Florida Sen. Marco Rubio defended his personal finances at the Republican debate Wednesday night, after a question asking him about foreclosing on a second home and liquidating a retirement fund last year.
The CNBC moderator asked Rubio if his “lack of bookkeeping skills” should call to question if he has the “maturity and wisdom to lead a $17 trillion economy.”
“I didn’t inherit any money,” the Florida Senator replied. “My dad was a bartender, my mother was a maid, they worked hard to provide us the chance at a better life. They didn’t save any money for us to go to school, I had to work my way through school, I had to borrow money through school.”
“I know what its like to owe that money, and we’ve worked hard to provide a better life for our family,” he added. “We own a home four blocks from the place I grew up in. My four children have been able to receive a good Christian education. I’ve been able to save for them to go to college so they never have to have the loans that I did.”
When pressed on the fact that he lost about $24,000 liquidating his retirement fund last year, after he had made a substantial amount of money on his book deal, Rubio continued, “We’re raising a family in the 21st century, and its one of the reasons that my tax plan is a pro-family tax plan … I didn’t read about this in a book, I know for a fact how difficult it is to raise children, how expensive it is for these families.”
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Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.Rogers@time.com