Rubio: Obama’s open mic gaffe prompted timing of Romney endorsement

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Mitt Romney can thank President Obama’s “flexibility” for Marco Rubio’s endorsement.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, Sen. Rubio revealed that President Obama’s recent “open mic” gaffe with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sparked his endorsement of Mitt Romney for president Wednesday night.

“It’s been weighing on my mind all week,” he said.

“I’ve never thought about this as a political calculation,” Rubio said of his endorsement. “I’m just sitting back here and watching a president that just got back from overseas — where he told the Russian president to work with him and give him space so he can be more flexible if he gets re-elected.”

“The stakes are so high. We’re not running against John F. Kennedy here,” he said.

“We have to win this election in November. We have to!” he averred. “If we don’t win this election in November — and we get four more years of Barack Obama — I don’t know what that means … But I know it ain’t good.”

Rubio is a supporter of primaries, but said that it had become clear the only way for Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum to win the nomination at this point would be to take the fight to Tampa. And Rubio insists that a brokered convention is “a recipe for losing in November.”

“It sounds like a lot of fun,” he cautioned, “until you examine what it would actually mean.”

Rubio also told TheDC he is not concerned his endorsement might cast him as part of the Republican establishment. Instead, Rubio insisted that “the way that I need to be defined and the way that I need to be judged is on my record as a policy maker.  How do I vote on the issues? What are the issues that I speak out on? What positions do I take?” he said.

Regarding possibly damaging his conservative credentials, Rubio said, “I don’t think supporting Mitt Romney undermines that in any way.”

Still, it seems clear Rubio’s endorsement has more to do with defeating Obama than it has to do with loving Romney.

“There are a lot of other people out there that some of us wish had run for president — but they didn’t,” he said. “I think Mitt Romney would be a fine president, and he’d be way better than the guy who’s there right now.”

Romney is “plenty conservative enough to defeat Barack Obama and do a much better job,” he said.

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