Overnight, the U.S. Senate voted to approve the two-year budget deal that will increase spending limits and avert a default. The vote was 64-35, overcoming objections from among others, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Marco Rubio also opposed it.
In my quick preliminary research, I’ve been unable to find out how Marco Rubio voted. Realizing that there was one senator missing from the vote, I’m hoping for all our sakes it wasn’t the junior elected representative from Florida. We don’t need to have more discussion about missing votes now, do we?
Speaking of Rubio, U.S. News & World Report was able to obtain an internal document from the Bush campaign that includes – more material about going after Rubio. Here’s the money stuff:
It’s titled “Marco Is A Risky Bet,” and it bullet-points Rubio’s “misuse of state party credit cards, taxpayer funds and ties to scandal-tarred former Congressman David Rivera.”
When Rubio was a state lawmaker, he used the state party credit card for personal expenses, a decision he later called a mistake. In 2005, he and Rivera jointly purchased a home that later faced foreclosure.
Another bullet point says Rubio’s “closeness with Norman Braman, who doubles as personal benefactor[,] raises major ethical questions.”
Braman, a billionaire auto dealer, is expected to pour $10 million into Rubio’s White House endeavor, The New York Times reports. He’s also paid Rubio’s wife to oversee his charitable work.
The Bush team also mocks Rubio’s “tomorrow versus yesterday” argument as one that would be “widely ridiculed by media” should he run against the first potential female president.
The most cryptic slight is left for last: “Those who have looked into Marco’s background in the past have been concerned with what they have found.”
A Bush aide says that line refers to concerns Mitt Romney‘s team unearthed when they vetted Rubio for vice president in 2012.
Don’t expect any return fire from Rubio. He played it cool throughout the day yesterday, emphasizing that he has no interest in saying anything nasty about Jeb Bush.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media is absolutely burying Bush, saying it’s all over. It’s a bit excessive, but that’s what pacts do – and there’s been nothing so far to change the conventional wisdom that this isn’t going to work out for the former Florida governor.
Part of the problem is the hubris of, if not the campaign, then the super PAC campaign led by veteran GOP strategist Mike Murphy.
In a two-part interview with Bloomberg last week, Murphy spent so much time talking about the financial resources Bush would have in February and March, and dismissing Donald Trump and Rubio as candidates to worry about, that it almost appeared he was living in a different universe. But he’s the great Mike Murphy, right?
As nearly everyone has said, the problem has been with the candidate himself. It can’t be emphasized enough that not only has it been 13 years since he ran a competitive race, but the predicate of his campaign – that what he did in Florida is a model for what he will be able to accomplish for America, well, that doesn’t seem to be the winning ticket, does it?
I will say that some of the media criticism is pure overkill. Last night on MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews asked USA Today reporter Susan Page (and I’m paraphrasing) something along the lines of, “Bush is running this conventional, old-school campaign in an environment where voters don’t want that,” i.e., the rise of Trump and Ben Carson.
That’s ridiculous Monday-morning quarterbacking. Did anyone see the rise of Trump or Carson six months ago? No, so while it’s true that Bush looks a bit too old-school right now, I didn’t hear Matthews saying that before Trump got into the race.
Meanwhile, Rubio’s not the only candidate being told by a newspaper to quit the campaign: the NY Times today is calling on Chris Christie to depart the race, writing that his campaign has turned “out to be nothing more than a vanity project.”
In other news..
There’s no question that the winners of Wednesday night’s GOP debate were Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
Despite the advice of Jeb Bush and the editorial team of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, historically sitting U.S. Senators running for president don’t step down from their day job, even if they’ve missed even more votes than the Florida lawmaker.
Local government representatives from the city of Tampa, Hillsborough County and the Hillsborough County School Board held a news conference yesterday to announce their “Vision Zero” plan to make the streets of the Bay area much safer for pedestrians and cyclists.