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Rubio is the GOPer Democrats fear most, says former Obama aide

Dan Pfeiffer, a former White House communications director, called the Florida senator the "most broadly appealing GOP candidate."
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at a campaign event, Oct. 8, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nev. (Photo by John Locher/AP)
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at a campaign event, Oct. 8, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nev.

Top Democrats think Marco Rubio is the Republican with the best chance to beat them next year, according to one former high-level aide to President Obama.

“There is no question that Rubio is the Republican that Democrats fear most,” Dan Pfeiffer, who served as White House communications director, wrote in an op-ed for CNN.

Pfeiffer wrote that his assessment was a summary of the beliefs of fellow Democratic political professionals who worked to elect Obama. It's in sync with the views of plenty of pundits and political analysts of all stripes, who seized on Rubio's strong performance in the last Republican debate to declare him the GOP's most effective candidate.  

Pfeiffer said for a Republican to win, he or she will have to have a broader appeal than Mitt Romney did in 2012. He cited a recent Washington Post article that said if the Republican nominee gets the same share of the white vote as Romney did —59% —he or she would need 30% of the non-white vote.

That would be a tall order, but Pfeiffer said Rubio could likely come closest. 

“Rubio is also the most broadly appealing GOP candidate and would have the best shot to close the non-white vote gap with the Democrats,” Pfeiffer wrote.

Rubio currently stands in third place among GOP candidates, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, receiving support from 11% of the Republican primary voters polled. Above him are Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who Pfeiffer says are not as threatening to Democrats.

“No Democrat anywhere has spent any time worrying about Ben Carson becoming president of the United States,” Pfeiffer wrote. 

He was less dismissive of Trump, saying he has a strength in dominating the conversation on online.

But Pfeiffer said if Trump is the nominee, it will be easy for Democrats to motivate the “‘Obama Coalition’ of Latinos, young voters, African Americans and women."

As for Jeb Bush, Pfeiffer was scathing.

"If the Democrats were to design their perfect candidate to take on Hillary Clinton in a Weird Science-style lab, it would be Jeb Bush," he wrote, adding: "Team Obama was mystified late last year when the political cognoscenti gushed over Jeb Bush's political skills and electability."