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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio tries to sell himself as eventual nominee

8

January

Marco Rubio is increasingly trying to portray himself as the inevitable nominee and the Republican strongest against Hillary Clinton.

"I can't wait to run against her in a general election, I know she doesn't want to run against me. That's why they keep attacking me every day but I can't wait for that election," Rubio said Friday on Fox & Friends. He's used that sentiment in fundraising appeals and on the stump. In Concord, N.H., this morning Rubio said Clinton is "obsessed" with him.

It's not a novel approach to suggest you are the strongest, but Rubio has been playing that up as his path to the nomination has been complicated by Donald TrumpTed Cruz signs of life from other establishment candidates in New Hampshire, including Chris Christie.

Clinton may not be "attacking" him every day — as if no other Republicans matter — but Democrats publicly and privately say Rubio would have some advantages given his speaking skills, youth and Hispanic background. He and Clinton aren't terribly different on some foreign policy.

Rubio on Fox outlined a line of attack:

"We're going to talk about how she used her e-mail server irresponsibly and recklessly, thereby putting American information potentially in the hands of our enemies. We're going to talk about how she lied about Benghazi. She was telling the families of those victims that this was just a video, that this was because of a video, but she was telling her family and other people that this was a terrorist attack. So she lied about Benghazi. And then this fundamental question, what part of the world today is America stronger or safer after Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and Barack Obama was president? The answer is there is no such place."

At the same time, Rubio is clearly feeling pressure from GOP rivals. He's using darker imagery and language on the campaign trail, dropping the optimism his campaign was launched on. Today in Concord, Rubio said President Obama set out to "radically and fundamentally" transform America.

[Last modified: Friday, January 8, 2016 12:12pm]

    

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