In South Carolina, Sen. Marco Rubio reacted to the visit of former president George W. Bush to the state to campaign for his brother Jeb Bush for president.
“It’s his brother, you know, so I understand that, of course he’s going to support his brother,” Rubio said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News. “Doesn’t change my feelings for him or my gratitude for keeping America safe in the years he was president.”
In 2000, Rubio worked to elect George W. Bush, particularly in Florida, the state that the former president barely won to beat Al Gore.
Rubio defended George W. Bush during the CBS debate on Saturday, after Donald Trump attacked the former president for failing to prevent 9/11.
“I just want to say, at least on behalf of me and my family, I thank God all the time it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore,” he said.
The former president has returned to the campaign trail to campaign for Rubio’s rival Jeb Bush, after nearly a decade of absence from the campaign trail.
Rubio, however, signaled confidence in the campaign he built in South Carolina, although he admitted that there were still people in the state loyal to the Bush family. Supporters of Jeb Bush are boasting that South Carolina is “Bush Country” after they helped W. win the state against John McCain during the 2000 presidential primary.
“He certainly has people here that helped get his brother get elected,” Rubio said referring to the former president. “I imagine that there’s some loyalty to the family and I think we’re all grateful to his brother.”
While Lindsey Graham, the senior Senator of South Carolina has backed Bush, other South Carolina members of Congress are supporting Rubio. Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the Benghazi commission has been traveling the state with Rubio as well as Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. Both politicians have been introducing Rubio at his campaign events.
“From our perspective, we feel very good about our team and our ground game here and the support we’re getting,” Rubio said. “We’re going to continue to focus on our campaign, we think it’s going to lead to success.”
Since the CBS debate, he pointed out, the positive momentum had returned to his campaign, while his crowds had doubled in size. His allies have comfortably predicted a third place finish in the state.
“Third is not bad here, particularly coming out of New Hampshire where his obituary was being written,” said Gowdy in an interview with The State, a South Carolina newspaper.
The latest Public Policy Polling survey shows Trump leading 35 percent support, while Ted Cruz and Marco are tied for second with 18 percent apiece. Bush is in fifth place, tied with Ben Carson with 7 percent of the vote.
During his interview with Breitbart News, Rubio said that he wasn’t about to underestimate the Bush team.
“Obviously, I don’t underestimate them, they’ve got historic ties to the state, but we’ll see how it all plays out,” he said, referring to the upcoming primary. “We’ll see on Saturday.”