While Senator Marco Rubio (R, FL) is not yet completely sure if he is running for the White House in 2016, he told the Associated Press that there is one thing he is sure of: if he runs he could win.
On Wednesday Rubio told the Associated Press that not only cold he win, but a challenge from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush would not be an obstacle.
With his boldest statement yet about his presidential prospects, Rubio said, “I believe that if I decide to run for president, we have a path to be a very competitive candidate, and ultimately to win.”
“I can’t guarantee a victory. Certainly these races will be very competitive, and there’s factors outside of our control that will determine a lot of it,” Rubio said. “But if we made the decision to run for president, I believe that we can put together the organization and raise the money necessary to win.”
Florida’s junior Senator also noted that there are a lot of strong candidates he’ll have to face down, including former Governor Bush. But he feels he is up to the challenge.
Rubio did promise, though, that if he did decide to run for president he wouldn’t run for re-election to the Senate at the same time.
The Senator said that running for president is too important to have the distraction of running for anything else at the same time. “You need to be focused,” he said.
This in contrast–and maybe in answer–to the fact that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is famously looking for a way to run for both his Kentucky Senate seat as well as the White House in 2016.
Rubio also addressed one of his major early missteps after entering the upper chamber. The Senator took major criticism with his decision to join those Senators looking for “comprehensive immigration reform,” a phrase that many feel is just an excuse for amnesty.
In 2013 Rubio was stung by charges that he abandoned conservatism and embraced amnesty when he joined the reform faction in the Senate. The Senator was still smarting from the charge in August of 2013 when he appeared at an Orlando conference put on by Americans For Prosperity. As he was introduced to the podium that weekend he was booed by some participants over his stance on immigration reform.
Still, despite that criticism, Rubio told the AP that immigration reform is still an important goal for him. He said that he feels the system is “broken” and he’s more interested in fixing it than he is in the political optics of the matter.
“I ran for office to identify problems and try to solve them,” he told the AP. “Now, we tried to solve them last year through a comprehensive bill. And it’s clear that that approach won’t work.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com