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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio and Bush react to Donald Trump plan to skip debate



Marco Rubio used Donald Trump's plan to skip Thursday's debate as a way to criticize the "theatrics" of Trump and Ted Cruz and portray himself as a uniter.

"America is heading the wrong direction, and people are right to be angry about it. But it’s not enough just to be angry," Rubio said in a statement. "The next president has to have a real plan to turn the page on Obama and his disastrous policies, and they have to be willing and able to sell that plan to the American people. That’s why these debates are so important.

"These kinds of theatrics by Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are an entertaining sideshow, but they have nothing to do with defeating Hillary Clinton. I’m going to stay focused on uniting the Republican Party so we can defeat Hillary Clinton and turn the page on 8 years of liberal failure. We don’t have time for these kinds of distractions."

Trump and Cruz lead Rubio in the polls. Rubio has steered clear of overt criticism of Trump but has gone after Cruz for weeks as Cruz has ascended. Rubio's hope is that Cruz emerges from Iowa weakened and that Rubio can emerge a clear alternative to Trump.

Jeb Bush responded on Twitter, prior to the news: "@realDonaldTrump Do you know who else is scared of tough qs from Fox & @megynkelly? Barack Obama. Enough whining."

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 12:17pm]


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