Following on the heels of endorsements from Grover Norquist and House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Marco Rubio’s campaign announced Tuesday that Rubio has accepted an invitation to appear on Fox News Sunday to debate Charlie Crist March 28.
The Rubio camp says this will be the first debate of Florida’s GOP primary campaign for U.S. Senate between Crist and Rubio. It’s not clear yet whether Crist will accept the invitation.
Rubio also had a conference call Tuesday with mostly online media to discuss the campaign’s latest makeover — called Stimulus Bomb, the drive asks people to donate to Rubio’s senate campaign with a goal of raising $1,000 for every billion the stimulus has added to the debt — and take other questions. One day away from the Feb. 10 deadline, which marks the one-year anniversary of Crist joining with Obama to support the stimulus, Rubio’s Stimulus Bomb drive had raised $482,000 towards its $787,000 goal.
When asked Tuesday if some of these endorsements could hurt rather than help him (specifically Norquist’s endorsement), Rubio said that people are buying into the agenda of his campaign, but that should not be seen as the Rubio campaign buying into theirs. Rubio said endorsements from people like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Pence are coming because these people are committed to what Rubio’s campaign is about: conservative principles like limited government and free enterprise.
“We can fix everything that’s wrong without walking away from everything that’s right,” Rubio said.
One writer brought up his readers’ concern whether Rubio would stick to the conservative ideas he’s espoused or go rogue in the style of Crist.
“It is the question I get the most on the road,” Rubio said, and added he realizes everyone is always “one bad day, one bad decision” away from ruining everything he or she ever built. He believes part of the solution to staying true to his grassroots as a senator is by surrounding himself with the right people, people who remind him every day why he ran.
“I know that all of us run that risk,” Rubio said about becoming a Washington insider.
On the health care front, Rubio said he would applaud an effort by Florida’s attorney general to bring the mandatory nationalized health care issue to the courts, should a bill pass and become law. He also hopes Obama’s upcoming meeting with Republicans isn’t just a negotiation of how much government takeover there will be in health care.
Right now, Rubio and his ideas are winning in the polls. He leads by 3 points over Crist in the latest Quinnipiac poll released Jan. 26.