Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) headed up to early primary state New Hampshire on Friday for the first time in two years, fundraising for Republicans there and heightening speculation that he’s gearing up for a presidential run.
Rubio told ABC that if he makes the leap for a White House run, he won’t have a fallback plan to stay in the Senate.
“I’ve openly said in the past that it’s something I will consider at the end of this year, that I’ll look at a number of factors, personal factors, but also whether I could best promote this message and actually put in place these ideas that I want to see put in place, whether I could best do that from the presidency as opposed to the Senate,” he said.
“If I decide to run for president, I will not have some sort of exit strategy to run — to run for the Senate. I believe that if you want to be president of the United States, you run for president. You don’t run for president with some eject button in the cockpit that — that — that allows you to go on an exit ramp if it doesn’t work out.”
When asked if he thinks he’s ready to be president, the senator said, “I do.”
“But I think that’s true for multiple other people that would want to run. I mean I’ll be 43 this month, but — but the other thing that perhaps people don’t realize, I’ve served now in public office for the better part of 14 years,” Rubio said. “And most importantly, I think a president has to have a clear vision of where the country needs to go and clear ideas about how to get it there. And — and I think we’re very blessed in our party to have a number of people that fit that criteria.”
“And the question is what — whose vision is the one that our party wants to follow?”
Rubio said he doesn’t “really pay a lot of attention” to polls that show his luster has faded with the right.
“If you decide to run for president, there’s going to be a campaign and in that campaign, you’re going to interact with voters and you’re going to explain to them where you stand and those numbers can change one way or the other,” he said.
Rubio was part of the Senate group of eight that arrived at an immigration compromise that hasn’t been taken up in the House. “We’re not going to grant blanket amnesty to 12 million people. We’re also not going to round up and deport 12 million people. So that issue has to be dealt with in a reasonable but responsible way,” he said.
On Hillary Clinton, he noted, “I’m sure she’s going to go around bragging about her time in the State Department. She’s also going to have to be held accountable for its failures, whether it’s the failed reset with Russia, or the failure in Benghazi that actually cost lives.”
“I don’t think she has a passing grade,” Rubio added. “…If you look at the diplomacy that was pursued in her time in the State Department, it has failed everywhere in the world. So here’s what I would say, if she is going to run on her record as secretary of State, she is also going to have to answer for its massive failures.”