MIAMI – Presidential candidate Marco Rubio says that he has more experience than President Barack Obama did when he won the White House in 2008, even though both launched presidential campaigns as first term senators.
“There are some significant differences between his biography and mine,” Rubio told msnbc in an interview early Tuesday morning before flying to Washington to attend a congressional hearing on Iran. “We both served in the state legislatures, he as a back-bencher in the minority, me as the Speaker of House in the third-largest state in the country.”
He pointed out he will have served six full years in the Senate if he’s elected in 2016; President Obama had served four years when he was elected in 2008.
Rubio announced his presidential bid Monday at Miami’s Freedom Tower, where he focused on generational change and insisted he’s the candidate who represents the future instead of the past.
“Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday,” Rubio said in the speech — referring to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who announced her campaign on Sunday.
Rubio’s overall message could also apply to Jeb Bush, his friend and near-neighbor, who is from the same generation as Clinton. In his announcement speech, Rubio alluded to the pending clash: “I have heard some suggest that I should step aside and wait my turn. But I cannot.”
In the interview, though, Rubio largely declined to expand his generational criticism to include Jeb Bush, telling msnbc that voters will have a chance to evaluate the differences among a wide Republican field.
“There’s other candidates in this race and I think voters are going to have a chance to compare all of us,” he said. “I honestly believe that this country is at a generational moment, where it needs to decide what kind of country does it want to be in the 21st century.”