Rubio’s Choice: ‘Have Some Time’

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, will have a question to face in 2016.

He will be up for reelection then in a state that makes no allowance for dual ambitions — one must resign to run for another office. In this case, the White House.

“We have some time to make that decision,” Rubio said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Peter Cook airing this afternoon. “It’s one I’ll make at some point early next year.”

And what bearing will the decision of the senior Republican from Florida, former Gov. Jeb Bush, have on that consideration?

“Well, I have a lot of respect for and deep admiration for Jeb and we’re personal friends, but I think he would give you the exact same answer,” Rubio told Cook.

“My decision’s going to be based on me,  and what I think I need to be doing at that stage of my life,” said the senator, who is 42. “It’s not going to be predicated on what he decides or  anyone else decides.  And I would imagine the same is true for him.”

Bush, 61, has told associates he will make his own decision toward the end of the year — and those who know him best doubt he will seek the office his older brother and father held. He has spoken of taking into account the “joy” of any run.

Marco Antonio Rubio, who took a lot of heat from within his party for advocating immigration reform, says he has no regrets about that. Something must be done about the 12 million undocumented people living in the U.S.  — “We’re not going to round up and deport 12 million people,” he said.

“My only regret on immigration reform is we couldn’t arrive at a solution that brought on board more people so that we could actually get it done,” he said. “I think it’s going to be very difficult now to do anything comprehensive in Washington.  People don’t like to hear this but it’s true — given the lack of trust in this president, particularly Republicans have.”

And about passing over that issue during the recent speech he gave to the Conservative Political Action Conference, he said he was simply interested in focusing on some new ideas. On point, his view about the need for American involvement in global affairs, confronting totalitarianism — not by military means — with the exercise of democratic principles.

“I think what we’re trying to adjust to is the 21st Century,” he told Cook. “There’s this notion out there that our economic problems are directly linked to the downturn in the 2007 economy and the ramifications of that thereafter, and that’s certainly a part of it. ”

“But my argument is that what we’re facing here is much deeper than that.  It has to do with systemic changes in the very nature of our economy.  It’s a global economy.  Automation is real.  And the result is that people have founds jobs that they once relied on to get to the middle class. Those jobs have been outsourced or those jobs have been turned into machines.”

“My argument is that the 21st Century isn’t just about challenges, it’s also about opportunity.  This new post-industrial economy creates very real opportunities.  The problem we face is that we’re facing the full brunt of the challenges, but we’re not capitalizing on enough of those opportunities.”

Asked if all this sounds like preparation for a 2016 national campaign, Rubio said:

“You know, it’s an interesting question.  That’s also what happened to do when I was in the Florida legislature; I actually had a book with 100 ideas, so I’m well behind with regards to that.  I would also say what else am I supposed to do?  Even if I wasn’t being speculated about, isn’t that the job of a senator, particularly in the minority, to be offering not just opposition to the governing agenda but an alternative to it?”

“I think the choice for me is going to come down, first and foremost, do my personal conditions,  my family and otherwise, prepare me or position me not just to campaign but actually do the job,” he said. “The other consideration that I’ll have is can I, from that role, do a better job of advancing the things I believe our country needs to be doing versus the role I have now or some other role.”



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