1. Florida Politics

Sen. Marco Rubio mum on whether he ever smoked marijuana

Sen. Marco Rubio says he made some dumb decisions between the ages of 16 and 18, and “I didn’t need the help of marijuana or alcohol to further that.”
Sen. Marco Rubio says he made some dumb decisions between the ages of 16 and 18, and “I didn’t need the help of marijuana or alcohol to further that.”
Published Feb. 12, 2014

Bill Clinton didn't inhale. Barack Obama did. Marco Rubio … won't say.

The Republican senator, appearing at an education forum on Monday in Miami, refused to answer whether he has ever smoked pot.

The question came in the context of the Florida ballot measure to allow medical marijuana. A moderator then asked Rubio if he's ever tried the drug.

"I'll tell you why I never answer that question," Rubio replied. "If I tell you that I haven't, you won't believe me. And if tell you that I did, then kids will look up to me and say, 'Well, I can smoke marijuana because look how he made it. He did all right so I guess I can do it, too.' The bottom line is, it is a substance that alters your mind. When I was 17 and 18 and 16, I made dumb decisions as is. I didn't need the help of marijuana or alcohol to further that."

Rubio went on to say that bad choices made as a youth can follow a person through life — an arrest record hurting job prospects, for example.

"At this point," Rubio said of the question, "it's irrelevant."

On medical marijuana, Rubio told us in January that he's skeptical but did not flatly reject the idea.

Scott fundraising dwarfs Crist

Gov. Rick Scott's "Let's Get to Work" committee raised $3.4 million in January, but, for the first time, he got an additional boost from his own campaign account, according to finance reports due Monday.

Scott reported raising $734,036 in January, giving his candidacy a combined $4.1 million for the month.

It's the first month his personal campaign account raised money, and it's four times what rival Charlie Crist raised.

Crist raised $636,800 through his "Charlie Crist for Florida" committee. Combined with the $374,767 his own campaign raised, Crist brought in $1,011,567.

Lagging behind Scott is hardly good news for Crist, considering that Scott has already raised $32,262,936 through January, while Crist, who announced his run in November, has raised a total of $5,048,031.

But at least Crist is slow to spend what he's got, blowing through only $380,237 of his total through January. Scott has been miserly as well, spending about $519,569.

Attorney General Pam Bondi continued to outpace her three rivals, raising $10,000 in her "And Justice for All" committee and another $178,000 from her "Justice for All committee." Her biggest contribution by far came from the Republican State Leadership Committee-Florida PAC, which threw in $100,000.

Don't forget that she also has her own campaign account, which raised another $147,293 ($50,000 courtesy of Republican Party of Florida in-kind contributions) so her combined total in January was $325,293.

Since announcing her re-election bid in July, Bondi has raised about $2.1 million.

Boehner to visit Sarasota

House Speaker John Boehner will fundraise in Sarasota on Saturday, according to an invite. Entry ranges from $500 per person to $52,600 for "chair" status.

While scooping up Florida cash, will Boehner get an earful on flood insurance? Boehner has said the House will not take up the Senate-passed bill, saying some relief is needed but not as broad as the legislation seeks.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, who will appear at the fundraiser, is a co-sponsor of the House companion of the Senate bill.

Tia Mitchell and Michael Van Sickler contributed.


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