Presidential Profile, Part VII: Marco Rubio still holding on

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a town hall meeting at Southside Christian School in Simpsonville, S.C., Thursday Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida and current presidential candidate, is at a crossroads.

Called robotic, establishment, radical, fresh, polished and unprepared at once by Democrats and Republicans alike, the jury is still out on Rubio heading into the third primary.

Marco Rubio is pro-life, even in cases of rape or incest. He is against gay marriage. He voted in opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act, which mandates equal pay for women in the workplace. He is okay with legalizing medical marijuana, but not recreational.

He believes Planned Parenthood has “created an incentive for people to be pushed into abortions so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit,” and is a proponent of defunding the organization.

He was awarded a B+ rating by the NRA for his defense of gun rights and attacks towards efforts for gun control. He does not believe in global warming or climate change, saying that the issue is nothing more than a distraction from the economic plights of Americans.

“We are not going to make America a harder place to create jobs in order to pursue policies that will do absolutely nothing: nothing to change our climate, to change our weather,” Rubio said. “They [liberals] will not do a thing to lower the rise of the sea. But what they will do is they will make America a more expensive place to create jobs.”

Rubio said he was $100,000 in debt coming out of college. His solution to that problem is for students to be more aware of the loans they’re taking out and to remove the stigma from vocational careers.

“We should be graduating more people from high school ready to work as plumbers, electricians, welders, machinists, BMW technicians, you name it,” Rubio said. “We have too many people graduating with a four-year degree that doesn't lead to jobs. And they owe tens of thousands of dollars. We should tell students if you graduate with a major in Greek philosophy you're going to struggle to find a job because the market for Greek philosophers is tight."

Rubio has positioned himself as a business-friendly conservative who wants to freeze government spending for everything but the defense budget. He has said that he wants to cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent. In addition, he does not think the minimum wage should be increased from its current levels.

Senior Adviser Todd Harris, left, with the Rubio campaign, talks with Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as they look over news reports about the campaign on Harris' cell phone before a town hall meeting at Southside Christian School in Simpsonville, S.C., Thursday Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

According to Rubio, the government should not be involved in giving poor people money, referring to welfare. Rubio voted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, including the cuts to high-earners. As a state representative, Rubio vowed never to raise taxes.

Where Rubio differs from his Republican colleagues is his more nuanced stance on immigration. He has been in favor of giving the children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates. He is of the opinion that immigrant children should not be allowed citizenship, but should have legal status.

He has been quoted as saying an Arizona law allowing profiling may be unfair, as it singles out certain people. Still, Rubio is anti-amnesty in any iteration and does not believe comprehensive immigrant reform to be possible. In the past, he has been in favor of the Republican version of the Dream Act, which would give visas to immigrants who joined the military or went to college.

Rubio does not believe invading Iraq in 2003 was a mistake. The Arab American Institute’s scorecard rated Rubio a -2 with respect to his Arabic and Palestinian voting record, denoting him as anti-Arab and anti-Palestine in terms of past votes.

After coming in a relatively “victorious” third place in the Iowa caucus, Rubio had a poor showing in the last debate leading up to New Hampshire, where New Jersey Governor Chris Christie eviscerated him as unready for executive office.

The New York Times reported of the debate and its aftermath:

“…malfunction Mr. Rubio did, in a disastrous debate performance that sent his popularity plunging and relegated him to fifth place in the [New Hampshire] primary on Tuesday. It is the kind of moment that campaigns turn on, unexpected and unforgettable. And it changed the Republican race in a rapid and powerful way.

Why did he not fight harder against Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who had mercilessly mocked him? Why did he keep repeating the same talking points? Why was he sweating so much?”

At final count, Rubio won 23 percent of the Iowan vote, trailing only Donald Trump at 24 percent and Ted Cruz at 28 percent. New Hampshire, on the other hand, saw Donald Trump win by 20 percentage points, garnering 35.3 percent of the vote.

John Kasich came in second at 15.8 percent, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush each ended up with 11 percent and Rubio finished with 10 percent. Christie polled at eight percent in the New Hampshire primary before dropping out soon after. He may have preemptively taken Rubio with him.


Sten Spinella is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email atsten.spinella@uconn.edu.