RUSH: I need to say something here about Marco Rubio. That speech last night — oh, before I —
I got a fascinating e-mail last night from a close friend. I probably shouldn’t even bring this up. He’s very intuitive when it comes to me and he’s one of the few people who actually understands what I do and how. He said, “Are you worried you’re getting to a point where you can’t be honest with your audience and keep them?” I read that e-mail, and I said, “What’s he talking about? What in the world?”
“Are you getting to the point where you fear you can’t be honest with your audience and hold them?” I wrote him back. Haven’t gotten a reply yet. It’s gotta be something about the campaign. I don’t know what made me think of it here when I’m starting to talk about Rubio, but I have to tell you something, folks. That Rubio speech last night was the best speech I’ve heard in a year, by anybody. Hands down.
You know, I guess it was a month ago or maybe six weeks ago, I happened to give Rubio a big plug on this program saying that I was getting worried, I was seeing all these attacks on Rubio in any number of places from people attacking him as a fake and a phony and not a real conservative and I couldn’t take it anymore. I know the Gang of Eight’s lingering out there and I know people think that the Gang of Eight was not a one-off with him, that that’s who he really is and that he’s been lying to everybody since day one running for state office in Florida.
But I stressed, I made a huge point — I’d just gotten off the phone with him the day before, talking to him. He’d called here about the campaign and something, not about Gang of Eight, that didn’t come up, but just a general conversation about the status of things. Didn’t ask for anything. Was just shooting the breeze. Which happens with a number of them, by the way; I just don’t tell you each time it happens. Not that often, either, but it does happen. And I just got tired. I think the guy is the real deal conservative.
In fact, I got a story here, Vox, that young wunderkind, Ezra Klein, used to be at the Washington Post, went over to this Vox place. Hillary Clinton had an amazing night and not just because of her victories. The left, the happiest thing for them yesterday was Rubio losing because they really believe that Rubio was the one problem Hillary had. I think they’re wrong. But that’s what they think. They think Rubio would have given her the big scare, ’cause he’s young, he’s energetic, because he’s got the policy down pat. He’s the antithesis of her and they’re happy that Rubio’s out.
But that speech he gave last night, anybody want to try to tell me that he’s not a conservative, I’m sorry, you’re talking to a brick wall in me because that just isn’t the case. That speech last night was just — folks, I sat there watching that speech. And it’s not uncommon. The exit speech is often the best speech of a candidate’s campaign. But this was better than even that. This would have been a great introductory speech opening the campaign. It was that good. I couldn’t tell if it was on a teleprompter or not. Doesn’t matter. I know it came from his heart. I know, “What about Gang of Eight?” Exactly right. Exactly right. If not for that — let me ask you a question. The way he handled the Gang of Eight, he botched that. What if he would have just said, “You know what? I’m sorry. I was new in the Senate, and –” whatever he says, “– I got sucked in by these guys or I thought I could really help or change ’em. I thought I could guide. I really, really blew it, I’m really, really sorry,” instead of trying to make the case for it over and over again the way he did.
Do you think an apology would have mollified some of the opposition to him? ‘Cause I’m gonna tell you what I think. I gotta take a break. Look at the clock. Don’t worry. Not a tease. Will not lose my train of thought. I think Chuck Schumer took Marco Rubio out years ago. It didn’t happen in this campaign. Schumer and the Gang of Eight Democrats took him out. I know it’s ultimately his responsibility, don’t misunderstand, but that’s where we trace this back.
RUSH: Yeah, I think Senator Rubio continuing to maintain that he did not regret his support for the Gang of Eight is the culprit here, which ultimately makes him the culprit. Now, I don’t doubt that Schumer and his gang wanted the bill passed and I have no doubt that they thought Rubio would help them get it passed, and so forth, but, man, you stop and think if not. Rubio’s story, his campaign, everything would be tremendously different. It’s impossible to know what differences manifest themselves, but he never had a prayer.
I mean, you want to find out how important that issue is to people, you want to find out how important the perception that Washington betrays Republican voters, you want to find out how solid and sticky that is, you look at what happened to Marco Rubio. I don’t know that he could have extricated himself even if he had apologized for it, it’s that big a deal. And that one thing, if not for that. So it’s sad, because that speech that he gave last night I think gave us a great idea who he actually really is.