Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at an event in Exeter, NH on Thurday June 25

Jun 26, 2015 12:27 AM

Steinhauser: Rubio pushes back against health care ruling, new gun control efforts, and negotiating with terrorists

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

EXETER – Marco Rubio says “I believe Obamacare’s bad for Americans. Bad for the country.”

Asked by NH1 News about the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday upholding the Affordable Care Act, the senator from Florida and Republican presidential candidate said “I disagree with their decision.”

“I think a better approach is the one we’re pushing for, and that is a patient centric, consumer centric, Obamacare replacement that would allow individual Americans to buy health insurance of the kind they want from any company in any state in America that would sell it to them,” he added.

Rubio spoke to NH1 News and other news organizations outside the historic town hall in Exeter, minutes after the high court’s ruling. Rubio was in Exeter to headline an event hosted by the conservative organization Concerned Veterans for America.

Asked by NH1 News about new gun control efforts in Congress in the wake of last week’s horrific shootings at an historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina that left nine people dead, Rubio said “I think it’s ineffective and it won’t achieve what we’re trying to achieve, and that’s keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. Criminals don’t care what the law is. That’s why they’re criminals.”

Rubio’s visit came one day after President Obama announced a policy overhaul that will allow the United States government to communicate and negotiate with hostage takers. Noting that his administration has too often failed the families of Americans taken hostage by groups like ISIS, the President said that the new rule “does not prevent communications with hostage takers by our government, the families of hostages or third parties who help these family.”

But Obama said he wouldn’t change a longstanding policy against paying ransoms to terrorist groups.

Rubio said he disagrees with the President, adding that “we have to understand that when you negotiate with terrorists, you are in essence incentivizing them to take more hostages in the future. You place other Americans, including service men and women, in danger.”

Rubio’s come under attack recently by Donald Trump, a rival for the GOP nomination. Asked by NH1 News about Trump’s comments and whether the real estate mogul and reality TV should be taken seriously, Rubio said “I’m going to focus on my campaign and my message.”

“One of the reasons Barack Obama is president of the United States today is because Republicans in the last election spent an inordinate amount of time attacking each other and calling each other names. We’ll have disagreements on policy. I look forward to that debate. But my message is going to be about the future of America. I’m not running against any other Republican,” he added.

Earlier, during the Concerned Veterans for America event, Rubio gave the President an F grade when it comes to the overhaul of the troubled Veterans Affairs department.

"It’s not just a funding issue, it’s not even ‘a want to’ issue, it is the fact that the model itself may not work in the 21st century,” Rubio said.

“The key is, it’s up to the veteran to choose,” Rubio added. “Putting the veteran in charge. If you don’t do that, you’ll have failing grade no matter who the president is.”

This was Rubio’s first trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state in two months. But top Rubio campaign officials told NH1 News to expect to see a lot more of the candidate in the Granite State going forward.

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