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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio's challenge: Support Donald Trump now without hurting his own reelection chances - or his political future

Look at those hands!

The Associated Press

Look at those hands!



Dangerous. Wholly unprepared. Lunatic.

Con artist.

Those are direct words from Marco Rubio about Donald Trump, and as Rubio said in a widely noted interview Monday, he stands by everything. But the Florida Republican also stands by Trump, whom he once vowed to oppose at all cost.

"I don't care if I have to get in my pickup truck and drive around the country like I did when I ran for the Senate," Rubio said in February as his presidential bid unraveled in a fit of name calling. "Donald Trump will never be the nominee of the party of Lincoln and Reagan."

These are uncharted times for Republicans and Rubio's attempt to balance antipathy for his former rival with loyalty to the party is perhaps the country's most stunning illustration of the problems (and opportunities) Trump is creating.

Rubio says he supports Trump, but that's about all before noting he disagrees with him on many things and is running for Senate again to provide a check on whomever occupies the White House in January.

"It's transparently hypocritical," said veteran Florida Republican strategist Mac Stipanovich, who is in the "Never Trump" camp. "My assumption is that in the absence of principles or courage, he's trying to have it both ways, to not hang Trump around his neck like an anchor and not open himself up to accusations of disloyalty in 2020 or beyond."

Rubio, 45, does want to run for president again, and a Senate platform would maintain a high profile especially if Hillary Clinton prevails. He insists, however, that is not driving his decision to seek re-election and that it would be safer to stay out of politics for a while.

Full story here.

And Rubio's Top 10 hits on Trump.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 21, 2016 1:23pm]


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