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Debate Recap: Rubio “Projected More Nervousness Than Confidence”

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What Floridians saw last night was a rattled Rubio uncomfortably attempting to explain why a man he doesn’t trust with nuclear weapons should be Commander-in-Chief.

Rubio fell back on robotic repetition when he refused to rule out running for President in 4 years and was unable to even acknowledge basic scientific facts on climate change. Perhaps worst of all, Rubio refused to provide a straightforward answer when asked if there was anything Trump could say or do that would lead him to renounce his support. As always, the only thing Marco Rubio truly cares about is himself.

Here are just a few of the headlines from last night:

Washington Post: The Daily 202: Rubio buffeted by Trump headwinds in Florida: “Marco Rubio did not want to sound robotic during last night’s Florida Senate debate in Orlando… So the Republican carefully rehearsed several phrases to express disagreement and unease with Donald Trump – while simultaneously explaining why he continues to support him for president….Rubio debated last night like a guy who believes he really could lose. He projected more nervousness than confidence… He went farther than ever before in committing to serve a full six-year term, although he still dodged on whether he would run for president in 2020.”

Orlando Sentinel: Murphy and Rubio spar over Trump, Pulse shootings in Orlando debate: “Both candidates were asked about the Pulse shooting and what should be done in response, with Murphy calling for background check expansions and preventing people on the terror watch list from buying guns. Murphy criticized Rubio for voting against those measures and instead introducing his own bill, which he called a ‘sham’ that requires an unreachable level of proof in order to ban a gun purchase. ‘He doesn't know what's in his own bill,’ Murphy said.” 

Politico:  Rubio pledges to serve full term - 'God willing': “Asked for a fourth time if he planned on serving out his term, Rubio said: ‘I'm going to be a Senator for the next six years on behalf of the state of Florida. You can't be a Senator and President at the same time. So I am running for the United States Senate. I'm going to serve six years, God willing.’...Rubio ran for president for much of 2015 before dropping out after losing the Florida primary in March of this year. He originally said he wouldn't run for reelection in 2016, but changed his mind this summer.” 

PolitiFact: Fact-checking the U.S. Senate debate between Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy: “What Murphy originally said in a September ad is that Rubio does not believe those women should have a right to an abortion if they suspect their baby may suffer from Zika-related birth defects. Rubio had been the one who confirmed that stance in an August story in Politico. Rubio then disputed it in his Spanish-language ad in October. Unless Rubio has changed his stance and not spoken about it publicly, Murphy portrayed Rubio’s stance correctly.” 

Miami Herald: Rubio, Murphy trade barbs in first Senate debate: “Over 57 heated minutes, Murphy, the Democratic challenger, repeatedly attacked Rubio for his absenteeism during his first term as U.S. Senator and for his continued support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.” 

Associated Press: Marco Rubio, Patrick Murphy debate for US Senate seat: “In May, only about a month before Rubio made a last minute decision to run for reelection, he tweeted, ‘I have only said, like 10,000 times, I will be a private citizen in January.’ In addition to Rubio’s reluctance to run initially, he had a poor attendance record during his first term, which Murphy has attacked. Murphy resumed this attack Monday and pushed Rubio to promise that, if elected, he would not run for president in 2020.”

Florida Politics: Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy trade blows in first debate: “Murphy continued to hit Rubio on Trump, pointing out Trump’s violation of the Cuba embargo, asking Rubio where his ‘courage’ is in not standing up to Trump...The moderators wouldn’t let Rubio off the hook, though, bringing up the barrage of sexual assault claims against Trump, and asking how he would explain that to children.”

Politico: In first Senate debate, Rubio's attacks extend beyond Murphy: “Toward the end of the debate, Rubio bristled when Murphy continually criticized the senator for opposing abortion rights. Once again, Rubio passively invoked Trump’s “outrageous behavior” and tried to link it to Murphy.” 

WTSP: Rubio, Murphy hammer each other in first Senate debate: “‘Senator, if you can't stand up to Donald Trump as a candidate, how in the world are you going to stand up to him as president of the United States?’ Murphy said. ‘Trump wants to be buddies with Vladimir Putin, says there's nothing wrong with him, says he's a strong leader. You should know better than that. We're both on the intelligence committee. The difference is, I show up.’” 

CBS Miami: Marco Rubio Debates Challenger Patrick Murphy For Senate Seat: “This was a very high stakes debate. The gap has narrowed in the polls recently. Some polls have Rubio ahead by as much as eight points, another by just two.” 

WJXT: Rubio, Murphy clash in debate for US Senate seat: “Murphy noted that Rubio continues to back the GOP presidential candidate despite having called him a "con man" whom he doesn't trust with the nuclear codes and despite derogatory comments by Trump about women, Mexicans, disabled people and veterans." 

Palm Beach Post: Rubio, Murphy battle in debate over ties to presidential nominees: “‘I don’t understand how Sen. Rubio can look himself in the mirror and still stand by Donald Trump’s side,’ Murphy said….Murphy, though, ridiculed Rubio for having cited the June shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando for helping inspire him to seek a second term in the Senate. Rubio, who is backed by the National Rifle Association, has failed to support measures that would reduce gun violence, Murphy said.”

Orlando Political Observer:  Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy come out swinging at first Florida Senate debate: “The biggest exchange of the night between the two candidates came over the issue of immigration. Murphy said that Rubio turned his back on immigrants by leaving behind his work on the ‘Gang of 8’ for reform and saying he flip-flopped on the issues for his Presidential run.” 

Huffington Post: Marco Rubio Won’t Discuss Climate Change At Florida Senate Debate: “Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Monday refused to acknowledge the effects of climate change on his home state, bolstering his denial of climate change by arguing that policies to curb emissions are bad for the economy. South Florida, including Rubio’s hometown of Miami, is already threatened by rising ocean waters caused by climate change. But at a Senate debate with his re-election challenger, the incumbent again doubted the existence of climate change.” 

Sun Sentinel: Patrick Murphy gains more out of debate than Marco Rubio | Opinion: “He hit Rubio hard several times, especially on gun control. The debate was held not far from the scene of the Pulse shooting massacre and Murphy ripped Rubio for voting against a bill that would have banned people on the no-fly list from buying guns. ‘You’re one of the most anti-gay senators in the country,’ Murphy said in reference to Pulse, which is a gay nightclub. ‘You did nothing to prevent the tragedies from happening.’”  

WOKV Jacksonville: Rubio, Murphy spar over records, presidential candidates in Senate debate: “‘We must close the terrorist loophole; we must expand background checks to ensure that these weapons aren’t getting in the wrong hands,’ Murphy said. ‘These are things that are supported by the vast majority of Americans; the vast majority of gun owners.’” 

Orlando Weekly: Rubio and Murphy battle it out in first Senate debate: “Rubio, the Republican incumbent U.S. senator, was attacked repeatedly by Murphy, a Jupiter Democrat, for his continued support of his party's nominee, Donald Trump. In the wake of an audio tape where Trump bragged about kissing and groping women without consent, several women have come forward and accused the nominee of sexual assault.” 

Florida Politics: Who won in Marco Rubio-Patrick Murphy debate? Florida voters: “Time and again Murphy accused Rubio of not showing up – of having the worst record in the Senate, and the worst for a Florida senator in 50 years – and pointed to his own 97 percent attendance record.” 

WESH: Rubio, Murphy face off in debate at the University of Central Florida: "’We can do so much more, but you’ve got to show up for work,’ said Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a U.S. Senate candidate… Rubio, the man who said he would not run for re-election, then changed his mind, said in this debate he would serve for six years, if re-elected.” 

The Hill: Rubio: I'm going to serve full six-year term - 'God willing': “Karl interjected to clarify whether that means Rubio won’t run launch another presidential campaign for the 2020 cycle. Rubio ended his 2016 presidential campaign after losing his home state in the GOP primary, and launched a reelection campaign shortly after.” 

Salon: Marco Rubio won’t rule out 2020 presidential run: “I’m going to serve in the Senate for the next six years, God willing”: “However, asked explicitly if he’d serve a full term, Rubio four times repeated the phrase: ‘I’m going to serve in the Senate for the next six years, God willing.’”