Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer praised Florida Sen Marco Rubio at the National Review Institute’s Ideas Summit Friday, saying he is “a very strong candidate.”
Ahead of presumed 2016 announcements by Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee, Krauthammer told National Review’s Rich Lowry that Rubio is “the perfect antithesis” to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. He said Rubio is the candidate Democrats “fear the most.”
“Marco is a very strong candidate,” Krauthammer started. “You can see a route for him, and he’s the perfect antithesis to Hillary. If you ask Democrats who they fear the most, I think the answer is Marco. He’s the perfect foil. New vs. young — you don’t have to stress that, it just presents itself.”
“When Kennedy ran in 1960, Nixon was about his age, but he basically ran against Eisenhower. He talked about the new and the new frontier,” Krauthammer told Lowry. “Remember what he said in his inaugural address? Kind of a slight at Eisenhower. After all he did win the second World War. Kennedy said the torch has been passed to a new generation. I think the generational contrast is huge. I think the baggage contrast is huge.”
Since January, Krauthammer has been betting on Rubio winning the GOP nomination…literally. In each of his Friday appearances on “Special Report,” he has placed the majority of his allotted $100 on Rubio pulling off the 2016 win on the GOP side.
“One other thing. The thing about Rubio is — foreign policy is going to be a far more important issue in this campaign than it ever was,” Krauthammer continued. “Generally, it never is because Americans are not exactly interested in what happens overseas for obvious reasons.”
“Rubio, who I think the best articulator of the interventionist/activist American view. He benefits and has already. He expresses it with absolute sincere passion, the way only a son of immigrants can. I’m the son of immigrants, I know exactly how he feels,” the conservative commentator said. “He doesn’t have to do it off cue cards, he doesn’t have to be prompted. He believes in American exceptionalism and you believe him. And that I think is going to be very important as foreign policy and our defeats and our embarrassments begin to rise.”
On the other side, Krauthammer was unsurprisingly harsh on Clinton during the lightning round of questions on 2016 candidates.
“Hillary Clinton,” Lowry told Krauthammer, who paused for nearly 10 seconds before saying anything.
“I’m just winding up,” he told a chuckling Lowry. “You throw me a hanging curve ball, I’m not swinging early.”
“Don’t you love the way they said on Friday there is no shred of evidence for any of this. Well of course not. She shredded the evidence,” Krauthammer said as the attendees erupted in laughter.
“My bottom line…she’s a lot weaker candidate than Democrats think. This is a big mistake on their part,” Krauthammer said. “She has a constituency that is very loyal, but she has a lot of people equally fixed on their view of her.”
“The number of undecideds about Hillary’s candidacy — probably seven people. They all live in northern New Hampshire in a shack with no running water, and they are all related to each other,” he said to laughter. “I don’t think she’s going to persuade a lot of people, and I do think she’s a weak candidate. Look what she did in the rollout when she said I left the White House broke — we had trouble paying the mortgage on our houses. Politics 101: when pleading poverty, do not refer to your domiciles in the plural. Doesn’t work.”
WATCH (Starts at 43:45):