Tags: Trump Administration | GOP2016 | Jeb Bush | Marco Rubio | MidPoint | Ron Christie | Marco Rubio

Ron Christie: Rubio May Fight Mentor Jeb Bush for 2016 Votes

By    |   Monday, 13 April 2015 07:38 PM

Hostilities could erupt between two friendly Florida Republicans who will likely face off in the 2016 presidential primaries — especially if Sen. Marco Rubio plays the new-blood card against his politically connected mentor, former Gov. Jeb Bush, says GOP political strategist Ron Christie.

"Gov. Bush, of course, is the establishment: his father was president; his brother was president," the CEO of Christie Strategies told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV on Monday.

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"Where some of the sparks might fly," said Christie, "is Rubio may be taking a couple shots at the Republican establishment — saying, 'You know, I'm not Washington. I'm not all about those folks in Washington, D.C. I'm a fresh face. I'm a new face on the scene, unlike my opponent, whose family has been in politics for decades.' "

Rubio, who joined the race on Monday, and Bush, who is expected to jump in soon, are personally close and have "immense respect for each other," said Christie.

"I can't imagine that neither of the two would have picked up the phone to say, 'You know what? You're in this. I'm jumping in. Let's talk about the issues. Let's see how we can distinguish each other. Let's see where we can form ranks together,' " said Christie.

At the same time, Rubio, 43, is also competing with two fellow Republican senators — Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky — for the voters to Bush's right, who see Bush as a champion of amnesty for illegal immigrants and of federally imposed Common Core educational standards.

"I look at them as sort of the three folks that are vying for the tea party angle, for the Republican base and the conservatives," said Christie.

But the "elephant in the room" is how Rubio distinguishes himself from Bush, said Christie, a contributing writer for The Daily Beast and former staffer for Vice President Dick Cheney.

Both have strong ties to the country's increasingly important Hispanic electorate — Rubio as the son of Cuban immigrants, Bush as the spouse of a Mexican native, and both as statewide officeholders in ethnically diverse Florida.

"They both speak fluent Spanish," said Christie. "They both know how to articulate, obviously, their message in a different language other than English."

They also share sympathies on immigration reform that could hurt them with conservative primary voters — Bush for calling illegal immigration an "act of love" and Rubio for helping to write a reform bill to establish a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens.

Rubio has since backed away from the bill, saying it fails to put border security first. Christie said that can't be Rubio's last word on the subject.

"He's going to have to come out and say, 'I made a mistake. I made a mistake in going too far and pushing for too much, too soon, as it relates to immigration, and here's a better plan,'" said Christie.

"He better sure as heck have a good immigration plan and a better solution than his first go-round a couple years ago," he added.

"If I'm on the right of Marco Rubio, that's exactly what I'd come out and repeatedly hit him on," said Christie, "and say, ' You're out of touch with what the American national security and immigration needs are, Sen. Rubio. You're 43 years old. Why don't you stay in the Senate a little longer and learn something?' "

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Hostilities could erupt between two friendly Florida Republicans who will likely face off in the 2016 presidential primaries - especially if Sen. Marco Rubio plays the new-blood card against his politically connected mentor, former Gov. Jeb Bush, says GOP political...
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Monday, 13 April 2015 07:38 PM
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