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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

In Fox interview, Rubio explains use of GOP credit card, friendship with David Rivera



In an interview on Fox News that just ended, Sen. Marco Rubio defended his use of a Republican Party of Florida credit card and said he would stick by his friend, embattled Rep. David Rivera. The interview was part of a series of profiles on potential running mates for Mitt Romney, and it's not hard to argue that Rubio again is getting in front of vetting issues.

On his use of Republican Party credit cards (background here) while a state legislator:

"At the end of every month, we would get those statements, we would see what was on there that was party related and the party would pay that. If it wasn't party related, I would pay that directly to American Express. Now, obviously, in hindsight, it looks bad, right? Why are you using a party credit card at all. Well some of these expenses were because the travel agent had the number ... and they billed it to that card instead of the other card. Sometimes it was just a mistake -- literally just reached for the wrong card. But it's important to understand I did not bill personal expenses to the Republican Party of Florida. The Republican Party of Florida never paid my personal expenses. Never. But look, I shouldn't have done it that way. It was lesson learned."


On his relationship with Rivera: "He's a friend. ... I know he's going through a tough time. We've all read the press reports. None of like to see that about anybody, much less a friend. And he's going to have to deal with those issues. ...

"I guess it's because I'm new to Washington. Maybe it's acceptable here, it isn't to me, to turn your back on friends when they are going through a difficult time, no matter what they may have done or not done. In his case, he's a friend and I'm going to give him the benefit of a doubt."

Rubio will appear at an upcoming fundraiser for Rivera, whom he lived with for a few months in Washington after the 2010 election. They now live separately.

[Last modified: Monday, April 30, 2012 7:25pm]


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