GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush appeared on Fox News on Oct. 28 to defend his attack on Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida during the Oct. 28 debate, but also insisted the two were friends (video below).
“Marco’s my friend,” Bush said, according to RawStory.com. “I admire him greatly. He is a gifted politician, for sure, but I think we need to focus on who can lead, who can forge consensus, who can solve problems."
Later in the Fox News interview, Bush repeated his debate attack on Rubio: "I’m not demonizing Marco Rubio to point out that he has the worst attendance record in the United States Senate, and it was the worst one prior to his campaign as well, that's a problem.”
After a meeting with donors on Oct. 26, Bush's campaign team showed a campaign plan to select reporters, U.S. News reports. However, the plan distributed to reporters contained only 45 pages out of his full 112-page presentation. The full presentation was reportedly obtained by U.S. News, and it outlines attacks on Rubio.
This part of the blueprint, entitled "Marco Is A Risky Bet," reportedly slams Rubio's "misuse of state party credit cards, taxpayer funds and ties to scandal-tarred former Congressman David Rivera."
Rubio used a state Republican Party credit card several years ago to finance a home paving project and a trip to a family reunion, noted The New York Times.
Rubio and Rivera co-owned a home in Tallahassee, Florida, that went into foreclosure, but they were able to hold onto the house and put it up for sale in March for less than what they paid for it in 2005, reported Politico.
The Bush plan also mentions Rubio's "closeness with Norman Braman, who doubles as personal benefactor [,] raises major ethical questions," according to U.S. News.
Braman, a billionaire auto dealer, financed Rubio's prior campaigns and paid for personal finances when Rubio and his wife faced heavy debt; Rubio, as a lawmaker, has advocated for Braman's projects, according to The New York Times.
Bush's plan against Rubio also included this reference to Mitt Romney's team vetting Rubio in 2012 as a possible vice president running mate: "Those who have looked into Marco's background in the past have been concerned with what they have found."