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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio goes careful on Trump

Marco Rubio in Florence, S.C.

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Marco Rubio in Florence, S.C.



Marco Rubio had an opportunity Monday to lay into Donald Trump but largely passed, continuing to stay clear of the GOP front-runner.

A man at a town hall in Florence, S.C., asked Rubio to call out Trump as not conservative, and Rubio said he didn’t like to criticize “converts.”

Rubio did say one must ask if that conversion came “in the last year and a half or is it someone that has a long record of standing on these issues? We can’t take a chance.”

Rubio has largley steered clear of Trump, though they scrapped briefly in Saturday's debate. Jeb Bush, by contrast, has been blasting Trump for weeks and warning the GOP to stop him before he wins the nomination. "Donald Trump is trying to hijack the Republican Party," Bush said Monday on Fox & Friends.

Trump has been focused on Bush since the campaign began, attacking him as low energy and boring. Asked during a news conference Monday about the Bushes, Trump said "There's no bad blood. What’s happened is Jeb Bush has spent about $20 million on negative ads."

Today Rubio said most of his opponents are attacking him, not the front-runner, Trump. Rubio says that in making the claim that he’s the best general election candidate.

Another moment came when a woman told Rubio he's a "one-term Senator" and "that feels familiar." Rubio said Barack Obama had plenty of "presidential" experience and that it's his policies that are bad.

[Last modified: Monday, February 15, 2016 3:34pm]


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