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Marco Rubio follows presidential launch with media blitz


Marco Rubio, the latest 2016 Republican presidential contender, generally avoided reporters in the weeks leading up to his campaign inauguration Monday. But he's been all over the national press since then, trying to make the most of his moment in the spotlight.

Rubio sat down with Fox News' Sean Hannity at the Freedom Tower for a full hour Monday immediately following his announcement. There were also interviews with NPR, ABC News, The Today Show, Morning Joe, CNN...

We've linked to transcripts above and embedded videos below.

ABC News

HIGHLIGHTS: According to the transcript, Rubio said he would reopen Guántanamo, should President Obama manage to close it. He also said he would "put Cuba back on to the terrorism list where they belong," referring to Cuba. The interview took place Monday, a day before President Obama formally informed Congress he plans to remove Cuba from the list. All signs pointed to that happening, however, and Rubio has been a leading critic of the president's new Cuba policy.

EXTRA HIGHLIGHT: Rubio's wife, Jeanette, took part in the interview. She said Rubio's four kids, all under age 16, were excited to hear they could have pizza and ice cream at the White House. But Dad would still have to pay for it, he noted.

ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos 

ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos 



HIGHLIGHTS: Rubio said he supports government assistance programs, to a certain extent: "I believe in the safety net, not as a lifestyle." He said he has no "Plan B to pivot back to the Senate race" if his presidential campaign doesn't work out. And he said that while his preference would be for Congress to legalize many of the country's unauthorized immigrants with a path toward residency or citizenship, he might be able to support a work permit for life if that's the only way to get a law passed.

Rubio said the U.S. shouldn't agree to any nuclear deal with Iran unless Iran agrees to recognize Israel's right to exist.



HIGHLIGHTS: Rubio confirmed that he is not running for Senate reelection. He said if Obama strikes a deal as the one that has been outlined with European allies on Iran's nuclear program, Rubio as president would repeal it and restore U.S. sanctions against Iran -- even if Europe is not on board. He gave a lengthy explanation about religious freedom laws and how they might apply to, for example, services for same-sex weddings. And, on immigration, he went after his potential Democratic rival: "I've done more immigration than Hillary Clinton."

Rubio on Morning Edition

The Today Show

HIGHLIGHTS: Rubio says he didn't make up his mind to run until "three or four weeks ago." He also continued to call likely GOP rival and onetime mentor Jeb Bush a "friend." "We'll remain friends throughout this process," he said. But: "We need to move in a new direction as a country."

Morning Joe

HIGHLIGHTS: Rubio said as president he wouldn't immediately reverse President Obama's executive order allowing young adults brought into the country illegally as children to remain in the country. "I wouldn't say that we would immediately reverse that one," he said, calling an abrupt reversal too "disruptive." He added, using the order's acronym, "At some point, DACA is going to have to end."

EXTRA HIGHLIGHT: Rubio, a well-known hip-hop fan (who, however, did not play the genre at Monday's announcement), said he's a fan of Nicki Minaj -- and noted "friend" Pitbull was in China during Rubio's campaign launch.




HIGHLIGHT: Rubio said gender and ethnicity shouldn't determine voters' presidential choice: "I would never assume that every Hispanic in America has to vote for me because I'm Hispanic, because my last name is Rubio. I have to earn their support."

Host Jake Tapper also put him on the spot by asking about whether Rubio's generational message is out of step with his opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage: "On that issue, same-sex marriage, senator, you're the candidate of yesterday," Tapper said.

Rubio said he's the candidate of the future not because of specific issues but because of his mindset about government and the economy.

"I would say that when I talk about the future, what I'm really pointing to is not those issues necessarily, but the fact that we are living through a massive transition out into a post-industrial era, where millions of people are being left behind because America is no longer globally competitive as it once was and because they do not have the skills required to succeed in the 21st century," he said. "And we have political leaders in this town and across the country, they're still wedded to an outdated 20th century higher education model that no longer works."


HIGHLIGHT It's low-key and outside the airport, with Rubio's backpack slung over his shoulder. Also, more Nicki Minaj.


The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart

HIGHLIGHT Not mentioned, but one of the host's brothers, Miami Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, is supporting Bush.


CNN en Español

HIGHLIGHTS: Rubio said as president he wouldn't meet with Cuban leader Raúl Castro -- unlike Obama, who sat down with Castro at the recent Summit of the Americas in Panama. He also reiterated that he would undo Obama's most recent executive action on immigration, known as DAPA, but in the short term keep Obama's earlier action, known as DACA, pending legislative reform. 

And Rubio insisted he has no long-term political plans if his presidential candidacy fails -- such as running for Florida governor in 2018.

"I don't have any type of secret plan to aspire to another position," he said.