Santorum can’t name one Rubio accomplishment in the Senate

Updated

Asked repeatedly to name a single one of Sen. Marco Rubio’s accomplishments while serving five years as a U.S. senator representing Florida, Rick Santorum – who just endorsed the GOP lawmaker after bowing out of the presidential race himself on Wednesday – struggled to come up with any during an appearance Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” 

Santorum floundered right off the bat when asked to list Rubio’s “top accomplishment” while in office. “Well, I mean, I would just say that this is a guy who’s been able to, No. 1, win a tough election in Florida and pull people together from a variety of different spots. This is a guy that I think can work together with people,” he said. “That’s the thing I like about him the most.”

Yet host Joe Scarborough didn’t ask which personal quality of Rubio’s Santorum liked the most. He asked for just one standout accomplishment – so he pressed the former Pennsylvania senator again: “So he can win, but he’s been in the Senate for four years. Can you name his top accomplishment in the Senate, actually working in the Senate doing something that tilted your decision to Marco Rubio?”

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Santorum danced around the question for a second time, concluding that “I guess it’s hard to say there are accomplishments” when a junior senator is working in a government “where nothing gets done.”

“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski called the exchange with Santorum “disturbing.”

Meanwhile, Scarborough brought up the fact that Republicans have been in the Senate majority for the past two years, and asked for a third time: “Can you name one thing that he’s passed in the last two years?” eventually pleading with Santorum to “like one accomplishment – just one, just one – that Marco achieved.”

Santorum then blamed President Obama for Rubio’s lack of accomplishments in the Senate, saying “he spent four years in the United States Senate being frustrated like everybody else that nothing got done, and then you can’t point to him and say nothing got done and therefore he has no accomplishments. The problem is we have a president who doesn’t work with people.”

Eventually, however, Santorum did offer an example of a Rubio achievement, albeit a vague one. 

“Well, I know he included something that went after the insurance companies in the most recent omnibus. He fought for that, to stop bailing out insurance companies. That’s one thing I’m familiar that I just saw recently, ” he said. “But – and again, he was on the campaign trail and accomplished that. The bottom line is there isn’t a lot of accomplishments, Joe, and I just don’t think it’s a fair question to say.”

A Rubio aide asked by NBC to comment on Santorum’s struggle to come up with an accomplishment simply offered a list of examples of legislation Rubio passed and signed into law in recent years, including VA accountability reform and Obamacare bailout. The aide had not yet seen the interview. 

In his endorsement Wednesday, Santorum called Rubio a “born leader” who represents ”the new generation” during an appearance on the Fox News program “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren.” The former senator decided to suspend his campaign just days after the Iowa Caucus – the third Republican to do so this week. 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who joined “Morning Joe” later in the hour, used Santorum’s interview to his advantage, saying flatly, “Rubio hasn’t accomplished one thing in his career.”

The presidential candidate then listed off some of his own accomplishments, adding, “and Rick Santorum can’t name one thing Marco Rubio’s done. I will tell you one thing Marco Rubio’s done – he’s made it very clear on the issue of pro-life – Marco Rubio is not for an exception for rape, incest or the life of a mother. Now, you know, I think that’s the kind of position that New Hampshire voters would be really concerned about.”

Donald Trump’s campaign manager was eager to jump on Santorum’s interview as well, retweeting the “Morning Joe” video early Thursday morning. 

Rick Santorum

Santorum can't name one Rubio accomplishment in the Senate

Updated