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Oct 7, 2015 2:19 PM

Steinhauser: Rubio tells NH1 News attacks over missed Senate votes 'not a big deal'

NH1 Political Director -

MANCHESTER – Marco Rubio is downplaying the votes he’s missed in the U.S. Senate.

The Republican senator from Florida and GOP presidential candidate said Wednesday that “when you run for president as I’m doing you’re going to miss some votes and some time, as other candidates have had to do in the past.”

Rubio spoke with reporters after touring Dyn, a Manchester based internet performance company located in the Millyard.

Asked by NH1 News about criticism from rivals for the GOP nomination, including his good friend former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Rubio said “ when candidates are running, I think they’re going to say things that they think will make them stronger in the race, they’re going to attack people.”

“These votes that are happening in the Senate, we’re not going to be able to make a difference unless we have a new president. And a better president and that’s why I’m running for president. And that’s why I’m out there every day campaigning. When I miss votes in Washington it’s because I’m running for president, because I believe that we can’t get this country moving in the right direction unless we have the right person in the White House, obviously I believe that’s me.”

When it was pointed out by NH1 News that Bush is not just any candidate, but almost a mentor to the first-term senator, Rubio said “he remains a good (friend). I have great admiration and respect for him as a person. I’m not running against Jeb Bush. I’m running for president. And there are other people running as well. So these things will happen, it’s not a big deal, really it isn’t.”

Rubio has missed a higher percentage of vote in the Senate than any other of the senators running for the White House other than Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Unlike Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rubio’s made it clear that the only office he’s running for in 2016 is president, and that he won’t make a bid for re-election if his White House campaign falters.

Asked if he’d quit the Senate to concentrate full time on his presidential bid, Rubio said “I’m going to serve out my term. I’m proud to serve the people of Florida. And we continue to be engaged in constituent service and on important issues in Washington. We’ve cancelled events in the past in order to be there when we can be a decisive voice to move a policy forward.”

Democrats also criticized Rubio for his voting record.

"We hear you’ve been getting a lot of heat about missing votes. It’s no wonder," wrote Democratic former congressman Dick Swett and two other Democratic voters in the Granite State in a letter addressed to Rubio that was distributed to reporters by the state and national Democratic parties.

"You’ve simply missed too many at this point, and you’ve skipped high profile votes that impact our children, our families, our businesses, and our economy," We hear you’ve been getting a lot of heat about missing votes. It’s no wonder.

NH1 News was first to report on Wednesday that Rubio will return to the first-in-the-nation primary state next Wednesday.

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