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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Verbatim: What happened when Jeb and Marco went toe-to-toe last night

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio at the debate


Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio at the debate



Jeb Bush went for it, piggybacking on a CNBC moderator's question about Marco Rubio skipping his elected duty in Washington:

"Could I — could I bring something up here, because I'm a constituent of the senator and I helped him and I expected that he would do constituent service, which means that he shows up to work. He got endorsed by the Sun-Sentinel because he was the most talented guy in the field. He's a gifted politician.

"But Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work. I mean, literally, the Senate — what is it, like a French work week? You get, like, three days where you have to show up? You can campaign, or just resign and let someone else take the job. There are a lot of people living paycheck to paycheck in Florida as well, they're looking for a senator that will fight for them each and every day."

Strong stuff. 

Rubio, though, knew it was coming:

RUBIO: Well, it's interesting. Over the last few weeks, I've listened to Jeb as he walked around the country and said that you're modeling your campaign after John McCain, that you're going to launch a furious comeback the way he did, by fighting hard in New Hampshire and places like that, carrying your own bag at the airport. You know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback that you're now modeling after?

BUSH: He wasn't my senator.

RUBIO: No Jeb, I don't remember -- well, let me tell you. I don't remember you ever complaining about John McCain's vote record. The only reason why you're doing it now is because we're running for the same position, and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.

BUSH: Well, I've been —

RUBIO: Here's the bottom line.


I'm not — my campaign is going to be about the future of America, it's not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage. I will continue to have tremendous admiration and respect for Governor Bush. I'm not running against Governor Bush, I'm not running against anyone on this stage. I'm running for president because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies of Barack Obama.

It was a signal moment in Florida politics, displaying 44-year-old Rubio's natural talent, confidence and preparedness.

Bush, 62, afterward said what has been abundantly clear in three debates: "I'm not a performer."

[Last modified: Thursday, October 29, 2015 7:59am]


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