Marco Rubio fires up Republicans without uttering you know who's name
William March rreports:
TAMPA — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio followed vice presidential nominee Mike Pence to the podium in a Tampa hotel ballroom full of enthusiastic Republicans Saturday, praised Pence and other GOP leaders and then gave his usual rousing stump pitch.
But he did it all, speaking 34 minutes, without once mentioning the name of Pence's running mate, the presidential nominee the Republicans were there to support, Donald Trump.
Rubio this week maintained his tepid support for Trump for president after eight days of scurrilous revelations and accusations of Trump's abusive attitudes toward women.
But if anything, Rubio's speech Saturday night suggests he hopes to put even more distance between himself and Trump.
Rubio emphasized the key role the Senate will play in the next four years, but spoke almost dismissively of the presidential contest.
"I want to talk about the importance of the Senate race," he said. "We all know how the importance of the presidential race."
He cited the coming U.S. Supreme Court vacancies, often cited by reluctant Republicans as a reason to stick by Trump despite the past week's revelations.
"The next president and the next U.S. Senate will probably nominate and confirm up to three Supreme Court justices," who will serve up to 25 years – "the equivalent of three two-term presidencies," he said.
But for much of the crowd at the fundraising dinner – some 650 people who paid $250 or more each to attend -- the last eight days might almost not have happened.
The revelations of Trump's boasting about groping women, and the stream of women who then accused him of having done so, were regrettable to some and even indefensible to others – but to many, no more than a fiction somehow manufactured by the Clinton campaign in collusion with "the liberal media."