Wednesday during Fox News Channel’s presidential town hall hosted by Megyn Kelly, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination, was pressed on how to overcome his winless streak in the campaign thus far and if that might require a change of tactics.
Rubio dismissed any changes regarding his campaign and insisted he was consistent and running as someone who was “conservative as anyone in this race.”
Partial transcript as follows:
KELLY: With the understanding that past is prologue, what are you going to change to get a different result?
RUBIO: Well, first of all, admit he’s the front-runner and that I’m certainly an underdog, but I’ve been an underdog my entire life, I mean, from where I grew up and how I grew up to how I came to the Senate running against the Republican establishment to this race, when I’ve been hit by over $40 million of negative ads by establishment money.
But I relish that. This is a country of underdogs. This is a nation made up of people who scratch and claw to move ahead and improve their lives. And this an important election. We are not going to allow the conservative movement to be defined by a nominee who isn’t a conservative. And we certainly need to elect someone who’s prepared to be president in a thoughtful and serious and important way, given the threats this country faces.
So that’s why a majority of Republican voters are not supporting Donald Trump. And obviously, once this race begins to narrow a little bit, you’ll see more of that support consolidating. But right now, we’re kind of in this situation that we’re facing, and we’re going to keep working hard and picking up as many delegates as we can.
KELLY: But I didn’t hear anything in there that talked about a change. And the question is whether your — you like being second because if you don’t change anything…
KELLY: … what are the odds that that number’s going to start changing for you?
RUBIO: Well, we’re not going to change our message. I mean, this is why I’m running. I’m running because I understand we have real challenges. I know that people are angry. That’s why…
KELLY: What about tactics?
RUBIO: … I ran for Senate in 2010.
Well, I mean, our tactics are the following. Every state is different, obviously. We want to go in with the resources we have and try to move numbers and do that. So our tactics are not going to dramatically change.
I think the biggest change in this campaign is going to be when the people not named Donald Trump — the choices begin to narrow and we start to give the Republican voters a clearer choice of who they want to get behind.
And look, my argument is I’m as conservative as anyone running in this race. I hold up my record of 15 years of turning conservative ideas into conservative solutions up against anyone who’s running. But I can win. I can unify this party. I can grow this party. And I will win this election.
The Democrats desperately do not want to run against me. That’s why they attack me more than anyone else in this race. And if we lose, then that means Bernie Sanders, who’s a socialist, or Hillary Clinton, who’s under FBI investigation, becomes the next president of the United States.
So it’s going to take a little longer than people want, but I feel good about it. And I can tell you no one’s going to outwork us. That’s for sure.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor