Florida Senator Marco Rubio offered his first response Friday to the leak of a 112-page Jeb Bush campaign document, which called Rubio a “risky bet” and laid out a strategy for hobbling his rising campaign .
“It’s part of a strategic decision they have made and they have a right to make it,” Rubio said of the document, after giving a speech at Northwestern College. “I just don’t think it is a smart thing for Republicans to do Hillary Clinton’s job for her.”
In the document, Bush campaign manager Danny Diaz suggests that Rubio’s strategy of framing the election as a choice between “tomorrow vs. yesterday” would be “widely ridiculed by the media” in a general election, since likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will be running to become the first woman president.
In response, Rubio doubled down on his view of the race. “I just think the Democrats and the political left in America have run out of ideas. Their ideas were never any good but they are really outdated now,” he said. “I look forward to—God willing—being the nominee and being able to make that argument because it’s time to turn the page.”
Rubio maintained that he is not running a negative campaign against his Republican rivals. “I can’t control other peoples campaigns,” he said. “I can control mine. Mine is going to continue to be about the future of America.”
But Rubio has also suggested that Republicans should turn the page in their own nominating contest—a shot at Jeb Bush, who is the son and brother of recent presidents. In his speech Friday night, Rubio warned the party that it needed to find fresh faces in order to win in 2016.
“We won’t be able to do it if all we do is elect the same people, the next people in line, with the same ideas,” Rubio said. “We need people with a sense of energy and urgency.” That phrase echoed Donald Trump’s attack on Bush for being “low-energy.”
The leaked Bush campaign document, which was published by U.S. News, also criticized Rubio for lacking executive experience and compared him to President Obama when he ran for president in 2008. “Barack Obama has seven years of presidential experience. He is worse today than he was when he started. So I don’t think he has failed because of a lack of experience,” Rubio said, in response. “He has failed because his ideas don’t work. Our ideas do work.”
Rubio also responded to the news that hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, a major Republican donor, had decided to support Rubio’s campaign. “It’s someone who is successful in raising money,” Rubio said. “When people donate to us they are buying into our agenda.”
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