- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, reiterated that the possible presidential candidacy of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush isn’t going to affect his own decision-making on a White House run in 2016.

“If I don’t run, it won’t be because Jeb is running,” Mr. Rubio said in an interview with the New York Times Magazine. “Maybe if you’re going to run for county commissioner or to be on the Mosquito Abatement Board or something like that, you may not want to run against a friend of yours.”

Mr. Rubio said the decision he has to make is where the best place is for him to further his agenda, as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator. Mr. Bush said earlier this month he is actively exploring a bid and has been at or near the top of early polling on the potential 2016 GOP contenders.

Mr. Rubio drew criticism from many conservatives for backing an overhaul to the country’s immigration laws last year that provided an eventual pathway to citizenship for most of the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

He said his lesson from that is “that there now exists an incredible level of mistrust on anything massive that the government does.”

“We might prohibit people who came here illegally and got green cards under this process from ever becoming citizens,” he said. “And if that’s what we have to do to get this thing passed, I would be open to it. But I don’t think that’s a wise thing to do.”

He also said Republicans, who have been trying to improve their standing with Latino voters after the 2012 presidential election, don’t need to have some sort of solution on immigration before then.

“Those who argue that this will be a bonanza for Republicans are not telling the truth,” he said. “Those who argue that we should do it for the purpose of politics are also misanalyzing the issue.”

Asked if Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican and another potential presidential contender, is “on to something with this whole noninterventionist thing,” Mr. Rubio said no.

“If you have a global economy, you cannot retreat from the world,” he said.
The two have exchanged words recently over President Obama’s announcement that the United States will begin to normalize its relationship with Cuba, a move Mr. Rubio has staunchly opposed.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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