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Mentor vs. Protege: Relationship Between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio Strained over Presidential Nomination

April 18, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Mentor vs. Protege: Relationship Between Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio Strained over Presidential Nomination

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As the race for the GOP nomination heats up, the once close relationship between Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and his former mentor, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has begun to unravel.

Since Rubio announced, his candidacy, both men have steered cleared of publically of criticizing each other. However, operatives aligned with the Bush campaign have begun spreading negative information regarding Rubio’s record, albeit in a clandestine manner.

In addition, both sets of supporters for the two Florida politicians are drawing distinctions between the 43-year-old Rubio and the 62-year-old Bush. One being a son of Cuban immigrants, the other being a member of one of the most legendary political families in U.S. history.

Al Cardenas, who is a Bush advisor and close friend of Rubio, says “Sparks are going to fly,” between the two men.

“This is the first time in the history of our nation that you have two candidates running in the same Presidential primary who are from the same town, in the same state from the same party.”

“You can bet that no matter how nice Jeb or Marco wants to be to each other, their staffs are going to do anything to win this nomination,” said Cardenas.

Bush’s supporters are now trying to sell his conservative credentials to Republican voters, listing his accomplishments he had as governor. At the same time his backers are drawing contrasts with the Florida Senator, arguing that Bush was more conservative as governor than Rubio in his time as Florida Speaker and U.S. Senator.

Rubio first became Florida House speaker after Bush last term; the two had a very close relationship then. Bush viewed Rubio as his protege. Someone to carry on his legacy after he left office.

Although, they still consider each other friends, there is a hint of criticism from both candidates. Especially when Rubio says it’s time for new ideas to move forward and break with ideas from the last century. And then there is the subtle dig from Bush when he questions whether one term in the Senate is enough to prepare anyone for the White House.

Rubio’s has many times documented his admiration for Bush. Over the years, he has depended on the former governor’s support in elections, relied on his network of donors and has even hired Bush advisors to help further along his political career.

In 2010, Rubio declared he would only run for the Senate in 2010 if Bush decided not to run, which was the case.

When Bush began making preparations to run for the 2016 nomination, many in the Republican Party expected Rubio to defer again to his former mentor. Instead, he shocked many by announcing his bid for The GOP nomination ahead of Bush.

Rubio made the announcement in his hometown of Miami earlier this week and insisted that there was too much at stake for him to wait and let Bush run instead. The decision has disappointed Bush according to Cardenas.

“He (Bush) feels disappointed because he cared for him for a long time, you just don’t want to battle someone for the nomination that you care for,” Cardenas said.

Rubio’s announcement has drawn lines in the sand and has forced the powers that be in the Florida Republican party to pick sides.

And many have already. Florida Legislators who are backing Bush have fired the first shot by questioning Rubio’s conservatism during his time as Speaker and Senator. U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla served with both men, but who supports the former governor says Bush is more conservative than Rubio.

Ross pointed out how Bush aggressively used the “line-item veto to slash government spending, even if the spending benefited members of his Republican party.”

“There were always projects that were important to Marco’s constituents, And they always ended up in the budget,” another one of Bush’s supporters, former state Rep. Juan-Carlos Planas, said of Rubio.

Rubio’s team refused to give a response to the statements or return criticisms. However, billionaire businessman Norman Braman, who is a major Rubio supporter, was blunt in his assessment of Bush in a recent interview.

“We need to look towards the future; we must go beyond the Bushes and beyond the Clintons, this is not a country that believes in dynasties,” Braman told CNN.

Both candidates attended separate campaign events in New Hampshire Friday. When asked of Rubio’s entry into the Presidential race, Bush responded, “He’s a good friend, It is what is.”

“He is a close friend; It will be competitive,” Rubio said when asked about the prospect of facing Bush.

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