Sen. Rubio on Ted Cruz's campaign "There's no other way to describe that.  It's a lie. When you say something that's not true, it's called a lie.  That's the definition of it."
February 14th, 2016
11:46 AM ET

Sen. Rubio on Ted Cruz's campaign "There's no other way to describe that. It's a lie. When you say something that's not true, it's called a lie. That's the definition of it."

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), joined chief political correspondent, Dana Bash to discuss Ted Cruz, potential Supreme Court nominees and more.

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS Sen. Marco Rubio on State of the Union: Full Interview

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Rubio on calling Cruz a liar: "When he - he points to this interview on Univision in which he claims I said something different than what I say in English.  He has no idea.  He's just going off what other people are telling him.  And it's false.  It's just not true.   And the bottom line is, there's been this disturbing pattern over the last couple weeks from Ted Cruz of just saying things that are not true.  Just in the last week, he's lied about my marriage - record on marriage.  He's lied about my record on Planned Parenthood.  Of course, he lied about Ben Carson in Iowa.  But, last night, Donald Trump says he's issuing robo-calls, doing the same thing to him.  And then he also is not telling the truth about immigration.  I mean, he goes around portraying himself as this purist, you know, Ted Cruz, the purist on immigration. But I was there two, three years ago, when he was, you know, passionately arguing at the committee that we needed to pass immigration reform, we needed to do bring people out of the shadows, we needed to find a compromise on people that were in this country illegally.
And now he portrays himself as this sort of purist who's never changed his position on the issues.  It's just not true.  And I think this pattern of saying things that aren't true has become very disturbing when it comes to Ted Cruz's campaign.... Well, there's no other way to describe that.  It's a lie. When you say something that's not true, it's called a lie.  That's the definition of it.  Now, I don't know about every other aspect of his life.  I'm not attacking him there.  I'm just saying, on this campaign, he is saying things that are not true. And he's saying it repeatedly.  And he knows they're not true."

Rubio on reaching out to Chris Christie since he suspended his presidential campaign: "We have tried to get ahold of him.  I think he's taking a few days away from all the grind.  And I understand that.  I know we spoke to his staff.  So, we're trying to set up a time to talk.  I know he had some briefings the day after - or the same day he had made that decision, catching up on work.  But I want to be clear.  I have no animus towards Chris.  I like him very much.  I always have.  This is a political campaign.  It's a competitive environment.  And people are going to exchange.  And we gave as good as we got.  Like I said, last week in the debate, obviously, things didn't go the way we wanted it to, but, last night, they went very well.  And - but I have - I think Chris is not done with public service.  And my sense is, you're going to see him serving this country in different capacities now and in the future.  And we wish him the best."

Rubio on pre-vetted district court Judge Srinivasan as a potential Supreme Court Nominee: "Well, there's a different criteria, obviously.  It's a heightened level of scrutiny.  They will have to go through Judiciary.  I usually don't comment on nominees until they have gone through that process.  Appellate courts are important, but the Supreme Court is the ultimate appellate court.  So, there's a whole new level of scrutiny and hearings and testimony.  And so I would reserve judgment no matter who he nominates until that process has concluded itself.  But, again, irrespective of who the president nominates, the Senate is not moving forward on it.  Mitch McConnell's already made that very clear.  So, the next president will have a chance to appoint somebody.  And when I'm president of the United States, I'm going to look for someone like Justice Scalia.  They're hard to find.  But there's a lot of young jurists that have been inspired by his service and his writings.  And these are the sorts of people I would like to see on the Supreme Court."


FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  The sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia sent an already tense presidential race into overdrive.  And the political drama played out live on television last night.

Just moments before the start of a Republican debate, President Obama vowed to fill Justice Scalia's seat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time.  There will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH:  But, within minutes, the GOP candidates on the debate stage demanded that the Senate block any potential nominee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think it's up to Mitch McConnell and everybody else to stop it.  It's called delay, delay, delay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH:  A partisan showdown that will certainly play out on the campaign trail.

We are going to look at this from every angle this morning, but, first, two of the candidates on that debate stage are here.  We will get to Jeb Bush in a moment, but first Marco Rubio, who had a lot on the line, trying to bounce back from what even he admitted was a disastrous performance at the last debate.

Well, last night, he argued that the stakes have been raised.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It reminds us of this, how important this election is.  And someone on this stage will get to choose the balance of the Supreme Court.  And it will begin by filling this vacancy that's there now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH:  Joining me now is Senator Marco Rubio.

And, Senator, as soon as we learned of the passing of Justice Scalia, you released a statement saying that the next president, not President Obama, should pick Scalia's replacement.

Now, President Obama said yesterday that he plans to fulfill his constitutional responsibilities and nominate a successor in due time.  And as senator, don't you have a responsibility as well to consider that nominee?

RUBIO:  Well, I don't think the Senate's going to move on it.  And I agree with that decision.

The precedent's been set.  It's been over 80 years now since, in the last year of the last term of a sitting president, there isn't Supreme Court nominees, 80 years.  And there's a reason for that.

And the reason is that the next president should have a chance to fill that void, not someone who's never going to answer to the electorate again.  We're going to have an election this year.  And in the election, people are going to get to choose a candidate for president.

And part of that vote will be, what kind of nominee do you want, because we're going to be asked now who - what kind of person or what kind of justice would you put on the Supreme Court?  So, let the voters weigh in, in November, and then we will have an appointment.  The court can function with eight justices.  It does it all the time.

BASH:  Well, and we will get to that in a second.

But it does it all the time, but this is an extended period of time.  This is probably more than a year without a Supreme Court justice, with, you know, just eight justices.

RUBIO:  Yes, but the court doesn't meet all year.  Yes, no, the court doesn't meet all year.  As you know, they have a term.  And it ends this summer.

And so they have a few months ahead.  They will have eight justices sitting there for these rulings.  And they have done that before.  There are times when justices - Justice Kagan had to recuse herself early on in her tenure in the Supreme Court, because she had just served in the administration.

So, this is not an unusual situation.  The president can appoint whoever he wants, but Mitch McConnell's already made it clear we're not moving forward on any nominees in the Senate until after the election, and I agree with that.

BASH:  You talked about what kind of nominee you would be OK with.  One name that has been floated for the Supreme Court for President Obama to nominate is district circuit court Judge Sri Srinivasan.  And in 2013, the Senate confirmed him 97-0.  You were one of those 97.  You voted to confirm him.

So, if President Obama were to put forward his name, why not support him, since you have done it in the past?

RUBIO:  Well, there's a different criteria, obviously.  It's a heightened level of scrutiny.  They will have to go through Judiciary.  I usually don't comment on nominees until they have gone through that process.

Appellate courts are important, but the Supreme Court is the ultimate appellate court.  So, there's a whole new level of scrutiny and hearings and testimony.  And so I would reserve judgment no matter who he nominates until that process has concluded itself.

But, again, irrespective of who the president nominates, the Senate is not moving forward on it.  Mitch McConnell's already made that very clear.  So, the next president will have a chance to appoint somebody.  And when I'm president of the United States, I'm going to look for someone like Justice Scalia.  They're hard to find.

But there's a lot of young jurists that have been inspired by his service and his writings.  And these are the sorts of people I would like to see on the Supreme Court.

BASH:  Let's talk about the debate last night, because there were a lot of extraordinary moments.  But one specifically was when you turned to Senator Cruz and questioned his ability to speak Spanish.  Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUBIO:  I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.

And, second of all, the other point that I would make...

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  (SPEAKING SPANISH)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH:  Senator, were you calling into question whether or not Senator Cruz is a real Latino?

RUBIO:  No, I was calling into question whether he even knows what I'm saying.

When he - he points to this interview on Univision in which he claims I said something different than what I say in English.  He has no idea.  He's just going off what other people are telling him.  And it's false.  It's just not true.

And the bottom line is, there's been this disturbing pattern over the last couple weeks from Ted Cruz of just saying things that are not true.  Just in the last week, he's lied about my marriage - record on marriage.  He's lied about my record on Planned Parenthood.

Of course, he lied about Ben Carson in Iowa.  But, last night, Donald Trump says he's issuing robo-calls, doing the same thing to him.  And then he also is not telling the truth about immigration.  I mean, he goes around portraying himself as this purist, you know, Ted Cruz, the purist on immigration.

But I was there two, three years ago, when he was, you know, passionately arguing at the committee that we needed to pass immigration reform, we needed to do bring people out of the shadows, we needed to find a compromise on people that were in this country illegally.

And now he portrays himself as this sort of purist who's never changed his position on the issues.  It's just not true.  And I think this pattern of saying things that aren't true has become very disturbing when it comes to Ted Cruz's campaign.

BASH:  Senator, you used the word lie last night.  You just used it many times now.  That's a pretty tough charge.  And the rhetoric is really escalating.

RUBIO:  Well, there's no other way to describe that.  It's a lie.

When you say something that's not true, it's called a lie.  That's the definition of it.  Now, I don't know about every other aspect of his life.  I'm not attacking him there.  I'm just saying, on this campaign, he is saying things that are not true.

And he's saying it repeatedly.  And he knows they're not true.

BASH:  Let's drill down on one of the things that you just mentioned, which is gay marriage.  Ted Cruz is vowing to overturn the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision through a constitutional amendment.  He's criticizing you for wanting to leave that ruling in place.  Why isn't that a fair criticism?

RUBIO:  Because that's not what he's saying.  What he's saying is that I have called it settled law.

Those words have never come out of my mouth.  He's making it up.  It's a lie.

BASH:  So, what would you do?

RUBIO:  What I have said is, the Supreme Court decision, it's current - well, first of all, presidents can't overturn Supreme Court decisions.  And he knows that.

Only the Supreme Court - and I think that case will continue to be tested.  It's happening now.  The state of Tennessee is working through a case that I think will ultimately wind itself - find itself at the Supreme Court.

I disagree with the decision.  I have always said I think it's bad law.  I believe in the 10th Amendment.  I think states should regulate...

BASH:  But he supports a constitutional amendment.  That is one thing that you could push for.  That's not on the table for you?

RUBIO:  Well, no, that's not what the - his constitutional amendment is an amendment that recognizes that the states have the power to define marriage.

That's what the constitutional amendment he's - he's promoting.  And my argument is that already exists.

BASH:  OK, Senator, before I let you go, you had quite an exchange last week before the New Hampshire primary with Chris Christie.  He is now not in the race anymore.  After he dropped out or since then, have you called him?

RUBIO:  We have.

We have tried to get ahold of him.  I think he's taking a few days away from all the grind.  And I understand that.  I know we spoke to his staff.  So, we're trying to set up a time to talk.  I know he had some briefings the day after - or the same day he had made that decision, catching up on work.

But I want to be clear.  I have no animus towards Chris.  I like him very much.  I always have.  This is a political campaign.  It's a competitive environment.  And people are going to exchange.  And we gave as good as we got.  Like I said, last week in the debate, obviously, things didn't go the way we wanted it to, but, last night, they went very well.

And - but I have - I think Chris is not done with public service.  And my sense is, you're going to see him serving this country in different capacities now and in the future.  And we wish him the best.

BASH:  Senator, thank you so much for your time.  And have a good Valentine's Day.

RUBIO:  Thank you.

 

###END INTERVIEW###

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