Rubio blasts Obama dealings with Putin; calls Russia a ‘government of liars’

Sen. Marco Rubio this weekend was sounding a lot like presidential candidate Mitt Romney last fall, branding Russia as an “obstacle to U.S. national interests.”

marcorubiomug0303During an interview with David Gregory on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Rubio expanded on a column he published Saturday on the Politico website demanding President Obama and his administration “acknowledge that its reset with Russia is dead.”

In the column and interview, Rubio was responding to the week’s events in Ukraine, where Russian forces have taken control of Crimea in eastern Ukraine after a pro-Russian government was forced out of office in the Ukraine capital of Kiev. On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin got the rubber-stamp approval of his parliament to send troops into the Ukraine to protect ethnic Russians there.

During an October presidential campaign debate, Obama and Romney clashed over Russia’s potential as a threat to United States, with Romney calling Russia the country’s top international opponent.

In the “Meet the Press” interview, Rubio stopped short of calling Russia an “enemy” of the United States, but didn’t mince words about their record.

“The Russians have basically violated every major international treaty they’ve ever entered into,” Rubio said. “This government is basically a government of liars, this Russian government. … You’re dealing with a government that lies as a matter of course.”

“They are increasingly behaving like an enemy of international peace and international norms.”

In the Politico column, Rubio outlined eight steps he thinks the U.S. should take to deal with Russia, suspending all trade talks with the country and working to expel Russia from the G8 group of the world’s leading economies.

Rubio was appearing on “Meet the Press” not only as a Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but also as a potential presidential candidate in 2016. In response to a question from Gregory, Rubio said he hadn’t committed to a presidential run, but noted his Senate term is up in 2016.

“I’ll have a decision to make either way,” he said.

The almost 10-minute interview dealt mostly with the Russian crisis, but Rubio also touched on unrest in Venezuela and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto of a bill that would have allowed businesses to deny service to customers for religious reasons

Check it out here.

Joe Saunders

Joe Saunders, a 25-year newspaper veteran, is a staff writer and editor for BizPac Review who lives in Tallahassee and covers capital and Florida politics. Email Joe at [email protected].

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