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Rubio gets endorsement from Orlando Sentinel, but not South Florida's Sun-Sentinel

"Rubio lacks the experience, work ethic and gravitas needed to be president. He has not earned your vote," the Sun-Sentinel's editorial board wrote Friday.
By Doug G. Ware   |   March 4, 2016 at 8:28 PM
| License Photo

ORLANDO, Fla., March 4 (UPI) -- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio picked up an important endorsement on Friday from one of his home state's major newspapers, but failed to win over another paper in the Sunshine State.

Friday, the Orlando Sentinel's editorial board voiced its support of the freshman senator for the coming March 15 Florida primary, calling him the Republican party's "last, best hope."

"We recommend Florida Republicans cast their ballots for ... Sen. Marco Rubio. Unlike Trump, Rubio has the knowledge and judgment to be president," the board wrote, adding that Rubio has government leadership experience, whereas GOP front-runner Donald Trump does not.

"[Trump's] outsider status might be an asset if Trump displayed more than a passing acquaintance with public policy. He doesn't," the newspaper's endorsement said. "Often when pressed for details, he betrays his ignorance with platitudes about plans that will be 'beautiful' or 'terrific.'"

Rubio remains firmly entrenched in the Republican race, running neck-and-neck with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz -- both of whom, though, are distant sights in Trump's rear view.

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It remains to be seen, though, whether Ben Carson's exit from the race Friday might funnel votes toward Rubio's camp.

The Sentinel's editorial board offered numerous questions about Trump's viability as commander in-chief -- from his lack of experience, to remarks disparaging women, to "maligning" of Mexican nationals and Muslims.

"Rubio is no political outsider; he's a U.S. senator with seats on four committees, including foreign relations and intelligence -- two areas crucial for the commander in-chief," the board wrote. "He's a former Florida House speaker and majority leader. He has acquired a depth of knowledge on issues that Trump can't approach.

"We don't see eye to eye with Rubio on plenty of issues; his hard-line opposition to abortion rights is just one example. But for Florida Republicans who are leery of Trump yet impatient for change, Rubio is now the best hope in the party's 2016 field."

Supporters of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio attend a rally at the Ronald Reagan Equestrian Center in Miami, Florida, on Tuesday. On Friday, Rubio won an endorsement from the Orlando Sentinel, but not Broward County's Sun-Sentinel, which signaled support for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who exited the race on Feb. 20. Photo by Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell/UPI

Rubio securing an endorsement from a home state newspaper might not come as a surprise to many. He also won an endorsement from the Miami Herald earlier this week.

However, one of the state's other major newspapers, South Florida's Sun-Sentinel, did not offer its support to Rubio Friday.

In fact, it didn't offer a preference for anyone in the state's March 15 primary.

"We cannot endorse businessman Donald Trump, hometown Sen. Marco Rubio or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz because they are unqualified to be president," the Sun-Sentinel's editorial board wrote.

The paper, in fact, offered several criticisms of Rubio, including his notorious title as the biggest no-show in the Senate.

"Because Rubio has failed to do his job as a senator, broken the promises he made to Floridians and backed away from his lone signature piece of legislation on immigration, we cannot endorse him for president," the board wrote.

Instead, the newspaper indicated it would have endorsed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who exited the GOP race last month, if he were still in the race.

"We showed our cards a year ago, before the extraordinarily large field of Republican candidates shaped up. We favored the adult in the room, Jeb Bush, a smart, experienced and principled conservative," the board continued. "But the nation wasn't ready for another Bush, and our former governor wasn't ready for the anti-establishment edge in today's Twitter-fueled campaign era.

"Rubio lacks the experience, work ethic and gravitas needed to be president. He has not earned your vote."

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