Neatly following the “11th Commandment” widely attributed to Ronald Reagan that “thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio took a pass on hitting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday.
Asked by Bob Schieffer on CBS News “Face the Nation” to weigh in on the overblown scandal revolving around the partial closure of the George Washington Bridge that’s occupied national political reporters for the past week, Rubio politely demurred.
“Do you think [Christie’s] still a viable candidate if he decides he does want to seek the Republican presidential nomination?” Schieffer asked.
“I think it would be a mistake for me and others like me to comment,” Rubio said. “First of all, we don’t know all the facts. I think this is a story that’s still developing and we should reserve judgment.”
It was a pat answer, and pretty obviously rehearsed, but Rubio knows the audience he’s playing to. Christie might or might not run for the 2016 GOP nomination. Rubio might or might not be running against him, If there ever does come a time to address the Christie bridge question – in, say, a Republican primary where anyone actually cares about commuting times between Fort Lee and Manhattan – Rubio will have had plenty of time to rehearse even more. However he feels about Christie, Rubio has to know giving the story any more fuel at this point will only help Democrats and their media wing.
But when Schieffer asked about the new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates that cast such an unflattering light on the Obama administration, Rubio had no such restraint.
The book portrays Vice President Joe Biden as the buffoon most conservatives have always thought him to be — and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the callous, cold and calculating schemer any thinking American, conservative or not, already knows about.
“I don’t think we can ignore what’s in that book, and I think for many of us it confirms our worst fears,” Rubio said.
“And that is that this is an administration full of people that either have the wrong convictions or, in the case of former Secretary Clinton, lack the courage of her convictions.”
As to the big question of whether he has decided on a presidential run himself, Rubio said only that he would likely announce a decision by this time next year about whether he would run for re-election to the Senate, seek another office or “becoming a private citizen.”
As Jay Leno said about Christie, “he’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it.”
Check the Rubio interview here.
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