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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio 'not concerned' about long GOP primary, says no one should be told to drop out



marco-rubio.jpgMany Republicans are worried about the presidential primary dragging on for weeks or more, a battle that has already inflicted wounds. Not Sen. Marco Rubio.

"We're all impatient. We all want to know who the nominee is so we can get to work," he said in an interview with the Buzz. "So certainly, yeah, the sooner the better. But I'm not concerned. This is the process and the process will work its way through. What I think is very important for Republicans is not to talk ourselves into this idea that somehow because we're having a longer primary than we've had in past years that we're somehow doomed to failure in November. We are going to have a nominee whether it's next week, next month of three months from now. At that point, the election will be reframed. It will no longer be about the super PACs, or supporting Santorum vs. Romney or Gingrich or Paul. The election will become a choice between two very different people, between two very different views of America. And the election will become about the president's record."

Do you think it's time for Newt Gingrich to drop out?

"I don't think anybody should be told to drop out. I think people should run until they feel that either they don't want to continue or they don't see a path to victory. I've never been a believer in asking people to drop out of a race because I had a bunch of people ask me to drop out of a race."

Will you rule out endorsing (in the primary)?

"I don't rule out endorsing. I don't have any plans to but I don't rule that out. "

Romney continues to have vulnerabilities among people who identify as strongly conservative. Any concern?

"If he's the nominee, he's not going to have that vulnerability in the general election. You think strongly conservative people are going to vote for Barack Obama? Once the race is reframed, all the strongly conservative people are going to rally around the alternative to Barack Obama. That's an issue maybe he's facing in some places, I don't know the answer to that. I'm not a pollster. I'm not involved in their campaign. I think the bottom line is there are four people who are funded and running competitive races ... unlike in past other years where at this point where people had to drop out now these super PACs keep candidates alive. It's a new dynamic that I think has changed American presidential politics permanently. I imagine the academics want to argue about whether its' better that way or worse that way, but that's the way it is."

Are you campaigning for VP? (laughs)

"I don't even know how you do that. No."

Are you still categorically ruling that out?

"Yes. I'm not going to be the vice president."

Rush Limbaugh's comments have become an issue, do you have any reaction?

"I don' t know. I'm responsible for the things I say. I don't have an opinion about everything that happens in the world. I think that's been deal with adequately. He's spoken about it, he's apologized."

You don't have any thoughts on that?

"No. I'm not going to comment every time somebody on the radio says something."

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 12:22pm]


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