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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio backs Zika funding but says he’s not talking presidential politics



If there’s one thing Marco Rubio got to practice as a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, it was to stay on message.

The skill served him well Friday, when he held his first Miami news conference since dropping out of the race.

Rubio wanted to talk about Zika, the mosquito-borne, sexually transmitted virus. Reporters wanted to talk politics.

The senator refused.

What do you want to do with your delegates? he was asked.

“I want to make sure they don’t have Zika,” he joked.

Rubio, breaking with some Republicans, backed $1.9 billion in emergency federal funding to combat the virus, though he warned "government can't solve all of these problems" and Florida residents should take care to wear mosquito repellent and drain water. The federal dollars, he added, should go only to Zika efforts, preferably targeted at the local level.

"I want to make sure that when the money's appropriated, it's appropriately spent." he said.

He wouldn’t say why he’s yet to endorse former rival Ted Cruz. And he claimed he hasn’t “given any thought” to whether there might be a contested GOP convention – even though he’s sent letters to state party chairmen to keep his delegates.

[Last modified: Friday, April 8, 2016 1:54pm]


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