The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

The biggest threat to Marco Rubio's presidential ambitions? Mentor and friend Jeb Bush

25

November

jebmarco.jpgHorrifying as it may sound, the 2016 presidential campaign already is under way — and so is an awkward sideshow featuring the two biggest stars in the Florida GOP.

The 2016 Republican primary kicked off last weekend when Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida made a high-profile visit to Iowa, ostensibly to celebrate the birthday of Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad along with hundreds of GOP Hawkeye state activists.

Rubio's presidential ambitions are unmistakable. Less certain are those of Rubio's political mentor, former Gov. Jeb Bush, whose name is mentioned as often as Rubio's when it comes to future presidential heavyweights.

Rubio, 41, and Bush, 59, are mutual admirers — both repeatedly suggested Mitt Romney should choose the other for his running mate — and it's hard to imagine both running in a 2016 primary. So while Rubio steadily builds his profile in advance of 2016, his biggest threat may be his longtime friend, Bush, quietly mulling his own future.

Another question worth pondering: In a debate against Hillary Clinton, who would look like the stronger alternative, Bush or Rubio?

For political junkies already keeping tabs, Bush had a far better last week than Rubio. The former governor drew a gushing front page New York Times story about his potential presidential candidacy. Rubio, meanwhile, drew a slew of publicity over a GQ interview in which he said he didn't know whether evolution or creationism was more on the mark.

"I'm not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States," Rubio, a member of the Senate's Science Committee, told the magazine.

Full print Buzz column here

[Last modified: Sunday, November 25, 2012 9:19pm]

    

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