Dems ‘Unnerved’ At Thought Of Rubio-Clinton 2016 Matchup

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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Democrats in presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s camp are fretting about the possibility of a Clinton-Marco Rubio matchup in 2016.

More than a dozen Democrats interviewed by the New York Times listed the Florida senator in the top tier of Republican candidates they see as the biggest threat to Clinton, and are “unnerved” at the prospect of a Clinton-Rubio battle.

“An incipient sense of anxiety is tugging at some Democrats,” reported the Times. They’re worried Rubio’s youth and charm, and his compelling story as the son of two Cuban immigrants will contrast sharply with Clinton’s old age and Washington-insider status.

Rubio is just 43, while Clinton will turn 69 next year. (RELATED: Flashback: Ten Things Younger Than Hillary Clinton)

“He is a powerful speaker,” Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle told The Times. “He is young. He is very motivational. He has a powerful story.”

She’s worried he might allow Republicans to regain a “reasonable” percentage of the Hispanic vote, which was a huge problem for Mitt Romney in 2012.

Even former president Bill Clinton is said to be worried about Rubio because of his strength in Florida and his appeal to Hispanic voters.

Rubio was the only Republican candidate on par with Clinton in head to head matchups polled nationally by Quinnipiac University in April.

Florida Democrat and former state legislator Dan Gelber recalled a day in 2008 when he and Rubio gave their farewell speeches and Rubio brought his wife to tears. “She’s sitting there weeping,” Gelber told The Times. “And I look up, and I mouth, ‘Are you kidding me?'”

He praised Rubio’s ability to convey compassion for marginalized people, but said he thinks it’s disingenuous. “It’s a little maddening when his policies are so inconsistent with that,” he said. “My head would explode.”

Major Democratic Florida donor John Morgan is hosting a fundraiser for Clinton next week and plans to bring up the threat posed by Rubio. “I think [Democrats] underestimate him,” he told The Times. “He’s energetic, he’s photogenic, and he will say whatever you want him to say.”

In an apparent effort to distance herself from Republicans on immigration and appeal to Hispanic voters, Clinton has taken an aggressive stance on immigration, and just hired a former illegal immigrant as her Latino Outreach Director. (RELATED: Rubio Doubles Down On Gang Of Eight Bill)

She would grant illegal immigrants a path to citizenship and said she would expand President Barack Obama’s executive order exempting so-called DREAMers from deportation to their parents, if Congress gets in her way.
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