Florida Senator and Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio just got busted like a Ming vase in the back of a pickup truck over his claim to have ended something he calls the “Obamacare bailout.” On this week’s Fox News Sunday, Rubio wanted to bask in the afterglow of his endorsement by The Des Moines Register, but host Chris Wallace had to go and ruin the party.
First, Wallace asked Rubio to take on the criticism that he lacks the experience to be president, and to name his favorite legislative accomplishment. Rubio comically tried to explain how worthless his experience in the U.S. Senate is anyway, then proceeded to name things that actually aren’t Marco Rubio’s legislative accomplishments:
WALLACE: One of the knocks against you, Senator, is that you’re the Republican Barack Obama, that you lack the experience to be president. You’ve been in the Senate for five-plus years.
So, let me ask you, what do you consider your biggest legislative accomplishment?
RUBIO: Well, first let me say the most important job of president is commander in chief. Being president is not like being a senator, but it’s not like being a governor either. It’s a unique office unlike any other in the world.
And if all — if you look at the entire Republican field, no one running for president has more experience or shown better judgment over the last five years on the issues of national security than I have.
I’m proud of the things we have achieved in my time there. We brought accountable to the V.A. I helped lead an effort that got rid of the Obamacare bailout fund. Just a month ago, in a bipartisan way, I helped impose additional sanctions on Hezbollah. And I also have if experience of accomplishments as speaker of the House.
But this election is about the future, about what kind of country we are going to leave for our children in 21st century, the number one role of the federal government and the president is to be commander in chief, and keep us safe. I will do that. And I’ve got more experience and have shown better judgment on those issues than any of the other candidates in this field.
Just when Rubio thought he had powered through it, though, Wallace called “bullshit” on his claim to have ended the “Obamacare bailout.” Rubio’s argument seems to be that it doesn’t much matter who actually did a thing, as long as Rubio was FIRST! in the comments section about it (emphasis mine):
WALLACE: I want to pick up on one of the accomplishments you have mentioned. And you have said often that you led the effort to end the bailouts, the so-called “risk corridors” for Obamacare which could have protected insurance companies who lost money on premiums.
Here you are talking about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUBIO: I’m always the only one running president that’s ever done anything against Obamacare. Not a speech, but I actually achieved something. I led the effort and we got rid of the bailout fund, which may very well lead to the collapse of Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But, Senator, while you certainly did speak out on the issue, it was other Republicans who actually put that provision in a spending bill that Obama was forced to signings which put it into effect. In fact, you voted against that spending bill. And the fact checkers at “The Washington Post” gave you, as we put it up on the screen, four Pinocchios for your claim in this regard.
How do you respond, sir?
RUBIO: Well, they’re wrong. First of all, the reason why it was inserted into that budget to begin with is because I was the first one to raise and I spent a year and a half pushing this issue, communicating with the speaker’s office, communicating with the majority leader’s office, communicating with my colleagues. For a year and a half, I was the only one even talking about the risk corridor, the Obamacare bailout. It happened because we led the effort on it.
Did someone else physically type it up and insert it in the bill? That’s absurd. Maybe, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is, who led the effort in achieving that?
And from everyone that was watching this from the very beginning, to the editorials around this country — I believe “The New York Times” wrote one saying how Marco Rubio has done something that’s going to lead to the collapse of Obamacare. No one can dispute that we led the effort. We raised this issue. We pushed this the entire time. And had it not been for our efforts, the Obamacare bailout may very well still be there in law.
Yes, it’s absurd to point out that Marco Rubio didn’t do the thing he said he did. What were we thinking? But this is no mere technicality, as Rubio makes it out to be. It goes to the heart of Wallace’s question, which was about legislative accomplishments. Rubio voted against the bill that he didn’t insert anything into, but claimed he did. That’s “legislative,” if not an “accomplishment.”
Rubio’s answer is partially correct, even the many fact-checkers who have debunked his specific claim to have “inserted” a provision limiting risk corridor payments into a spending bill concede that he was an early and persistent voice on the issue. That’s not the point, though. Wallace asked him for a legislative accomplishment, not an example of sustained and influential shit-talk. Rubio’s running to be president, not to be Rush Limbaugh. Even if you give Rubio the benefit of the doubt here, he has only proven that even when he’s way out in front on an issue, he can’t get it done.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.