Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio sat for an excellent interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday, in which the Senator hammered Hillary Clinton on her abortion extremism, pushed back against Clinton’s outrageous rhetoric comparing the GOP presidential candidates to terrorists, and described Clinton as a failed candidate frantically trying to draw attention to herself and distract from the investigation of her conduct as Secretary of State.
Rubio is clearly well-versed on current events and what people are saying about them. Even when he disagrees with some element of the current conversation (as he does with the drive to end birthright citizenship for illegal aliens’ children, a topic addressed late in the interview) he gives the impression that he understands what the other side is saying. That seems like a valuable skill in a large, hotly-contested primary, in which grassroots disappointment with the Republican establishment is such a major factor.
Hewitt began by asking Rubio about Hillary Clinton’s toxic comparison of himself, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich to ISIS. “Yeah, it’s par for the course for her,” Rubio sighed. “Look, she’s a failing candidate, has no credibility, being exposed for being deceitful on the whole issue of her server, compromised the national security of the United States. And quite frankly, she’s been chasing Bernie Sanders and others in her party to the extreme left. So obviously, she’s going to go around saying outrageous things, and I expect more of it in the months to come.”
He countered with a theme about optimism and renewal he would return to several times during the interview: “We’re going to continue to focus on the future of this country, which is what these elections need to be about, on the fact that we have a chance to build a 21st Century that will be greater than even the 20th Century was, if we do the things we need to be doing. And obviously, that does not include following the policies that she wants, which are a continuation and an expansion of the Obama agenda.”
Rubio struck back hard against Clinton’s abortion extremism, looping in the undercover expose videos of Planned Parenthood created by the Center for Medical Progress and denouncing the activity on those videos as not only reprehensible but “probably illegal activity”:
The Democrats are threatening to shut down the government in order to fund one organization, which has now been exposed across a series of videos of being involved in what’s probably illegal activity, selling and trafficking fetal tissue.
But it goes beyond that. They hold extremist views. I mean, Hillary Clinton voted against the partial birth abortion ban, which an overwhelming majority of Americans support, and she voted against it. She believes that children should be aborted even after 20 weeks of the pregnancy, when it’s clearly a formed human being, obviously still in development stages, but at 24 weeks, survivable outside the womb. She doesn’t believe that the parents of minors should be notified when their daughter is going to have a procedure of the magnitude that is an abortion.
These are extremist views. They’re outside the mainstream of the majority of our country. And the press covers up for them, but that’s their extremist views, the one that she holds. She supports taxpayer funding of abortion, using American taxpayer money to fund abortions overseas. We look forward to exposing her extremism.
Rubio also drew upon his experience on the Senate Intelligence Committee to shred Clinton’s latest round of excuses for her email scandal, noting that the kind of information discovered on her private server by investigators is never sent by unsecured email.
Clinton’s carefully-parsed evasions – another of Hewitt’s Thursday guests, author Mark Steyn, noted that Clinton appears to be reading her lines off cue cards to make sure she gets every lawyer- and spin doctor-approved word exactly right – involve claiming that she’s “confident that this process will prove that I never sent nor received any email that was marked classified.”
Rubio took this apart word by word, noting that Clinton is essentially setting herself up as an innocent victim of her aides, dodging her responsibility to protect classified material as Secretary of State, and using her own incompetence as a defense against legal jeopardy:
First of all, I’m on the Intelligence Committee, so I know exactly what this means. And I receive intelligence information every day when I’m in Washington, for example. We never receive it by email.
And what happened in her case, it doesn’t matter if someone decided to erase or take off the classification because it was more convenient to send it by email. She exposed classified information to foreign intelligence agencies. Whether it was marked classified or not, she either knew or should have known. And if she didn’t know it was classified, it’s impossible to read that information and not know it, because it has all kinds of other markings as well. It’s clear.
And to be able, to use a private server to traffic in that information knowing how these foreign intelligence agencies constantly are trying to break into these systems, it’s just the height of irresponsibility. And quite frankly, because it was done deliberately, someone had to erase the classification. It was criminal, and there needs to be a full investigation.
But it already tells us something about Hillary Clinton. She’s willing to use deceitful and deceptive language to cover up her tracks, and she’s incompetent. She’s unable to protect sensitive information as Secretary of State. Imagine what that would mean as president.
As a longtime student of the bizarre Incompetence Defense strategy pioneered by President Obama and his various officials – we don’t know what we’re doing, so you can’t hold us accountable! – it’s music to my ears to hear Rubio zeroing in on this aspect of the Clinton defense. How can anyone who takes her evasions seriously possibly think she’s qualified to hold high office? She’s trying to stay one step ahead of the FBI by claiming she has appalling judgment and doesn’t pay attention to important details, even when national security is on the line. It might keep her out of a courtroom… but it should definitely keep her out of the Oval Office.
Rubio took some tough stances in this interview, and fought smart as well as hard. He’s got some ground to make up with the grassroots after the Gang of Eight immigration debacle, and there are people who say they’ll never vote for him… just like every other candidate in the race at this point, including, somewhat unusually, the Democrats. (You just don’t hear as much “I’ll never vote for So-and-So” talk from that side of the aisle as you do about Hillary Clinton in this election cycle. Of course, it remains to be seen how serious the I’ll Never Vote For Hillary caucus is.)
The less fiercely determined Rubio critics should give him some points for being as sharp as he was in this interview with Hewitt. There’s a lot of noise filling the air, in these early weeks of a very strange primary. Rubio found some strong signals in that noise.