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On morning shows, Marco Rubio projects optimism

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With the Florida Primary four days away, Marco Rubio has reasons to project optimism. His debate performance Thursday night was a bounce-back showing. Some polls are showing him closing the gap with Donald Trump.

On a host of morning shows Friday, Rubio was on message. That message was he’s the one Republican who can beat Trump and unify the GOP.

On CBS “This Morning,” Rubio noted that he did well in the “policy debate” that he’s wanted for a while.

“It was a policy debate and I think they went in with that goal and everything was about policy. Other debates, I know they are all different, but other debates have been – I think last week, I was asked eight out of 13 questions or whatever were about Donald Trump. I think last night, voters hopefully got to see that I knew on these issues what I would do as president. I don’t think Donald did that, but I will let voters make that assessment,” Rubio said.

On “Good Morning America,” Rubio hit the theme that he can unify the party.

“The majority, almost two-thirds, of Republicans do not want Donald Trump to be our nominee. If you have someone who’s your front-runner and your nominee who has a significant percentage of the party rejects, you are not going to win a general election. I think I’m the only candidate left in this race who can unite the Republican Party and also grow it and so I think that is the reason why ultimately we’re going to be the nominee,” Rubio said.

On CNN, he revisited his “we are the children of the Reagan Revolution” theme: “I’m also the only one running on an agenda that says it is time to turn the page. The 21st century is here. We have an economy, we have a world that is very different than the world we are leaving behind. We need to take our conservative principles and apply them to the challenges of the 21st century. That’s what my campaign has offered from day one. If they elect me as president, this generation is going to confront and solve our problems.”

On Fox News, Rubio came closest to expressing frustration with the showmanship the process seems to require this time out, saying, “When I had the opportunity, I tried to explain why Donald’s answer on an issue was not the right approach. But there’s no winning here, right? If you have a debate where everyone is going after each other, people say they don’t like it. If we have a debate that we’re debating issues people say it’s too boring. The bottom line, this is not a sport, this is not entertainment. Debates are not about entertaining people, but about informing people.”

Rubio differs from Francis Underwood in “House of Cards” with that final insight. Underwood said in the most recent season, “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but politics is no longer just theater it’s show business. So let’s put on the best show in town.”

Tuesday will be the tell of whether Rubio or “House of Cards” scriptwriters are right, when it comes to politics in 2016.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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