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Marco Rubio, with poor Senate attendance record, says VA workers who don't do jobs 'should be fired'

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio's critics are ready to pounce every time the presidential candidate -- who has been edging up in the polls -- says something they can use to attack him.

He made it easy for them Tuesday.

Rubio returned to the Senate, taking time away from the campaign trail, to vote on legislation prohibiting so-called "sanctuary" cities. He also spoke on the Senate floor in favor of a bill to make it easier to fire Veterans Administration employees -- the kind of proposal that gets plenty of applause on the presidential campaign trail.

But it also gives his detractors ammunition to remind people that Rubio has a terrible Senate attendance record. How can he go after government workers failing to do their jobs, they argue, if he's not showing up for his?

Here's what Rubio said on the floor:

 

All we're saying in this bill is if you work at the VA and you aren't doing your job, they get to fire you. I think people are shocked that doesn't actually exist in the entire government, since there is really no other job in the country where if you don't do your job you don't get fired. But in this instance, we;re just limiting it to one agency. This should actually be the rule in the entire government: If you're not doing your job, you should be fired.

Rubio has noted repeatedly that he's not on vacation or "playing golf" as he campaigns for president; he's trying to get a job that will make a bigger difference than he can make as a senator. He also says he's kept up constituent work and been present for the votes that matter most.

That hasn't stopped opponents like Jeb Bush from suggesting senators who don't show up to vote should have their pay docked. (We calculated how much Rubio would have lost this year here.)

Then again, Bush's oldest son, Texas Agriculture Commissioner George P. Bush, has missed quite a few days at the office as he campaigns for his dad. 

UPDATE: The "super" political action committee backing Bush, Right to Rise USA, had this to say on Twitter about Rubio:

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