TAMPA — Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio blasted President Obama on Monday, accusing him of running an overly negative re-election campaign in an effort to distract voters from the economy.
Mr. Rubio, who will give the speech Thursday introducing presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention, said on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” that he thinks the president has failed to deliver on expectations during the 2008 campaign that he would “elevate American politics.”
“Barack Obama 2.0 is not the same person who was elected four years ago,” Mr. Rubio said. “This is as ugly and as nasty as I have seen a political campaign in the last six cycles I’ve been involved in or watching.”
The senator expressed optimism as Republicans settled in for the start of their convention in Tampa, which will kick off Tuesday after Tropical Storm Isaac forced the cancellation of Monday’s proceedings. The city is now expected to escape serious damage from the storm, which is heading westward along the Gulf Coast toward New Orleans.
Mr. Rubio framed the convention as Republicans’ best chance yet to get the attention of voters, many of whom he said are just starting to pay attention to the presidential race. He said he expects Mr. Romney to get a bump after the convention and improve on poll numbers that have recently shown him gaining in some battleground states and now virtually even with the president in national surveys.
“I think [poll numbers] are going to get better,” he said. “People just aren’t focused in yet, but they will be now.”