The super PAC backing Jeb Bush for president is ratcheting up its attacks on Marco Rubio with a new ad that skewers him for his use of the Florida Republican Party credit card for personal expenses and declares "he's just not ready to be president."
It's notably the first time an opponent has used the credit card scandal in an attack ad, and it threatens to revive a scandal that Rubio and his allies long ago thought they had put to bed. The new spot comes less than a week out from the Iowa caucuses, and just as Rubio may be gaining some momentum in time for the vote.
The ad opens with shots of a family with kids while a narrator ticks off a list of things Rubio paid for with the party credit card: "Car repairs, home improvements, a family trip."
"It's not easy to afford them," the narrator continues. "What did Marco Rubio do? He put $22,000 in personal expenses on a Republican Party credit card."
The ad charges that "Rubio's bad judgment caused a scandal, and for five years Rubio refused to release the credit card records." And it closes with a litany of attacks lobbed at Rubio in recent weeks by his opponents.
"Marco Rubio: Skipping major votes, all over the place on immigration, bad judgment — he's just not ready to be president."
Alex Conant, Rubio's communications director, hit back in a statement calling Bush "a desperate establishment politician reaching for new lows in order to save himself."
"It's pathetic that Jeb Bush's PAC would recycle this false attack that the establishment flopped with in 2010. Jeb Bush endorsed Marco in 2010 and recommended him to be vice president in 2012 knowing these issues are totally false and discredited," he said.
Rubio has acknowledged his use of a Florida Republican Party credit card for personal expenditures, totaling just over $22,000, all of which he said he reimbursed American Express himself.
Late last year his campaign released two years of credit card records in hopes of dismissing lingering questions over his credit card use, which dogged him during his 2010 Senate run and were reignited by his GOP primary opponents late last year.