The Note: Marco's Moment

PHOTO: Marco Rubio speaks with George Stephanopoulos live on "Good Morning America" in Times Square, New York, Nov. 4, 2015.PlayABCNews
WATCH Marco Rubio Defends Himself Against Attacks Over Personal Finances


--RUBIO DEFLECTS ATTACKS ON PERSONAL FINANCES: Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio defended himself today against attacks over his personal finances, ABC's RYAN STRUYK and INES DELACUETARA note. "I only have one debt in the world, which is my mortgage on a home for me and my family," the Florida senator told ABC's GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS on "Good Morning America." He added that he's also indebted to the United States "because of everything it's made possible for me and my family." Rubio also addressed charges that he had pulled money out of his retirement account to pay living expenses, which he says is inaccurate. And when asked about allegations that he used a Republican Party credit card for personal expenses, which he also said were inaccurate, he said, "Now, I recognize in hindsight, I would do it differently to avoid all this confusion. But the Republican Party never paid a single expense of mine -- personal expense." "Every month, I'd go through it. If it was a personal expense, I paid it. If it was a party expense, the party paid it," he added, saying that he would release the expense reports "soon."

--MORE ON RUBIO'S RISE: The renewed interest in Rubio post-debate is also manifesting itself in other, more convenient ways. His campaign says it has raised over a million dollars since the last debate showdown. Rubio has also won the endorsement of Paul Singer, an influential New York billionaire who is expected to donate millions this election cycle. And on Monday, Rubio received his first Senate endorsement -- that of Sen. Cory Gardner, of Colorado. "I thought Marco did an excellent job of framing what I believe to be what Colorado and this country want, somebody they can be excited about, somebody who is looking forward toward the future, not looking back at the past," Gardner said on Monday. Yesterday, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, became the second senator to endorse Rubio.

--ANALYSIS -- ABC's RICK KLEIN: "Frightening." "Downhill. "Going to hell." "Awful." "Horrible." Those a few of the terms a group of Republican "Walmart moms" -- mothers who have shopped at Walmart at least once in the last month, and who haven't made up their minds for 2016 yet -- used to describe the state of the country in a focus group convened in New Hampshire Tuesday night. They want fewer rights and benefits for immigrants and welfare cheats. They're angry. Donald Trump voters? Not so much -- only two of the 10 moms said they were considering Trump, fewer than are keeping an open mind for Jeb Bush. Marco Rubio seemed to be the choice with the most potential -- on the table as an option for nine of the women in the room, which was livestreamed in Washington for reporters to view. Perhaps as striking, a similar group of Democrats convened the same night in Iowa actually sounded like their GOP counterparts over in that other early-voting state. They're just as disillusioned about politics and the debt -- and only marginally excited about Hillary Clinton's prospects to change course. It all suggests a pessimistic, edgy electorate -- a toxic mix in both parties heading to a critical stretch.

-- HAPPENING TODAY -- IT'S LIKE CHRISTMAS MORNING FOR THE NEW HAMPSHIRE CROWD: Or perhaps more like that day when pitchers and catchers finally report for spring training, ABC's BRAD MIELKE reports. New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner's door is opening to a crowd of candidates filing to get on the ballot in New Hampshire. Martin O'Malley will be the first major candidate to file his paperwork. Donald Trump follows him. One fun fact: when Hillary comes next week, it will be her fourth time filing in Bill Gardner's office. She of course filed in 2008, but also filed on behalf of Bill Clinton in '92 and '96.

HOW BOBBY JINDAL AND CHRIS CHRISTIE COULD MISS THE NEXT DEBATE. We don't know exactly which polls Fox Business is going to use to choose who ends up in the debates now less than one week away. But we do know that the stages could look different than it has before, reports ABC's RYAN STRUYK. After a series of bad national polls for Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor is in danger of missing the mainstage debate if Fox Business chooses to include an Investor's Business Daily poll from last week in its methodology. But on the flip side, Bobby Jindal would likely miss out on the undercard debate if the network chooses to exclude it. The only way the stages will stay the same as before is if Fox Business opts to exclude all three recent IBD/TIPP, NBC/WSJ and Quinnipiac polls from its polling criteria. But if the network chooses to include all three, Mike Huckabee and George Pataki will get bumped from their stages too. Candidates must have an average of 2.5 percent in the four most recent national polls to make the mainstage debate and must hit 1 percent in at least one of them to make the undercard debate.



FIRED UP JEB BUSH SAYS 'WE'RE AMERICANS, DAMN IT!' At a barn in Rye, New Hampshire, Jeb Bush was fired up Tuesday night. "We're Americans, damn it!" he told a crowd, reiterating his position that America is not in decline, but approaching its finest hour. Bush has been repeatedly criticized by Donald Trump for being "low-energy." His voice had been raised almost throughout, ABC's BRAD MIELKE notes. His pace on answers was much faster than usual. Clearly taking advice from those who say they want to see him fighting. "The government is a parasite," Bush said. "We're the host."

GOP CANDIDATES DIVIDED OVER DEBATE DEMANDS. To debate, or how not to debate -- that is the question. The Republican presidential campaigns are struggling to agree on changes to the structure of future primary debates. At a meeting over the weekend, aides for the campaigns appeared to reach consensus and outlined their list of demands and questions in a letter to TV networks. Now that consensus seems to be crumbling, ABC's ALI DUKAKIS reports. Trump and at least three other presidential candidates, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, have said they will not sign the letter to debate sponsors.

POST DEBATE, MARCO RUBIO FINDS MORE TIME FOR SENATE VOTES. Marco Rubio's missed Senate votes have been a subject of criticism on the campaign trail, at the last Republican debate and in the pages of a Florida newspaper. But after a testy exchange with GOP rival Jeb Bush over the issue on stage at the CNBC debate last week, something seems to have changed: in the week after the debate, the Florida senator and presidential candidate has yet to miss a single vote in the Senate. His campaign has already cancelled at least two events for him to be able to make it back to Washington, D.C. Rubio was initially scheduled to discuss Iran and Israel at a private event Tuesday at the Lotos Club in New York. That event was postponed so that Rubio could go vote. And last Friday, he scrapped a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, so that he could vote against the Senate budget bill. As of Oct. 30, Rubio had missed almost 34 percent of Senate votes this year -- a larger share than any other senator, according to data on But over the last week, Rubio has managed a perfect attendance record, ABC's INES DE LA CUETARA notes.


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY HONORED FOR WACKY TWEETS AND VOTING RECORD. It's probably the first time anyone's been honored on the Senate floor for tweeting about Snickers ice cream from Dairy Queen, ABC's ALI WEINBERG writes. But that's exactly the distinction Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is known for his irreverent and sometimes incomprehensible Twitter dispatches, received Tuesday as he was praised for casting his 12,000th vote last week. Of the votes cast over Grassley's career, the last 7,474 of them were consecutive -- the second longest straight voting record in Senate history.


@jaketapper: The smartest people are successful because they're sarcastic, Harvard researchers conclude ...

@samsteinhp: Tough to remember last night - when we marveled at how off the polls were - amid the never ending twitter discussion of new poll numbers

@nycjim: Totally worth reading: Sidney Blumenthal just wanted to stay in the conversation. Now he's once again the topic.

@politicoroger: Why are the candidates so afraid of the press? My latest column:

@thegarance: "Ben Carson doesn't understand how the debt ceiling, the budget, or interest rates work" via @FortuneMagazine