Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told Politico that he thinks Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) should resign from Congress as he runs for president.
“Why shouldn’t he [resign]? He hates the Senate,” Reid told Politico today. “Why should the taxpayers of this country and people of Florida put up with having only one senator? Doesn’t seem fair to me.”
Reid had kind words for Rubio’s participation in the Gang of Eight immigration compromise a couple of years ago, but otherwise dismissed the first-term, 44-year-old senator as a “non-entity” in the Senate.
“For Marco Rubio here to dump on the Senate, this institution established by our founding fathers, he should be ashamed of himself,” Reid said. “And the people of Florida, why they put up with it, I don’t know. They damn sure aren’t getting their money’s worth.”
Reid insisted that then-Sen. Obama was different because “he was always proud of being in the Senate, always, when he was running for president; he told everybody how much he enjoyed the Senate.”
Rubio spokesman Alex Conant told Politico, “I must have forgotten Harry Reid similarly calling on Barack Obama to resign the Senate when he missed even more votes to run for president.”
“It’s obvious that Democrat leaders are very worried that Marco will beat Clinton next year,” Conant said.
Indeed, the Democratic National Committee sent out a fundraising email today asking supporters to sign a petition demanding that Rubio resign.
“Marco Rubio hates his job. He’ll tell you himself that he’s ‘frustrated’ by being a U.S. Senator. That must be why he’s missed more votes this year than any other senator, and why he so rarely shows up for committee hearings or intelligence briefings,” states the email. “For some utterly bizarre reason, Rubio thinks this qualifies him for a promotion…. Since Florida voters can’t fire Marco Rubio, he should resign — and let Floridians have a senator who will, at the very least, show up for work.”
The Sun-Sentinel editorial board called for Rubio to resign, but Politifact — run by the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald — rated Rubio’s debate rebuttal as true.
“Back in 2004, one of my predecessors to the Senate by the name of Bob Graham, a Democrat, ran for president missing over 30 percent of his votes. I don’t recall them calling for his resignation,” Rubio said when grilled by a CNBC moderator. “Later that year, in 2004, John Kerry ran for president missing close to 60 to 70 percent of his votes. I don’t recall the Sun — in fact, the Sun-Sentinel endorsed him. In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 or 70 percent of his votes, and the same newspaper endorsed him again. So this is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative movement.”
Politfact found that in 2008 Obama missed 64 percent of votes and in 2004 Kerry missed nearly 90 percent of votes.
Rubio has missed 34 percent of votes since the start of the year. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has missed 27 percent of votes and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has missed 24 percent.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has missed less than 5 percent of votes, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has missed 3.4 percent.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tried to pick up the absentee argument at the debate.
“I’m a constituent of the senator and I helped him and I expected that he would do constituent service, which means that he shows up to work. He got endorsed by the Sun-Sentinel because he was the most talented guy in the field. He’s a gifted politician,” Bush said.
“But Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate — what is it, like a French work week? You get, like, three days where you have to show up? You can campaign, or just resign and let someone else take the job. There are a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck in Florida as well, they’re looking for a senator that will fight for them each and every day,” the governor continued.
Rubio asked Bush if he knew “how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback that you’re now modeling after.”
“I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s vote record. The only reason why you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you,” Rubio fired at Bush.