On Tuesday, CNN media reporter Dylan Byers said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s choice to skip not one, but two critical Senate votes funding Planned Parenthood is a “sticking point” with conservatives fed up with pretty talk but no action, crediting Breitbart News for highlighting his poor attendance record.
“Just yesterday, Rubio told CNBC he would be there for votes with major national significanace of one that would make a difference. You heard that echoed in that interview with Matt Lauer. What do you make of the fact he’s missing a vote on defense spending? Is that a contradiction?” asked the CNN host.
“Rubio’s defense has been: One, I’m busy running for president, and two, there’s more to being a senator than casting every vote. I would say for many conservatives… the bigger issue is missing out on the Planned Parenthood votes,” Byers said.
Rubio left himself vulnerable to attack by talking a good game against abortion to earnest pro-life audiences, then casually skipping critical votes to fund Planned Parenthood and the government—avoiding putting himself on record when it mattered.
“If you look at the media coverage of that, no one has gone harder after Rubio on that than, say, Breitbart News and some of those other right-wing news outlets. That’s clearly a sticking point for conservatives and also something that Jeb Bush can use to hit Rubio and has,” Byers said.
It’s somewhat unclear why Rubio chose to skip important votes after giving impassioned pro-life speeches. His campaign has declined to comment, while Rubio himself claims he’s a victim of the system that holds “show votes” and only by giving Republicans control of Congress and the presidency can conservatives hope to stop sending taxpayer dollars to baby butchers and organ traffickers Planned Parenthood. By reframing the issue, he blamed Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his incompetence—while begging voters to elect more Republicans just like him. Rubio has the worst attendance record of all senators running for president, missing over 80 votes in 2015 alone. On Tuesday, he skipped yet another vote, this one on defense spending.
Rubio wooed grassroots voters at the Value Voter Summit in September, telling them: “By the year 2020, I hope we will be able to say that abortions after 20 weeks are illegal, that no taxpayer money is used to fund abortions here or abroad, and that Planned Parenthood doesn’t receive a penny from the federal government.” Yet when the Senate voted to end debate on funding Planned Parenthood, Rubio was nowhere to be found. Rubio then skipped another critical funding vote pushed by McConnell and his Democratic allies in the Senate, while 20 fellow Republicans like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz voted against the abortion mill.
Nonetheless, Rubio is the only GOP establishment darling “who can claim any sort of momentum,” according to the left-leaning Public Policy Polling. He’s risen from seven percent in August to 13 percent at the outset of October. Yet he lags 14 percentage points behind current frontrunner Donald Trump’s overwhelming lead of 27 percent. Trump earlier mocked Rubio as “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator” for pushing massively increased levels of already exploding immigration, especially from the Third World.
The real estate billionaire attacked Rubio for skipping scores of Senate votes. Rubio’s abysmal voting record “means he’s either a not hard worker or he’s maybe even something worse than that,” Trump told Breitbart XM radio in an exclusive radio interview. “But what you’re supposed to do if you’re elected, you’re supposed to be voting. There’s no excuses for that.”
Rubio currently polls in third place nationwide.
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