- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New Hampshire Democrats are taking aim at Sen. Marco Rubio over missing votes on Capitol Hill in order to campaign for president.

Mr. Rubio, a 2016 GOP presidential contender, has missed more than 80 votes since the beginning of the year and that record has come under fire from some of his GOP rivals, including Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Mr. Rubio brushed aside the criticism Wednesday from his fellow Republicans during a campaign stop in New Hampshire.

“These votes that are happening in the Senate, we are not going to be able to make a difference unless we have a new president, and a better president,” Mr. Rubio said. “That is why I am running for president and that’s why am out there everyday campaigning.”

He continued, “When I miss votes in Washington it is because I am running for president because I believe we can’t get this country moving in the right direction unless we have the right person in the White House.”

The Rubio campaign also pointed out that previous White House hopefuls — including Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. John McCain — missed a lot of votes in previous presidential elections.

But the New Hampshire Democratic Party said Mr. Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator and dinged him for failing to show up to vote for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, or for the continuing spending resolution that kept the government running through mid-December and included money for Planned Parenthood.

(Mr. Rubio opposes the Export-Import Bank, as well as federal funding for Planned Parenthood).

“Leadership is about taking a stand and following through,” New Hampshire Democrats said in a news release. “But your record proves you do neither.”

Mr. Rubio this year has missed 84 votes, according to a Washington Times tally, compared to 66 for Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, 62 for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and six for Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky — the three other Republican senators seeking the party’s nomination.

Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, and independent who is running for the Democratic nomination, has missed nine votes.

Sergio Gor, spokesman for Mr. Paul, said his boss “takes his obligation to vote very seriously and believes for a legislator it is the most consequential constitutional duty.”

“He’s fulfilling his obligation to the people that elected him, and believes those who take voting for granted fail to represent their constituents who put them in office,” Mr. Gor said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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