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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio on PBS' Newshour with Jim Lehrer

Rubio_3House Speaker Marco Rubio went on national TV Monday evening and offered a forceful argument why Florida was right to move its presidential primary to Jan. 29.

"Florida is by far the largest single swing state in the country, and over the last few election cycles, perhaps the single most important," Rubio said. "I think it behooves both parties to know that their nominee would be someone who would be palatable to Florida voters."

With its diverse population, immigration issues and the pressure to explore new energy sources, Florida is representative of the nation, Rubio said. "The issues you'll be forced to answer in Florida are national type issues, and with all due respect to South Carolina, that may not be the case in their primary."

But political commentator Stuart Rothenberg called the scramble for relevance "sheer chaos," and noted that other states can make the same claims as Rubio. "Everybody now wants to go first."

Rubio said he was not worried about national parties penalizing Florida. "It''s really hard to win the presidency of this country if you can't win Florida." Audio here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:48pm]


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