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Sen. Rubio Says He Could Run For President Even If Jeb Bush Does

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
J. Scott Applewhite
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says he could decide to run for president even if former Florida GOP Gov. Jeb Bush announces a presidential run.

"We certainly know a lot of the same people, we also know some different people," Rubio told NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview that airs New Year's Day. "I don't believe if I decide to run for president that that will be an impediment."

Earlier this month, Bush said he was "actively" exploring a presidential run.

Rubio said while he had not made a final decision on a presidential run, "we're closer to a decision than we were a month ago."

The two men worked together closely when Bush was governor and Rubio was a rising star in state politics.

Rubio, a first-term senator, is widely viewed as a contender for the GOP presidential nomination. He's a favorite of the party's conservative wing and is a critic of President Obama's policies — from immigration to foreign policy.

In an interview on NPR this week, Obama criticized what he called "a nativist trend" in parts of the Republican Party on the issue of immigration. The president's effort to pass comprehensive immigration legislation remains stuck in Congress.

Rubio co-sponsored a Senate immigration bill that, among other things, included a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally. The GOP-controlled House did not take up the measure. Obama's recent executive actions on immigration make any near-term progress on the issue unlikely.

Rubio told Inskeep that Obama's use of the term "nativist" to describe opposition to the president's immigration plan is "inaccurate and unwise."

"There are very legitimate reasons to believe that this country has a right to have immigration laws and to have those laws respected," he said.

The GOP senator also criticized Obama's push for a nuclear deal with Iran, saying that the Republican veto-proof majority in the upcoming Congress will "require the administration to come before Congress for approval of any deal."

Obama, in his interview with NPR, sounded more conciliatory toward Iran than many past presidents. Iran and the U.S. — along with Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — are negotiating over the Islamic republic's nuclear program. The talks resume in Geneva on Jan. 15 despite significant differences between the sides.

Rubio said he was prepared to vote for additional sanctions on Iran today "because I don't believe there is the prospect for a deal." He said decisions in Iran are made by that country's conservative supreme leader and not those negotiating with the U.S. and its partners.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.
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