marco rubio header graphic

- suspended campaign Mar. 15, 2016 -   



Legislation (


visits to 3rdQ '15
Marco Rubio for President

MarcoRubio  |  @marcorubio

...announced April 13, 2015 [FEC].
Sen. Marco Rubio
SenatorMarcoRubio  |  @SenRubioPress
Reclaim America

...leadership PAC
filed with the FEC on Aug. 2, 2011.

Conservative Solutions PAC


...super PAC re-filed with the FEC on Feb. 24, 2015.
Conservative Solutions Project, Inc.

...nonprofit incorporated Jan. 2014.

Conventional Wisdom
- Youth and energy.
- He is something of a policy wonk.
- Potential appeal to Hispanic voters.
- Hails from the key state of Florida.

- Rubio's leadership role on immigration reform in the first part of 2013 hurt him among some conservatives
. (>)
- Potential complications with fellow Floridian Jeb Bush also likely to run.

Notes, Coverage and Speeches

photo 1 of sens. mike lee and marco rubio introducing tax reform plan
Sept. 17, 2014 - "Building 21st Century Defense Capabilities." March 4, 2015 - Introducing tax reform plan with Sen. Mike Lee.

May 13, 2014 - "A Secure Retirement for 21st Century Seniors."
June 25, 2014 - "Finding Economic Security in an Insecure Time.” July 23, 2014 - "Strong Values for a Strong America."
Feb. 9, 2012 - Addressing CPAC. March 14, 2013 - Addressing CPAC. March 6, 2014 - Addressing CPAC.

2016 - Rubio's team continued to quietly build a national organization, and on Jan. 11 the campaign became the first to announce statewide leadership in all 50 states.  Rubio 's third place showing in Iowa (23.1%) was good enough to keep him in play. 
His roughest moment of the campaign came during the debate in Manchester, NH on Feb. 6, 2016 when, challenged by Gov. Chris Christie, he repeated himself several times; Rubio finished fifth in New Hampshire with just 10.6% of the vote.  However, the South Carolina primary provided a boost.  Rubio rode the endorsements of Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy to a second place finish.  His share of the vote, 22.5 percent, was not overly impressive, but it put him just ahead of Sen. Ted Cruz.  Rubio's campaign sought to portray a three-person race (+).  Following Jeb Bush's withdrawal on Feb. 20, Rubio seemed to consolidate establishment support, announcing a raft of endorsements (+).  However there remained doubters (1, 2).  Rubio had not won any of the four early contests: Iowa (23.1% - 3rd), New Hampshire (10.6% - 5th), South Carolina (22.5% - 2nd) and Nevada (23.9% - 2nd).   

A key turning point for Rubio was the debate in Houston, TX on Feb. 25, 2016 where he forcefully and directly challenged Donald Trump, appearing to shake the frontrunner.  Rubio was also on the attack at the Mar. 3, 2016 debate in Detroit.  Many observers believe the approach backfired, hurting Rubio by getting him down in the mud and making him seem not presidential.

Rubio continued to underperform in the electoral arena, winning only Minnesota on Super Tuesday, despite endorsements including from Gov. Hutchinson (AR) and Gov. Haslam (TN).  At CPAC, he was well received, filling the ballroom despite early reports that he might not appear (+)Rubio did not win any of the contests on March 5 or March 8, although on March 6 he won the Puerto Rico primary resoundingly.  The survival of his campaign came to depend on  the winner-take-all March 15 primary in his home state of Florida.  He finished with just 27-percent, well behind frontrunner Donald Trump and suspended his campaign that evening (+).  Despite the suspension, several supporters sought to carry on the pro-Rubio banner, but these efforts had little effect (+).

In May Rubio said he would support Trump despite reservations, stating, "I've signed a pledge that said I'd support the Republican nominee and I intend to continue to do that."  He ruled out the vice presidential nomination or serving as a surrogate.  Three months after he ended his presidential bid, Rubio reversed course and announced he would in fact seek re-election (+).

- Despite talk that a run by former Gov. Jeb Bush might torpedo Rubio's presidential ambitions, the Florida senator opted to forego a 2016 Senate re-election campaign and instead launched a campaign for the White House.  He made his big announcement on April 13 at the Freedom Tower in Miami, declaring that "we have it within our power to make our time another American Century (+)."  A pro-Rubio super PAC, Conservative Solutions PAC has also launched to boost Rubio's candidacy, and there is also a related nonprofit, the Conservative Solutions Project.
Earlier in the year Rubio did a book tour for American Dreams that took him to the key early states (Des Moines, IA - Feb. 13, Las Vegas, NV - Feb. 18, Greenville, SC - Feb. 19, and Manchester, NH - Feb. 23).  Several news organizations reported on a lesser known aspect of Rubio's activities, the fact that he co-taught a political science class at Florida International University (1, 2).  Rubio and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) also made a bit of news on March 4 when they announced the Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Reform Plan, which won rave reviews from many conservatives, and critical reviews from those on the left.

Rubio faced the challenge of balancing campaign and official duties.  On Sept. 10 USA Today reported that he had missed 77 of 263 roll call votes, "more than any other senator." (+The Sun Sentinel (Broward and Palm Beach) ran an editorial on Oct. 27 headlined "Marco Rubio should resign, not rip us off."  Although Rubio was making visits to the key early states, he was not putting in as much time as many of the other candidates were.  What he was doing was quietly planting the seeds of a national campaign organization, identifying state chairs and leadership in more states than any other Republican candidates.  The state leaders included quite a few young elected officials such as the House Speaker Missouri the state attorney general in Arizona and the state controller in Idaho.  Rubio's performance in the Oct. 28 debate in Boulder gave him a significant boost.  He rebuffed former Gov. Jeb Bush's attack on his Senate attendance record, and conservatives loved his statement that, "The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC.  It's called the mainstream media."  National support for Rubio seemed to build; on three successive days in early November he secured endorsements of three U.S Senators.  During this time a line of attack against Rubio focused on his use of a Republican Party of Florida credit card when he was speaker-designate and Speaker of the Florida House.  On Nov. 7 his campaign released a "full accounting" of the matter (+).

- In an April 1, 2014 interview with Reuters, Sen. Rubio said he woud make a decision on 2016 "around this time next year."  In fact he engaged in all the activities that would suggest a White House run.  Rubio's leadership PAC is a classic pre-campaign organization run by veteran politicos. 
Although he did only a modest amount of travel to the early states, he was engaged in the midterms, for example boldly supporting Joni Ernst in the U.S. Senate primary in Iowa.  Rubio's most noteworthy work may have been on the policy side.  As the year progressed he delivered a series of detailed policy speeches that have drew considerable attention.  Building on the speeches, he has a book coming out in January 2015. 

Rubio's likelihood of mounting a presidential campaign is seen as being linked to whether fellow Floridian Jeb Bush makes a run
.  Bush announced on Dec. 16 that he has "decided to actively explore the possibility of running."  Rubio spokesman Alex Conant responded with a statement that said in part, "Marco's decision on whether to run for President or re-election will be based on where he can best achieve his agenda to restore the American Dream—not on who else might be running."  However, a Jeb Bush candidacy would clearly have some effect Rubio's support in Florida and fundraising ability (for example The New Republic's Danny Vinik penned an article "Jeb Bush Just Flushed Marco Rubio's 2016 Hopes Down the Toilet.")

Rubio is member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the ranking member of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and he has been speaking out on problem areas such as Iran, Venezuela and Russian intervention in Ukraine, generally staking out a hawkish viewpoint.  Those views were outlined in detail in his Sept. 17 speech "American Strength: Building 21st Century Defense Capabilities."  When President Obama announced major changes to Cuba policy on Dec. 17, Rubio emerged as a leading critic, vowing "to make every effort to block this dangerous and desperate attempt by the President to burnish his legacy at the Cuban people’s expense."

2013 - On Jan. 28 a bipartisan group of eight senators working on immigration reform — Republicans Graham, McCain and Rubio; Democrats Bennet, Durbin, Menendez, and Schumer — unveiled the "Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform."  At that time Sen. Rubio was seen as one of the leading potential candidates for president in 2016.  On Feb. 12 he delivered the response to President Obama's State of the Union Address (actually two responses on taped in Spanish, and one in English); many viewers recall not what he said but that he paused to take a sip of water.  Also in February, National Journal profiled Rubio as "The Player" and Time magazine heralded him as "The Republican Savior."  In March he finished second to Rand Paul in CPAC's straw poll.  On April 17 Rubio and his colleagues introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity & Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.  S. 744 weighed in at 844 pages.  Conservatives did not like this bill.  On his Senate website Rubio posted an extensive myth-busting section to counter some of the misinformation around the legislation.  For example, one of the myths was, "The immigration bill will give free cell phones to immigrants with work visas."  These were dubbed "amnesty phones" or even "MarcoPhones."  Although the Senate passed the bill, which as amended totalled 1,197 pages, on June 27 on a 68-32 vote, immigration reform did not advance in the House.  Rubio's involvement in the immigration reform bill cost him severely among conservatives. 

In the latter part of the year, Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence, burnished his foreign policy credentials.  On Nov. 20 he delivered a speech "Restoring principle: A foreign policy worth of the American dream" at the American Enterprise Institute.  Rubio stated that, "Many other nations, adversaries and rivals, have been emboldened by our uncertain foreign policy."  He charged that the Obama administration "lacks a clear strategic foreign policy."  In December he made a three-day visit to London, meeting with government officials and delivering a major speech on the Transatlantic Alliance. 

Rubio does have a PAC, the Reclaim America PAC ("electing conservatives to the United States Senate"), but, aside from one appearance in Iowa in Nov. 2012, he has not been making visits to early presidential primary states.

Suspending campaign at FIU Arena atrium in Miami, FL, Mar. 15, 2016.
Address to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in Concord, NH, Jan. 20, 2016.
Announcement speech at Freedom Tower in Miami, FL, April 13, 2015.


Domestic Policy

- "Strong Values for a Strong America" at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, July 23, 2014.
- "Finding Economic Security in an Insecure Time" to YG Network at Hillsdale College's Kirby Center in Washington, DC, June 25, 2014.
- "A Secure Retirement for 21st Century Seniors" at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, May 13, 2014.

"Sparking Dynamic Growth in 21st Century America" to the Kemp Forum at Google Headquarters in Washington, DC, March 10, 2014.
- "Making Higher Education Affordable Again" at Miami-Dade College in Miami, FL, Feb. 10, 2014.
"Reclaiming The Land Of Opportunity: Conservative Reforms For Combatting Poverty" in the Lyndon B. Johnson Room at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, Jan. 8, 2014.

Foreign Policy and National Security
- Speech to Council on Foreign Relations in New York, NY, May 13, 2015.
- "American Strength: Building 21st Century Defense Capabilities" hosted by the John Hay Initiative, in association with Concerned Veterans for America and The Project for the Common Defense at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, Sept. 17, 2014.

- "Asia Key to U.S. Prosperity & Security in 21st Century" at Asian Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, South Korea, Jan. 24, 2014.
- "American Leadership and the Future of the Transatlantic Alliance" at Chatham House in London, England, Dec. 3, 2013.
- "Restoring Principle: A Foreign Policy Worthy of the American Dream" at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, Nov. 20, 2013.

Examples of more political speeches
- Speech to CPAC at the Gaylord National in National Harbor, MD, March 6, 2014.

- Response to the State of the Union Address in Washington, DC, Feb. 12, 2013.
- Introducing Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL, Aug. 30, 2012.

Marco Rubio.  Jan. 13, 2015.  AMERICAN DREAMS: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone.  New York: Sentinel HC [Penguin Books imprint]. 
"Senator Rubio shares the stories of real people who are fighting to educate their children, protect their families, climb the economic ladder, save for retirement, and achieve their own American dreams. He challenges us to replace our failing 20th century institutions with a new agenda based on choice, innovation and local control."
[initial subtitle was "
Restarting the Economy and Restoring the Land of Opportunity"]

Marco Rubio.  June 19, 2012.  AN AMERICAN SON: A Memoir.  New York: Sentinel HC [Penguin Books imprint].
"Few politicians have risen to national prominence as quickly as Marco Rubio. At age forty-one he’s the subject of widespread interest and speculation. But he has never before told the full story of his unlikely journey, with all the twists and turns that made him an American son."
...also issued in Spanish "Un Hijo Americano."

Manuel Roig-Franzia.  June 19, 2012.  THE RISE OF MARCO RUBIO.  New York: Simon & Schuster.
"Drawing on hundreds of interviews and documents, Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia shows how Rubio cultivated a knack for apprenticing himself to the right mentor, learning the issues, and volunteering for tough political jobs that made him shine. He also has a way with words and the instinct to seize opportunities that others don’t see. As Mike Huckabee says, Rubio “is our Barack Obama with substance.” The Rise of Marco Rubio elegantly tells us why."

Marco Rubio.  Nov. 1, 2006.  100 INNOVATIVE IDEAS FOR FLORIDA'S FUTURE.  Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing.
"The 100 ideas contained in this book reflect the thoughts of thousands of Floridians who have taken the time to offer their personal insights into what it will take to preserve the state's legacy of opportunity. This book is a written commitment that will detail Florida's vision
for the future, and how to make it a reality. 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future shows how every Floridian can enjoy freedom, opportunity, and the pursuit of happiness and leave for their children a better life than their own."

Marc Caputo.  "Professor Marco Rubio."  Politico, Feb. 9, 2015.
Ben Terris.  "What it's like to take a political science class with professor Marco Rubio."  The Washington Post, Feb. 10, 2015.

FEC-Sen. campaign
Draft Marco Rubio
Only Marco

late March 2016

April 13, 2016 - James Lamb


  this page last revised July 9, 2016