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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Does establishment support for Rubio give an opening to Trump?

Marco Rubio in Nevada


Marco Rubio in Nevada



Monday was a big day for Marco Rubio as he picked up a wave of endorsements from establishment Republicans across the country. It came on a rough day for Ted Cruz and amid calls that John Kasich get out of the way.

But is there a downside?

By rallying around Rubio, the GOP provides a line of attack for Donald Trump and Cruz. Trump in particular could point to the money expected to roll Rubio’s way as evidence he’s just another typical politician.

Rubio, the former House speaker, portrayed himself in recent months as anti-establishment, often telling audiences about his run against Charlie Crist. So it’ll be interesting to see how he navigates being thrust firmly into the establishment spotlight.

Some supporters sought to counter the perception.

"I think that's a misreading, because Marco Rubio came of age in the tea party,” Tim Pawlenty told CNN Monday after endorsing Rubio. “He's a bona fide movement conservative. And to say that he's 'establishment' or somehow not conservative, I just don't think is accurate. He's bold, he's next generation, and he's reform-minded, change-oriented."

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 12:14am]


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