Clay and Buck

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Sen. Rubio Joins Us the Day After His Debate Drubbing of Val Demings

19 Oct 2022

CLAY: We have Senator Rubio with us right now. Senator, appreciate you taking the time. I know it’s a busy sprint here, as we said, 20 days out from Election Day. You had your debate yesterday or last evening with Val Demings. We’ve played some of the highlights of that, and as we break down this final 20 days, Senator, what are you seeing on the ground and what do you expect to see over these next three weeks?

SEN. RUBIO: Well, first of all, about last night, I thought she, frankly… I mean, it’s… I’ve done a lot of these debates, but I thought she was the easiest one. I mean, she was awful, I thought. I mean, she had no depth of knowledge on any of these things, and the host really (audio drop) that kind of stuff, but (audio drop) host. I mean, you can even see it in the tone that he asked the question. So, they tried to help her and it didn’t matter. So I think (audio drop) for the first time, I think, saw her speak at depth, kind of realized, you know, what an extremist she is and a lightweight on a lot of these issues. So I think that’s going to be very helpful down the stretch here.

But, frankly, I mean, for us at this point, I feel like there’s a lot of energy and surge. Joe Biden and the Democrats control the country. And, in the last two years, everything’s worse. Inflation’s worse, gas prices, five million people have come across the border illegally. Crime is surging across the country. Why would they? Why would anyone in their right mind want to leave the same people in charge that have done that over two years to our country? So I think that’s why you’re seeing not just in Florida, really, but across the country, there’s a growing realization that we could be headed toward something pretty big here — if, of course, our voters come out and vote. That’s the key.

BUCK: Senator Rubio, I wanted to ask you if you could just tell us when you have the Biden administration coming out today giving a speech specifically on gas prices, it just feels like whiplash at this point. I mean, he came into office two years ago canceling Keystone and sending all these signals about how fossil fuels were terrible. And climate change, he wanted unprecedented and got unprecedented spending for Green New Deal-style programs in what they’re calling an Inflation Reduction Act. It doesn’t actually reduce inflation, but that’s par for the course for this administration. And now he’s basically saying, “Gas companies, just lower your prices or else. And maybe we’ll ask some other countries to produce more oil for us.” Like, it just doesn’t seem to make sense.

SEN. RUBIO: No, it doesn’t look. I mean… (chuckles) I mean, I think this is a combination of ideological extremism that controls their party and incompetence. Even Democrat economists told them, “If you put $1.9 trillion into this economy, you’re going to have inflation.” Okay? On top of that, the common sense that tells you if we’re not producing enough oil and other countries decide to cut back, there’s going to be less oil and the price is going to go up. So we now find ourselves in this position that he’s put us in, which is unbelievable, and that is we can’t produce any more oil because the lefties are going to go nuts, as they do, in his own party.

So, we can’t produce any more oil. So we find ourselves begging on our knees for the Saudis to produce more oil at the same time as he’s depleting our strategic reserves. That’s the other piece that no one is understanding. Every week now he’s releasing from our strategic reserves. They are now dangerously low, the lowest I think they’ve been since the early eighties. That strategic reserve is there for, like, a war for an emergency. It’s not there to win midterms for the Democrats, and so it’s just… You know, you say it makes no sense. It doesn’t. But I mean, it makes sense for them politically because they’ve got their base that will go bonkers if they produce more oil. But they’re apparently okay if they get it from Saudi Arabia.

CLAY: Senator, let’s presume that that Republicans take the House and the Senate, because I think that’s the way things are trending — and certainly, we’re still 20 days out, but let’s presume that happens. What do you think the first thing the Republican Congress should address in your mind?

SEN. RUBIO: Well, there’s no doubt in my mind. The first thing we have to deal with is the economy. And I actually think a Republican win in the midterms is going to have a positive economic impact. Just that alone, I believe, will change sort of the way the markets behave and so forth. But the first thing we have to start doing… There’s two things we need to do in the Senate. In particular, we need to stop more crazy people from being nominated and appointed (audio drop) do.

I think when it comes overall, I think we need to pass things that make sense that people understand, more oil production, things that will bring manufacturing back to this country and away from China. Obviously, make it very clear that we’re not going to be spending any more government money to juice up inflation — all the things that need to be done — and then dare him to veto it. And he might. (audio drop) he doesn’t want to win reelection, you know, and things of that nature, then he might. But dare him to veto those things, and dare Democrats to stand in the way of it. (garbled audio)

BUCK: We’re speaking to Senator Marco Rubio, for everybody, of Florida. And the Biden administration going into this election obviously doesn’t have a particularly compelling narrative. And there are a number of candidates who are hiding from the American people. I mean, your opponent at least did show up on a debate stage. (chuckles) So, there’s that. There are some others who are avoiding debates altogether. Is the crime issue — from what you talk to people about — after the economy, the single biggest mobilizer that you’re seeing in this election or is it immigration? We know economy is, far and away, number one. But what’s the number two issue based on what the people of Florida are telling you when you’re out there talking to them?

SEN. RUBIO: Yeah. Let me tell you; you look at these polls, they say crime, the economy, inflation. I mean, they say the talk about inflation, the economy, jobs. That’s all one issue — economics — and people are very worried about it. They think we’re heading towards a recession. So that clearly is on top of everyone’s mind. Now, in Florida, we don’t have crazy people in charge of our state government. We have a good governor. We’ve got a great state legislature as well, and so crime is an issue like it is anywhere else. But we do watch on television what’s happening all over the country and all these major cities and the meltdown going on.

And we do have crime here as well and (audio drop). And we are deeply impacted by immigration. We have had 5 million people in just two years enter this country illegally, 2 million in the last 12 months alone. That’s 5000 people a day, okay? And we carry a lot of that burden here in the state of Florida. So does Texas, Arizona, and places like that, that Florida does. So those are clearly dominant issues. And then I think the broader sense, if you wrap it all together, in the broader sense is that if these same people stay in power for a couple more years, they’re going to destroy the country. So to me, that is sort of the underlying theme that’s driving a lot of people to vote, hopefully for Republican candidates. So we could at least put a stop to this not and then hopefully begin to do some good things for the country.

CLAY: No doubt. Senator, when you look at it… Buck mentioned the crime, the border, inflation. All of these things are of massive importance. People out there who aren’t in Florida, ‘cause I think you’re going to beat your opponent pretty handily — and certainly everybody in Florida needs to go vote. But how much difference…? You’ve been in the Senate for a while now, and I think it’s important to hammer this home to people all over the country who are listening to us. How much difference is there being in the majority or the minority in the Senate for you, having been on both sides of that equation?

SEN. RUBIO: Well, there’s a lot. First of all, I give you one example. These agencies are much more responsive, and they don’t just ignore you or blow you off. They may not do what you want, but you can at least get answers and create some real pressure on them if you’re in the majority. That’s number one. In the Senate, the practical reality of the majority is Biden can’t all of a sudden nominate some lunatic or a Marxist, as has happened now over the last couple of years, to these key positions on his cabinet or (audio drop). That’s a reality. The third is you don’t have a Chuck Schumer controlling what comes to the floor, what we’re voting on, what we’re….

So we don’t have to worry about wasting weeks and weeks of time debating how we’re going to fix a fake voter suppression crisis or how we’re going to deal with a Inflation Reduction Act that has nothing to do with inflation. I mean, those terrible things don’t come to pass. They’re not forced upon us on the floor as showboats or, in many cases, as actual legislation we’re not constantly being threatened with, they’re going to get rid of the filibuster and pack (audio drop). All those things go away. So the practical reality of it is extraordinary. And I think it forces the White House to start doing some common-sense things on some of these key issues as they head into their own reelection cycle and as that political pressure comes to bear, and hopefully we’ll be passing things that make sense that people support and don’t have a choice to make, not unlike what Bill Clinton faced in ‘94 after getting crushed in the midterms.

BUCK: Senator Rubio, you’re a lifelong Floridian, and obviously the southwest coast of Florida just got hit with a particularly brutal storm. But the recovery efforts that we’ve seen — Clay mentioned in the last hour — Sanibel Island, the causeway going up, seems like it is. It has been more efficient and more together, if you will, than any that I can remember. Is that your impression? I mean, Governor DeSantis is leading this effort. He gives all credit to the first responders and the technicians and the linemen and everybody who are actually doing the work. What have you seen in this recovery effort for Florida?

SEN. RUBIO: Well, listen (audio drop) for putting this stuff together. If they get that wrong, the whole thing falls apart. I think local officials, the first responders, everybody else as well, I’ll say the utility companies as well, you know, power… People were without power; there’s no doubt about it. But you have to understand, within eight days of this storm, eight, nine days of the storm, 90 something percent, maybe up to 95% of the homes and businesses that could be turned on were turned on. You know, there are some that are completely destroyed. You can’t restore the power to a customer that doesn’t exist anymore because the business is gone.

That’s extraordinary because that changes everything. When the power’s back on, life begins (audio drop) kids just started going back to school this week again. So I remember, look, we used to have storms in Florida mid-2000s or whatever. We were without power in some areas for 15, 25 days — and without power, nothing works. The gas stations don’t work. The ATMs don’t work. Your cell phone doesn’t work. People are running generators. We had like we get a lot of injuries after storm because of stuff like that. We don’t have any of that. So I think that’s been extraordinary. Now, the rebuilding in some of these areas is going to take a long time.

This was catastrophic. Complete, total loss of small businesses, of homes. Frankly, unfortunately, of lives, people that died. And one of the areas that doesn’t get enough attention — you know, there’s not any CNN trucks over there — is in the agriculture areas of our state, our agriculture was hit very, very hard. I was with them last week. We are going to have a citrus crop that’s going to get wiped out. And these people were already on the edge because of unfair trade practices from Mexico, because of government regulations on how much sugar orange juice has to having in order to be qualified as orange juice, all these kinds of things. They were already facing, you know, citrus greening. So I am very worried about our agricultural industry’s ability to survive because they have really, really, really taken it hard. They basically… We think the damage assessment can be pretty high in terms of how much of this year’s crop was lost, and this is now the third time it happened in the decade.

CLAY: Much less serious question to close here with you, Senator Rubio.


CLAY: Your Dolphins, they started off 3-0. They have been the center of the NFL universe over Tua concerns the last several weeks. They’re now sitting at 3-3. Steelers, I believe, if I’m correct, big game this weekend.


CLAY: How would you assess the first six weeks of the Dolphins season?

SEN. RUBIO: Well, I think the key is, you know, we hopefully have run out of quarterbacks to get concussions —

CLAY: Yeah.

SEN. RUBIO: — because Tua had that thing, and then Teddy Bridgewater, this is the most interesting one. The NFL now has policy. Some guy sitting in a box and he determines whether he saw you stumble or not. And so… And the other thing that made me chuckle… I don’t know. I didn’t examine Tua and I’m not a doctor. But all of a sudden, all the same people that were telling us, “Don’t play doctor when it comes to covid and give your opinion on stuff! You’re not qualified!” Everybody’s now a concussion expert —

CLAY: Yeah.

SEN. RUBIO: — including people that have never examined the guy. And so you get all this stuff going on. So my hope is that we will be able to go back to a time here soon where Tua is back on the field. I’ll take Teddy Bridgewater, for that matter. Just a quarterback that can practice all week and start the game and not have to leave in the middle of the game because he gets knocked out of the game. I think if we can do that and get back on track, this team is going to look a lot like the team that started out 3-0, very explosive. I want to say there’s only so much bad luck in the world and we’ve used all of it here in the first six weeks and hopefully now are going to be getting a different direction going.

CLAY: (good luck)

BUCK: Senator Rubio, we know you’re ahead in some of the polls. Just, if anyone wants to make sure that you have a resounding victory — we have a lot of Floridians listening all across the state right now — where should they go, what can they do?

SEN. RUBIO: Yeah, thank you for bringing that up, but please don’t take that for granted. Okay? Right now, the media is like… I mean, we wiped the floor with Val Demings yesterday in this debate, but if you watched the news, they make it sound — they even they have to say, “Oh, it was a tie.” It wasn’t. People that saw it. But I need help because we’ve got to continue to communicate and show the difference to voters. Please go to my website. MarcoRubio.com. That’s my website, because we need money. She’s raising a lot of money, and she’ll raise a lot more money, because all these liberal lefties from all over the country, they hate Florida. Florida has embarrassed them and they would love nothing more than to flip the Senate seat, and so, I do need everyone’s help. Please go on my website. MarcoRubio.com, and give as you can.

BUCK: Senator Rubio, we appreciate you taking the time, sir. Good to talk to you.

SEN. RUBIO: Thank you for having me on, guys.

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