Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) told the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who like Bush is vying for the presidency, has accomplished “nothing.”
Rubio has come under fire from his GOP rivals after his stronger-than-expected finish in Monday night’s Iowa caucuses.
Those rivals were provided ammunition Thursday when former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) was unable to list one accomplishment of Rubio’s to the “Morning Joe” hosts after he dropped out of the 2016 race and endorsed the Florida senator.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski asked Bush about a list of accomplishments Rubio discussed with Fox News on Thursday, which Bush played down as “debunked.”
“His record of accomplishment is slim,” Bush said. “He was speaker of the house [in Florida], and he did a fine job there. But, every speaker before him and after him but one that worked with both of us is supporting me. And the three statewide elected officials are supporting me.
“It’s not because they don’t like Marco,” he continued. “Marco is a likable person. It’s that they saw me in action as a leader. And leadership is not about passing amendments and calling it success. Leadership is about tough decisions.”
After Bush then proceeded to list some of his accomplishments as governor, Brzezinski asked him if he could point to anything Rubio has accomplished.
“Nothing,” he answered.
“The list they put out has been debunked not just by me, but by other people,” he continued, adding that the people he speaks to who are struggling “need someone on their side, not pursuing their own blind ambition.”
Rubio addressed the Santorum interview during a Fox News appearance on Thursday. He listed off his work on eminent-domain abuse, reform in the Department of Veterans Affairs, on delivering a key setback to a provision of the Affordable Care Act, and on pressing through new sanctions on Hezbollah.
“Despite the fact that most of my career in Washington … has involved Democrats in charge, we have achieved some real things,” he said.
Bush brushed aside those assertions.
“Well, his list of fighting for additional sanctions for Hezbollah, which was done by unanimous consent, literally unanimously, where he didn’t show up to vote, that was one of them,” he said to the astonishment of Brzezinski and co-host Joe Scarborough.
“I think he passed a bill with Jeanne Shaheen,” he added, referring to the Democratic senator from New Hampshire. “That was nice. That’s his one bill that became law, and that’s about it. Oh, and the risk corridor for Obamacare that the actual sponsors of the amendment claim correctly so that they did it.”
Rubio has been in the crosshairs of Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), and Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) after Rubio’s crushing victory over the trio in Iowa. The four candidates are vying for the supposed “establishment” lane in the Republican Party, and each has become heavily invested in the New Hampshire primary.
The current situation has even led to a sort of behind-the-scenes coordination between the Bush and Christie campaigns, The New York Times reported Thursday. For example, The Times reported that aides to both campaigns have exchanged news hits on Rubio. And although there isn’t a formal agreement, the two campaigns recognise that they have a shared goal — unleashing an all-out attack on the senator leading up to the primary.
Bush, Christie, Rubio, and Kasich are all locked in a four-way battle for many of the same New Hampshire voters. Per the latest RealClearPolitics average of the polls, Rubio is in first among the quartet with 15.0%. Kasich comes in second with 11.2%, followed by Bush with 9.8% and Christie with 5%.
“Marco is a talented politician,” Bush said. “He got elected when he was 26 years old. People love him, too. He’s a great guy. But he’s not a leader.”
Here’s the “Morning Joe” clip:
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