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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio's NSA stance puts him at odds with some supporters



A pointed jab Marco Rubio made in a speech Monday may create an awkward moment Friday when he campaigns in New Hampshire with Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the House Oversight chairman.

Chaffetz voted for a bill last year that made changes to phone metadata collection. Rubio opposed that legislation and has turned it into a campaign talking point.

“If ISIS had lobbyists in Washington, they would have spent millions to support the anti-Intelligence law that was just passed with the help of some Republicans now running for president,” Rubio said Monday in New Hampshire.

He was referring Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. But Chaffetz and a large number of other Rubio backers supported the USA Freedom Act, including Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Rep. Darrell Issa, who is in New Hampshire today for Rubio.

In all 21 of Rubio’s 22 congressional supporters backed the USA Freedom Act, including his Florida co-chairman, Rep. Tom Rooney.

Chaffetz, who is gaining national recognition, is a solid pickup.

“Marco Rubio – he is the real thing,” the Utah Republican said Wednesday on NBC News. “He is a great conservative. He has a great record and I think he would be just an amazing president. … I will do whatever I can to get the right person to beat Hillary Clinton and I think that’s Marco Rubio and I will do whatever it takes."

Sen. Steve Daines of Montana also endorsed Rubio and is on the opposite side of the NSA bill. "As a member of both the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees, Marco Rubio is uniquely qualified to serve as our president," Daines said in a statement to CNN. "While we may have some differing opinions, I believe Marco will be an exceptional commander in chief.”

Some of Cruz supporters voted against the NSA bill, including Rep. Steve King. “I voted against H.R. 2048, the USA FREEDOM Act, because it does not strike the right balance between privacy and security," the Iowan said at the time. "Congress has a duty to protect both privacy and our Nation. With careful consideration I am confident we can do both, but the USA FREEDOM Act focuses on ending bulk data collection with no solution for protection of the vital data we need for national security."

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 1:13pm]


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