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Rubio Accuses Sun-Sentinel Of Bias, Spars With Jeb Over Voting Record

Republican presidential candidate Florida Senator Marco Rubio defended his voting record while accusing the South Florida Sun Sentinel of bias and sparring with fellow candidate former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at Wednesday’s Republican part two presidential debate on CNBC.

Rubio, in response to a question over whether he should “slow down” given the fact that he’s missed votes and has disavowed the Gang of Eight bill, said, “That’s exactly what the Republican establishment says, too, why don’t you wait in line? Wait for what? This country’s running out of time.”

Rubio was then asked, “So, when the Sun-Sentinel says ‘Rubio should resign, not rip us off,’ when they say, ‘Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job,’ when they say you act like you hate your job, do you?”

He responded, “I read that editorial today with a great amusement. It’s actually evidence of the bias that exists in the American media today.” After being asked again if he hates his job, Rubio continued, “Back in 2004, one of my predecessors to the Senate, by the name of Bob Graham, a Democrat ran for president, missing over 30% of his votes. I don’t recall them calling for his resignation. Later that year, in 2004, John Kerry ran for president, missing close to 60 to 70% of his votes. I don’t recall — in fact, the Sun-Sentinel endorsed him. In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 or 70% 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 media.”

Jeb then stated, “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. 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 that are looking for a senator that will fight for them each and every day.”

Rubio responded, “you’ve walked around the country and said that you’re modeling your campaign after John McCain, that you’re going to launch a furious comeback the way he did, by fighting hard in New Hampshire and places like that, carrying your own bag at the airport. You know how many votes John McCain missed when was [making] that comeback that you’re now modeling it after?”

Jeb responded that McCain wasn’t his senator, to which Rubio said, “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. Here’s the bottom line, my campaign, is going to be about the future of America. It’s not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage. I will continue to have tremendous admiration and respect for Governor Bush. I’m not running against governor Bush. I’m not running against anyone on this stage.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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