Hot Air exclusive: Marco Rubio

Earlier today, I had an opportunity for an exclusive video interview with Florida’s Speaker, Marco Rubio, who is running for the US Senate to replace the retiring Mel Martinez.  Rubio will attend a fundraiser thrown for him by Governor Tim Pawlenty this afternoon at the Minneapolis Club, where Rubio met with me for this seventeen-minute conversation.  With the arrest of Jim Greer shaking up Florida politics and the state’s ringside seat to the disaster in the Gulf, we had plenty to discuss, and Rubio didn’t hold back.

  • On Greer, Rubio noted that the arrest of the former party chair was a personal tragedy for Greer’s family, but that Greer did a tremendous amount of damage to the party — and that Charlie Crist has to be held accountable for his role in securing and defending Greer’s position.  Rubio says he wants to talk about issues in the campaign, but also about accountability.
  • Rubio slammed the Obama administration for its fumbled and lackadaisical response to the Gulf oil spill.  However, he also warned that America needs to drill in the Gulf, because if we don’t, other nations will — such as China, Russia, and others.  We also need to start working on land-based exploration and retrieval, where those can be done much more safely.  American innovation will eventually generate breakthroughs in renewable, mass-production energy, but in the meantime we need to use our resources rather than stuff the pockets of regimes hostile to the US.
  • He declared himself “borderline outraged” over the treatment Israel has received from the Obama administration this past week.  Rubio strongly objected to the approval of the UN Security Council resolution that condemned the loss of life, and even more the pressure coming from the White House for Israel to end the blockade.  Rubio defended Israel and sharply criticized Turkey for its role in the incident.  I pressed him on whether this incident should have the West reconsidering its reliance on Turkey as a military ally.  Rubio didn’t go that far, but said that Turkey needed to decide whether to continue sliding towards Islamism or recover the secular nature of its government — and quit supporting terrorist-linked organizations.

There is plenty more, so be sure to watch it all.  As I was leaving, I ran into John Hinderaker of Power Line, who was about to conduct a pen-and-paper interview with Rubio, so be sure to keep checking in with them as well.