- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 17, 2015

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio took aim Sunday at rival Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton, blasting her for bringing a “cloud of constant scandal” to the political process.

American voters are tired of the intrigue and backbiting that has followed Mrs. Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for the past 25 years, Mr. Rubio said.

“Unfortunately, both under her husband’s presidency, her time in the Department of State, her campaign for the president last time and even now there seems to be this cloud of constant scandal and things that distract us from the core issues of the moment,” the Florida Republian said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Indeed, the Clintons continue to be a magnet for scandal and controversy.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign has been dogged by questions about her exclusive use of a private email account hosted on a private server to conduct official business as secretary of state, likely violating federal open-records laws.

Her campaign also has struggled to put to rest a flap over foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation that created possible conflicts of interest while Mrs. Clinton ran the Department of State.

In the latest twist, a new financial disclosure by her campaign showed that the Clintons together made more than $25 million in speaking fees and Mrs. Clinton earned another $5 million from sales of her book “Hard Choices.”

Their earnings put the Clintons in the top one-tenth of 1 percent of all Americans.

Mr. Rubio, a freshman senator from Florida, said he believes Americans know that the stakes are too high for the country in the 2016 election to let Mrs. Clinton’s “drama” become a distraction.

“I just think that at this hinge moment in our history, where we are asked to make a transition from the past into this new future, with all the challenges and the opportunities of our time that we really — the American people are not at a point now where they are going to be supportive of more drama surrounding the political process,” he said.

Mr. Rubio, 43, also defended his previous characterization of Mrs. Clinton, 67, as a “candidate of yesterday,” saying he was not suggesting the former first lady, senator and top diplomat is too old for the White House.

“It is another way of saying she’s a defender of a status quo at a time when we are in desperate need of transformational policies,” said Mr. Rubio.

He also said Mrs. Clinton represents President Obama’s third term.

“At the end of the day, what she is promising to do — to the extent we know, because she’s not talking to the media — is to continue much of the president’s policies,” he said. “This is not a time for status quo. We need reforms that will make us more globally competitive, that will equip our people with 21st Century skills and that will strengthen America’s role in the world and assume the mantle of leadership again.”

Mr. Rubio is only the latest Republican contender to take a jab at Mrs. Clinton. He is competing in a crowded race for the GOP presidential nomination, while Mrs. Clinton so far faces only token opposition and remains the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Another Republican presidential candidate, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, hit Mrs. Clinton for ducking reporters’ questions for the first month of her campaign.

He said that the same way likely Republican candidate Jeb Bush has been pressed about his views of the Iraq War, Mrs. Clinton should have to provide her view in retrospect of U.S. military support for the revolution in Libya.

“I think the same question, to be fair, ought to be asked of Hillary Clinton, if she ever takes questions,” Mr. Paul said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“They should ask her, was it a good idea to invade Libya? Did that make us less safe? Did it make it more chaotic? Did it allow radical Islam and ISIS [the Islamic State] to grow stronger,” he said. “I think the war in Iraq is a good question and still a current question, but so is the question of should we have gone into Libya.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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