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Jan 21, 2016 10:38 PM

Steinhauser: In NH1 News interview, Rubio shoots down 3-2-1 strategy; says jabs at Christie not negative

NH1 News Political Director

MANCHESTER – Marco Rubio says his strategy is to “have more votes that the other people” and pushed back against reports of a so-called “3-2-1” campaign blueprint, saying “I don’t know where any of that is coming from.”

And in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News Thursday, the senator from Florida and Republican presidential candidate also defended his recent criticism of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a rival for the nomination, saying “citing someone’s record is not negative.”

Watch: Marco Rubio speaks 1-on-1 with NH1 News

Rubio spoke with NH1 News after taking part in a national security forum hosted by Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security, the University of New Hampshire at Manchester, and NH1 News on WBIN-TV, and moderated by this reporter.

Watch: Marco Rubio takes part in APPS/UNH Manchester/NH1 News national security forum

Rubio and Christie have been engaged in a war of words in recent weeks, with a super-PAC supporter Rubio going up with ads critical of Christie. The two men also tangled at last week’s Republican presidential debate.

Wednesday Christie told NH1 News that “it’s just a shame that Sen. Rubio’s decided to be the most negative candidate in this campaign. He says, he prefaces everything by saying ‘I don’t like to be negative’ but then he sticks the knife in you. You know it’s something I’m used to in New Jersey but I didn’t expect it from a guy like Marco Rubio.”

Given a chance to respond, Rubio said “all we’ve discussed is Chris Christie’s record. The record’s not being negative. The fact of the matter is that Chris Christie did support Common Core. And he does support gun control and he does supports personally Planned Parenthood. He supported Sonya Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. These are valid and relevant issues. So citing someone’s record is not negative. There are key differences, because here’s why it matters, the next president of the United States has to be someone who reverses the damage that Barack Obama’s done to America. Not agree with parts of it. And so those are differences and they’re going to be discussed in the campaign. It’s not personal.”

Shoots down 3-2-1 strategy

Rubio also disputed reports his campaign’s settled on a strategy that calls for finishing third in the Iowa caucuses, second in the Granite State, and first in South Carolina, which follows New Hampshire in the calendar.

“I never discussed that with anybody. We want to do as well as well we can. Our strategy is pretty straight forward. We want to have more delegates than anyone else to be the nominee of the Republican Party. And that said, we want to do as well as we can everywhere we go. We want to have more votes than the other people. That’s our strategy. And so we work every day to achieve that. I don’t know where any of that is coming from. Our strategy is to become the Republican nominee because if I’m the Republican nominee we are going to beat Hillary Clinton,” Rubio told NH1 News.

Christie, speaking with NH1 News on Wednesday, also criticized Rubio over his poor voting attendance in the Senate, saying “you can’t just run away from your job if it gets too hot. You can’t just run away from your job if you’re bored. You can’t just run away from your job when you want a new one. And Sen. Rubio will have to answer to all that.”

Wednesday Rubio interrupted his trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state to briefly return to Capitol Hill to cast a vote on a measure that would have halted allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the country. Rubio said he felt his vote could have been crucial and that’s why returned to the nation’s capital.

“At one point it looked like we could get to the 60 votes we needed to trigger further debate and hopefully achieve it. This is an important national security issue and anytime I feel like I can make a difference we’re going to do something about it. Unfortunately the Democrats decided to block it. It’s outrageous that the Democrats are refusing a very reasonable approach to keeping America safer by dealing with the Syrian refugees in a way that prevents ISIS from entering the United States,” he explained.

Dolphins fan pulling for Patriots

The Florida senator’s a longtime Miami Dolphins professional football fan.

Asked who he was rooting for in this weekend’s AFC conference final showdown between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos, Rubio said “if someone’s going to go to the Super Bowl it mine as well be someone from the AFC East. Plus if they win the Super Bowl that means the Patriots have an even lower draft pick. So that makes it even easier for the Dolphins.”

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