Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio Spar Over Immigration Flip-Flops

The Republican rivals brawl over immigration flip-flops.

ByABC News
January 28, 2016, 10:42 PM

— -- During Thursday’s Donald Trump-less GOP presidential debate, despite the front-runner’s absence, there was no lack of contentiousness -- particularly among rivals Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

The two Floridians engaged in a heated debate over immigration, each criticizing the other for changing their stances.

Fox News co-host Megyn Kelly played a video showing Rubio decrying any effort to grant “blanket legalization amnesty” to undocumented immigrants. Later in 2013, Rubio co-sponsored legislation to create a path to citizenship. Bush, asked if Rubio had reversed himself, was quick to chime in.

“I'm kind of confused because he was the sponsor of the Gang of Eight bill that did require a bunch of thresholds but ultimately allowed for citizenship over an extended period of time. I mean, that's a fact,” Bush said. “Then he cut and run because it wasn't popular amongst conservatives, I guess.”

Rubio immediately fired back.

“It's interesting Jeb mentions the book, that's the book where you changed your position on immigration because you used to support a path to citizenship,” Rubio said.

“So did you,” Bush retorted.

Indeed, before the publication of his 2013 book, "Immigration Wars," Bush supported granting undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. He now supports a path to legal status.

Bush ended the debate, temporarily, by saying that he’s supported a “consensus approach” to the problem of immigration.

The issue is a familiar one for the former friends; the pair worked together on immigration reform when Bush was still governor of Florida. In 2013, Bush praised Rubio for his efforts on immigration reform.