Rubio was asked by host Carl Quintanilla if he should resign from his job as Senate, following an editorial from Florida paper, the Sun Sentinel, calling on Rubio to “resign, not rip us off.”
Jeb Bush then interjected, naming himself as a constituent of the senator’s.
Members of Congress missing votes is an oft-cited concern of Bush’s out on the campaign trail. But this time Rubio, who has avoided criticizing Bush on the trail, was prepared with an answer.
“The only reason you're doing it now is because we're running for the same position," he said. "Someone convinced you attacking me is going to help you. Here’s the bottom line, my campaign is going to be about the future of America it’s not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage.”
Rubio has missed 34 percent of his senate votes this year.
The relationship between the two is...complicated.
The two have long shared a mentor-protégée relationship, since they met in 1996. Bush donated to Rubio’s campaign when he ran for local office. After Rubio won his 2010 senate election, Bush said of Rubio, “I’m so proud of his high-voltage energy. I’m so proud of his enthusiasm. I’m so proud of his eloquence. And I’m so proud that he will be a part of a next generation of leaders that will restore America. Marco Rubio is the right man at the right time.”
Rubio, for his part, said of Bush, in a 2012 birthday tribute, according to the New York Times, “Often in the Senate when faced with a tough choice, I ask myself: WWJD. What would Jeb do!”
But now ,young Marco, the Luke Skywalker to Bush’s Darth Vader, has come to pose the greatest threat to his once-mentor. At a donor summit in Texas last weekend, it was clear who Bush’s team considered the greatest threat. In a PowerPoint presentation detailing strategy and campaign plans, Rubio was the only candidate with two slides dedicated to him. One bulletpoint labeled him “a GOP Obama.”
Rubio’s campaign has generally declined to engage Bush, but tonight seemed to be the boiling point, with the sparring between the two Floridians almost surely bound to escalate.