Presidential Elections 2016: Sen. Marco Rubio 'Not Quite Ready' to be President, Says Fellow GOP Senator
Immigration reform could factor the potential presidential run for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., but his recent stance on the issue has soured the view of a fellow Republican senator.
During an interview with The Weekly Standard, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Rubio is "not quite ready" to become the next U.S. president. Graham said Rubio decision to distance himself from the bipartisan Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill of 2013 gave the South Carolina senator second thoughts about Rubio.
The Senate bill Graham referenced is "S.744 - Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act," which was supported by Rubio and 13 other Senate Republicans including Graham, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. Flake, Graham, McCain and Rubio were also cosponsors of the bill. The bill passed the Senate with 68 senators in favor and 32 voted against. The bill, however, has yet to be debated in the House of Representatives.
"[Rubio's] a good guy, but after doing immigration with him-we don't need another young guy not quite ready," Graham said. "He's no Obama by any means. But he's so afraid of the right, and I've let that go."
Despite his cosponsor status, Rubio has recently spoken against the bipartisan legislation, and it could be an effort to attract conservative voters.
Rubio has also criticized the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by President Barack Obama, which granted over 500,000 undocumented immigrant youths the right to stay in the U.S. for educational and work purposes. Organizations supporting DACA have protested Rubio for "flip flopping" on immigration reform. Rubio claimed DACA led to the summer's influx of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. He also said children coming to the U.S. should not qualify for DACA. Under current provisions of DACA, only immigrants living in the U.S. prior to June 15, 2007, and born after June 15, 1981, are eligible for the renewable two-year program.
Graham, however, has not dismissed the idea of his own presidential run, stating, "If I get through my general election, if nobody steps up in the presidential mix, if nobody's out there talking -- me and McCain have been talking -- I may just jump in to get to make these arguments."
McCain, who also participated in The Weekly Standard interview, said of Rubio, "He's articulate, intelligent, and has all the right instincts. He doesn't have the background that Lindsey does, but he's probably as articulate as anyone in our party. I've watched him carefully on the Foreign Relations Committee -- he's excellent. Very impressive."
McCain has encouraged Graham to consider a presidential bid but also said he likes the other potential Republican candidates of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
As Latin Post reported, a coalition of 39 national nonpartisan Latino organizations, collectively known as the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), ranked all members of Congress on certain criteria including immigration. Out of 100 percent, Rubio received 46 percent. Graham received 38 percent while McCain and Flake fared slightly better with 42 percent, each.
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