benefits to Cuban immigrants, prompting an exasperated Rubio to take to the Senate floor to blast political paralysis in Congress.

“This is why people are so sick of politics,” said Rubio, who noted that, until a month ago, he was a Republican presidential candidate hearing from voters about their frustrations with lawmakers. “You can vote for a Democrat, you can vote for a Republican, you can vote for a vegetarian. It doesn’t matter who you vote for: Nothing happens. These people don’t do anything.”

“No one can argue this,” he added of his proposal, which he argued would put an end to abuse by some Cubans who take the welfare dollars back to the island. “But I can’t even get a vote on an amendment to change this.”

And why not? According to Rubio, because fellow Republicans tell him, “‘We can’t vote on it because if we give you your amendment, then we have to give the other side their amendment.’” (The other side being Democrats.)

“This is crazy. This is nuts. We can’t solve problems,” Rubio said. He noted the plan has bipartisan support: U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, is a cosponsor in the House of Representatives. Florida’s senior senator, Democrat Bill Nelson, signed on to Rubio’s bill Thursday, saying the welfare benefits “were meant to help those fleeing persecution by Castro’s oppressive regime, not to be a source of income for those who returned to Cuba.”

More here.

April 13, 2016

Fort Lauderdale man launches 'Nominate Rubio' website

James Lamb can’t stop believing in Marco Rubio.

The Fort Lauderdale man is formally launchingNominateMarco.com on Wednesday — the one-year anniversary of Rubio’s presidential kick off — imploring Republicans to nominate the former candidate at a contested convention.

So far, 2,371 people have signed a petition Lamb has circulated. Rubio dropped out of the race on the night of the March 15 Florida primary, dominated by Donald Trump.

However far-fetched, talk has grown of a nominee other than Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich. Rubio is retaining 172 delegates and has declined to join other Republicans in backing Cruz.

Lamb said Trump “is not worthy of being president by virtue of his poor character.” Cruz “seems to be too right wing extremist” and a “troublemaker.

It’s not crazy to think Rubio could re-surface, Lamb said. He reached out to Rubio’s camp about the petition and didn’t hear back, which Lamb took as “a silent nod and a wink.” The website makes clear Rubio has not endorsed the effort.

Lamb, 47, is a transportation consultant and bundled donations for Rubio’s presidential campaign. His website is sponsored by the Small Business in Transportation Coalition, of which Lamb is chairman.

The wesite includes a lengthy FAQ, including, “Is Marco really thinking about joining the Miami Dolphins staff?” The given answer: “We think this was just an April Fool’s joke.” Another section knocks down talk Rubio will seek to become a vice presidential running mate or 2018 candidate for governor.

The petition on the site reads:

“Whereas, mathematically, it appears virtually impossible that any Republican candidate will receive the requisite 1,237 delegates needed to secure the 2016 Republican party presidential nomination; and Whereas, we the members of the Republican party believe the Honorable Marco Rubio remains the best and most qualified candidate to defeat the Democratic nominee; Now, be it hereby resolved that we the members of the Republican party hereby request that any and all unbound delegates elect Marco Rubio as our nominee; and be it further resolved the party remove any and all barriers and suspend or eliminate any and all rules that interfere with such ability of said unbound delegates to vote for Marco Rubio as the nominee.”

If Lamb doesn’t succeed, he’s already thinking ahead: On Facebook, he started a group called Elect Marco Rubio President 2020.

- by Alex Leary, Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio says he would support Ted Cruz on second ballot at convention

Marco Rubio still isn’t endorsing Ted Cruz, but said he would support the Texan on a second ballot in the event of a contested convention.

"I hope that they'll nominate a conservative,” Rubio told Mark Levin, adding the only one who ”fits that criteria is Ted Cruz.”

Rubio has stopped short of endorsing Cruz, leading to speculation about his calculations on a future run for president.

The TV interview is behind a pay wall but Rubio also acknowledged he is open to running for office again.

“I enjoyed public service but there are other things I’d like to do with life,” he said.

Vowing to “finish strong” in the Senate, Rubio said he would “remain engaged in helping people who hold limited government conservative values to get elected, and if there’s an opportunity to serve in the future, I’m obviously open to that.”

- by Alex Leary, Tampa Bay Times