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MTP: Rubio Says Jeb Bush Doesn't Factor Into 2016 Decision

On NBC's Meet the Press, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) praises former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) but says he doesn't factor into his 2016 decision-making.
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Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida says it won’t stop him from campaigning for the White House if former Gov. Jeb Bush decides to run.

“What you have to make your decision is not who else is running, it’s on whether you think it’s the right place to achieve your agenda and serve your country,” Rubio said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If I make that decision that that’s the right place for me to serve at this moment in my life, I’ll run for president.”

Bush, also a Republican, said last week that he will “actively explore” whether to run. Rubio said that Bush would make a “very credible and strong” candidate.

The senator continued his week-long attack on President Barack Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, saying that the president gave away his leverage.

“Our goal for is liberty and freedom for the Cuban people, and my opposition to what the president has done is that it won’t do anything to further that cause,” Rubio said. “If I was president, what I would have done is I would have actively and vibrantly engaged democracy activists inside the island of Cuba who of all — many of whom wanted changes Cuba policy — but who all feel betrayed by this president. He completely ignored them and threw them to the side.”

He went on to say that Obama’s action made it harder to achieve democracy in Cuba because the United States would be providing funding for an oppressive regime to continue its actions.

Rubio also addressed a rant against him by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Twitter over Cuba policy.

“Look, if Rand Paul wants to align himself and become a supporter of the Obama foreign policy, particularly towards Cuba, he has a right to do that,” Rubio said. “My interest here is singular and that is freedom and democracy for the people of Cuba.”

— Chandler Schlegel