March 6th, 2016
12:07 PM ET

Rubio: "I can tell you this, we will win the state of Florida.”

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), GOP presidential candidate, joined CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, to discuss Donald Trump, the 2016 presidential race, and much 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; 202.465.6666; Zachary Lilly – Zachary.Lilly@turner.com; Brooke Lorenz- Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com

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

 

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Rubio on Trump skipping CPAC: “If you had told me a year ago that the frontrunner at this stage in the Republican campaign would be a supporter of Planned Parenthood, who says he doesn't stand with Israel, who says that, who has a long record of supporting government-sponsored healthcare, I would say on what planet would that be the Republican frontrunner?”

 

Rubio on Supreme Court nominations: [BASH]: “Do you think President Obama should appoint a Justice to SCOTUS, the Supreme Court, prior to the end of his term? Why or why not?”

[RUBIO]: “No. Absolutely not. And the reason why is- first of all, I agree with Joe Biden in 1992 when he said we should not be electing Supreme Court- or nominating Supreme Court Justices in an election year.”

[BASH]: “So do you think that all candidates now, Republican and Democrat, should pledge not to nominate a Supreme Court Justice in the last year of their term?”

[RUBIO]: “Sure, I would do that now, and that by the way has been the practice for over 8o years in this country. The only time they want to bend the rules or change the rules is when there's a Democrat in office, so they're all ignoring what Joe Biden said in 1992, but it goes back to the point I made. This is a lifetime appointment. Unless this person that gets appointed murders someone it's going to be very difficult to remove them from the court.”

 

Rubio on campaign rhetoric: “Donald Trump he may have grown up the way he did with a lot of money and going to boarding schools, I can tell you this- where I grew up if someone keeps punching people in the face eventually someone's gonna have to stand up and punch them back.”

 

Rubio on Florida and Jeb Bush: [RUBIO]: “Well I have never based my campaign on one state but I can tell you this, we will win the state of Florida.”

[BASH]: “Would you like to have his endorsement?”

[RUBIO]: “I would like to have as many endorsements as I can get because I want to unify the party but I'm not going to discuss private conversations, suffices to say no matter what happens in a campaign I said throughout the campaign repeatedly that I had tremendous admiration for Jeb Bush, that I believed he was the greatest governor in Florida history…And that I – I will always have tremendous affection and respect for him despite that fact that because of a weird quirk of fate we ended up running for the same office at the same time. I did not run for president to stop Jeb Bush, I ran for president because I believe that America's greatest days lie ahead if we do what needs to be done right now in 2016.”

 

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: DANA: Donald Trump was supposed to be here this morning. He backed out. He instead was in Kansas. (boos) I sense that the crowd has an opinion on that- do you?

 

SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yeah this is the American Conservative Union, and so I mean, it's usually reserved for conservatives. (applause) No, but this matters. Look, either the ideas behind conservatism matter or they do not. And if they do not then it's fine, but I believe they do. It is not enough to say vote for me because I'm angrier I'm over the top, and I'm gonna do and say things that no one else is going to do. I get that anger and frustration, I really do, but let me tell you something- I've said this before, it is not a coincidence that there are people, a plethora of young conservative leaders in this country in their forties and fifties, myself, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Suzanna Martinez, Nikki Haley, Paul Ryan- why? Why? Why are there so many young conservatives now serving our country? I'll tell you why-  Because we grew up in the era of Reagan. And Ronald Reagan looked and acted nothing like Donald Trump.

 

BASH: You're stepping up your rhetoric big time against Donald Trump on the question of whether or not he is a true conservative, you started doing that at CNN's debate last week. You're calling him a con artist and a fraud. If you believe those things why did you wait until February of 2016 to say so?

 

RUBIO: Well a couple of reasons why, number one is because for much of this campaign I've been fighting off other people attacking me and so that takes a little bit of time too, and the other thing is, I didn't get into this to beat up on the other candidates, I really didn't.  I had hoped the voters- If you had told me a year ago that the frontrunner at this stage in the Republican campaign would be a supporter of Planned Parenthood, who says he doesn't stand with Israel, who says that, who has a long record of supporting government-sponsored healthcare, I would say on what planet would that be the Republican frontrunner? But it's happened, and I think we have to ask ourselves why have we allowed that to happen. So, I don't think any of us anticipated it.

 

BASH: I want to put my mom hat on for a second because you're the proud father of four, I'm the mother of a four year old son, and I'm having trouble letting him watch the news because things have gotten so vulgar and so over the top that I don't want him to think that it's okay to act like that, and I'm not alone, I know a lot of people have said that. How do you feel as a father and presidential candidate about how low things have gone?

 

RUBIO: Well I mean, No, but I'll tell you, this is related to the real question and I'm glad you asked it. My kids were with me on the campaign trail a lot from New Hampshire to Iowa to South Carolina. Every day when I woke up I was glad they were there not just because they were my kids, but because I looked at them and it reminded me this is what it's about. And yes, I think it is, one of the things you asked me, I don't want us to have a president that we constantly have to be explaining to our kids, look, I know that's what the president did but you shouldn't do that. I don't want that. We actually had a president like that not long ago, it was really bad.

 

BASH: Just to follow up, but the rhetoric has been, I understand that you're saying that you are trying to answer him with some of the things you are saying, but I can't explain it to my kid when you're talking about hands and things like that.

 

RUBIO: Donald Trump he may have grown up the way he did with a lot of money and going to boarding schools, I can tell you this- where I grew up if someone keeps punching people in the face eventually someone's gonna have to stand up and punch them back. (applause)

 

BASH: I want to ask you another question from Twitter. This is on the Supreme Court from Sarah Lee Ann: Do you think President Obama should appoint a Justice to SCOTUS, the Supreme Court, prior to the end of his term? Why or why not?

 

RUBIO: No. Absolutely not. And the reason why is- first of all, I agree with Joe Biden in 1992 when he said we should not be electing Supreme Court- or nominating Supreme Court Justices in an election year.

 

BASH: So do you think that all candidates now, Republican and Democrat, should pledge not to nominate a Supreme Court Justice in the last year of their term?

 

RUBIO: Sure, I would do that now, and that by the way has been the practice for over 8o years in this country. The only time they want to bend the rules or change the rules is when there's a Democrat in office, so they're all ignoring what Joe Biden said in 1992, but it goes back to the point I made. This is a lifetime appointment. Unless this person that gets appointed murders someone it's going to be very difficult to remove them from the court.

 

BASH: I have another question, it is about something Donald Trump said but it's on an important issue which is torture. You-you were standing next to him in the debate and you heard what he said on torture and then he reversed himself saying 'that he understands that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws'. What-what do you think of that and what do you think is the most important position of a president on the issue of torture?

 

RUBIO: Well, I think the most important issue-the most important issue, the most important job of a president is to be commander in chief. A commander in chief will never ask the armed forces of the United States to do something that would violate the rules of war or quite frankly the internal practices of our military. But I want to be clear about interrogation. Okay, we have to understand that this is not about torture-no one here is asking for torture, but you cannot use the same interrogation techniques on a terrorist that you do on a criminal, here's why; a criminal, when you are interrogating a criminal what you are trying to do is gather evidence for a trial so you can convict them. When you are interrogating a terrorist what you are trying to gather is information to prevent a future terrorist attack. It's not about evidence for trial.

 

BASH: In a week and a half, as you well know is the Florida primary. A crucial test for your campaign. Governor John Kasich said that if he doesn't win his home state of Ohio he'll drop out. What, what would you do if you don't win in Florida?

 

RUBIO: Well I have never based my campaign on one state but I can tell you this, we will win the state of Florida. We will beat Donald Trump there the way we beat Charlie Crist. I have experience-I have experience at beating people who say who they are- who don't say who they truly are. I have experience beating people who portray themselves to be one thing but are actually something else and you're going to find that out on March 15th in Florida.

 

BASH: One person who is not going to be on the ballot is Jeb Bush (RUBIO: Mhhmm) I know that the two of you have spoken. Have you asked him for his endorsement?

 

RUBIO: Yeah, I don't discuss private conversations with anyone.

 

BASH: Would you like to have his endorsement?

 

RUBIO: I I I, I would like to have as many endorsements as I can get because I want to unify the party but I'm not going to discuss private conversations, suffices to say no matter what happens in a campaign I said throughout the campaign repeatedly that I had tremendous admiration for Jeb Bush, that I believed he was the greatest governor in Florida history, although Rick Scott is a very good governor too. And that I – I will always have tremendous affection and respect for him despite that fact that because of a weird quirk of fate we ended up running for the same office at the same time. I did not run for president to stop Jeb Bush, I ran for president because I believe that America's greatest days lie ahead if we do what needs to be done right now in 2016.

 

BASH: Just one final question: just on a personal level, what has been the most surprising part of this campaign. I mean, it is grueling, obviously you're sitting here with-with the flu right? So how have you-how have you embraced this in a way that maybe you didn't think you would?

 

RUBIO: Well, there's a lot of surprising parts about this campaign and I told you one of them: I never could have imagined that the front runner in the republican nomination would be someone that refuses to stand with Israel, defends Planned Parenthood, you know – all these other positions that Donald Trump has taken. But that aside, here's the great part about it. I knew this already, but this campaign reminded me of this: America is not a government. America is a nation of people. America is the country where this very morning people got up and went to work or opened their business or volunteered in the community. They're going out about their lives and doing great things irrespective of who the president is going to be or not. Our government is messed up but the American people are as great as they've ever been. What they need now are leaders that give them a chance. And-and this campaign has confirmed that.

 

BASH: Senator, thank you.

 

###END INTERVIEW###

 

 

 

 

Zachary Lilly

Public Relations Coordinator | CNN | Washington, DC

Zachary.Lilly@turner.com | O: (202) 515-2977

 


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