“I thought [Graham] was one of the most forceful voices on any of the debate stages about rebuilding our military. So, we will miss that on the campaign,” Rubio told reporters shortly after Graham announced he would be suspending his presidential campaign.
Rubio was also asked whether he would be seeking Graham’s endorsement.
“It’s probably premature to ask for that. He just got out of the race today,” Rubio answered. “Let’s give him some time to get through the holidays, but we’d love the support of as many people as possible. Certainly, Lindsey, someone who supports national security as strongly as he does, is someone whose support we would welcome.”
Unprompted, Rubio then zeroed in on Paul.
“You have people who want to be commander-in-chief who openly supported what was called a ‘containment budget.' That’s what the Rand Paul budget was called,” he said. "It is -- to me -- something that the next commander-in-chief cannot be for.”
“Rebuilding our military should be a consensus position in our party,” Rubio said. “How anyone could support these defense cuts or even further defense cuts that some of the people running for president have, is for me unfathomable.”
Out on the stump, national security is one of Rubio’s main talking points.
“The number one obligation of the federal government is to keep us safe,” he often says.
Paul and Rubio have gone back and forth at each other in recent weeks. On Friday, Paul called for Rubio to resign his Senate seat for having missed a budget vote. In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS, Rubio shot back.
"I don't want to engage him too much because he's got his own style about him,” Rubio said of Paul, but “he's the only person running who likes politics so much, he's running for two offices at the same time.”