Hurricane Sandy--by eliciting Governor Christie's support for President Obama--may have damaged Mitt Romney's presidential chances. Now it looks like the Superstorm may hurt another Republican: Marco Rubio.
As Politico reported Thursday, weeks after voting against the Hurricane Sandy Relief package, Republican Savior Marco Rubio visited Wall Street to meet with potential donors about a possible 2016 presidential bid--a move that infuriated fellow Republican and New York Rep. Peter King.
“Being from New York we’re not supposed to be suckers,” King told Politicker Thursday. “It’s bad enough that these guys voted against it, that’s inexcusable enough. But to have the balls to come in and say, ‘We screwed you, now make us president?’”
Rubio was one of 36 senators to vote no on the $51 billion relief package meant to provide cash grants to storm disaster victims and funding for reconstruction of mangled coastal areas. He cited the addition of "pet projects" as his reason to vote against the bill.
"I’ve made clear in the past that emergency assistance bills like this should be handled with a sense of urgency and should not be derailed by efforts to find spending cuts to offset them," Rubio said in a statement at the time. "When people are suffering gravely because of natural disasters, every moment we delay is a moment of delayed relief for victims...Unfortunately, the Hurricane Sandy supplemental bill goes far beyond emergency relief to impacted victims and communities, which is why I voted no on final passage."
King doesn't seem to think squabbling over pet projects is enough reason to have voted down a much needed bill for disaster victims. “Rubio and these other Republican candidates are coming to New York to raise money,” he said. “I don’t think any senator or congressman who voted against aid for Sandy should get one nickel from New York.”
Rubio is moving in for more than just a few nickels. The Florida senator reportedly visited Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. CEO Henry Kravis and executives at Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital in recent weeks. Wall Street titans like these are must-have friends for the presidentially ambitious. If Rubio is looking to make a move on 2016, he'll need to capitalize on this "first date," as one anonymous source described it to Politico.
“I cannot see any downside to Rubio moving this early. I can only see the pitfalls of not moving fast enough and having people moving ahead of you,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics.
There is the downside of Rep. King's ire, but it may be a small one compared to the millions of dollars Wall Street donors could potentially pour into a Rubio ticket.
King was also miffed by his party's snub of Chris Christie at the annual CPAC conference. “They are more and more taking on this anti-Northeast attitude,” King said of the GOP. “We say fine, if you want to be anti-Northeast, then the Northeast is going to be anti-them."