- The Washington Times - Friday, May 29, 2015

David Axelrod, one of the chief strategists for President Obama’s 2008 election and 2012 re-election campaigns, said Friday that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush stand out in the 2016 GOP field because of their ability to make inroads with Latinos.

Mr. Axelrod was asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” if he were advising former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential frontrunner, which Republican candidates or potential candidates scare him the most.

“I would say Rubio and I would say Bush because of their ability to reach into the Hispanic vote,” Mr. Axelrod said. “One of the reasons why Democrats have had an advantage in these national elections is because of the advantage we’ve had with minority voters.”

He pointed out that 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney got 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, while former President George W. Bush won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote in his successful 2004 re-election campaign.

“If they nominate a candidate who can reach into that constituency, the fastest-growing constituency in American politics, they have a chance in states like Colorado and Florida to turn things around,” he said. “So that’s one thing I worry about.”

Mr. Rubio announced last month he is running for president, while Mr. Bush has not formally declared his candidacy yet.

Mr. Axelrod also called Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, a “wild card” in the race.

“He is an interesting guy — he was here the other day in Chicago, in the inner city of Chicago making an appeal to African-American voters,” Mr. Axelrod said. “I don’t know if you can get through the Republican primaries doing what he’s doing, but he’s certainly trying to expand the reach from the traditional Republican appeal.”

Mr. Bush and Mr. Rubio were two of the candidates or potential candidates in a five-way tie for first at 10 percent in a national poll on the 2016 GOP field released this week by Quinnipiac University, with Mr. Paul at 7 percent.

But Mr. Rubio and Mr. Paul came the closest to Mrs. Clinton in head-to-head match-ups. She led Mr. Paul by 4 points, 46 percent to 42 percent, and she led Mr. Rubio by 4 points, 45 percent to 41 percent.

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

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