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DNC Chair says Marco Rubio won’t appeal to millennial voters

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One of Marco Rubio’s chief assets that he’s campaigned on during his run for the White House is that he would be representing a new generation of leadership in Washington.

“Are You Ready for a New American Century?” the 44-year-old Florida Senator asks on the homepage of his campaign website.

On the eve of the fifth Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was asked on a conference call whether she fears Rubio’s appeal with millennial voters.

“When millennials get a good close look, they’ll see what we see in Florida,” she said. “That there’s no ‘there’ there.”

The South Florida congresswoman, who served with Rubio in the Florida Legislature over a decade ago, said millennials will find his views to be among “the most extreme on the issues that are important to millennials,” who are generally classified as people under the age of 30 or so.

“Marco Rubio opposes gay marriage and has consistently not only opposed a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, he has the most extreme position and even says that abortion should not be available even if a woman is raped or a victim of incest,” she said. “Millennials have specifically embraced the idea that we need to make this country better together.”

Rubio’s position on abortion — that he opposes them all without an exception for rape and/or incest —  puts him to the far right even with the other Republicans in the presidential race. He recently walked back his position slightly, saying he unequivocally backs abortion exceptions when the life of the mother is in danger. He said he also would back legislation with allowances for cases of rape and incest — even though he personally doesn’t support those exceptions.

Wasserman Schultz also chastised Rubio, Jeb Bush and the other GOP presidential candidates for saying that they would back Donald Trump if he becomes the GOP’s presidential nominee next year.

Her comments came as an NBC News and The Wall Street Journal poll published Monday showed Rubio winning a head-to-head clash with Hillary Clinton, 48 percent to 45 percent (within the poll’s margin of error.) Among independents, his margin of victory would be 44 percent to her 37 percent.

Among Hispanics, Rubio would get 36 percent of the vote, compared to Clinton’s 59 percent. Rubio would also perform best with female voters out of the top GOP contenders, capturing 44 percent to Clinton’s 51 percent.

The poll was conducted Dec. 6 to 9 of 1,000 adults, including 350 respondents with a cellphone only and 32 respondents reached on a cellphone but who also have a land land. The margin of error for 400 interviews among Republican Primary Voters is ±4.90%. The margin of error for 400 interviews among Democratic Primary Voters is ±4.90%

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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