Gloves Off: Rubio Says Cruz And Paul Have Voted To Weaken National Security

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The gloves are certainly coming off in the GOP primary with just over 2 months to go before the Iowa caucuses. Senators [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ], [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] have often been aligned in the Senate, focusing their attention on President Barack Obama. For the most part during the GOP primary race, the trio have largely directed their attacks on Hillary Clinton.

The first sign things were going to start heating up between the three of them was during the last GOP debate when [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] questioned Rubio’s conservative bonafides with criticisms of Rubio’s tax plan and defense spending.

Following the debate, [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] turned his guns on Rubio and his record on immigration. The terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday and the relationship to immigration via Syrian refugees allowed for criticism of Rubio to be stepped up due to the Gang of 8 Immigration bill he supported in 2013.

Rubio on the other hand, sees a national security opening in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and tonight, at a Wall Street Journal forum, he came out swinging at [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ]:

Rubio also managed to make sure he referred to Edward Snowden as a “traitor.” [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ], while not completely absolving Snowden of any wrongdoing, has shown some sympathy towards him.

Rubio’s team took it a step further and tn a move that is sure to anger [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] and his supporters, Alex Conant, Rubio’s communications director tweeted the following:

This was clearly a shot at [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] who saw an opening with Rubio on immigration:

[mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] took a shot at [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] on Monday night, saying his rival worked to “weaken” surveillance programs now back in focus given the attacks in Paris.

The salvo, which Rubio’s campaign quickly put on YouTube, comes after Cruz spent several days last week casting Rubio as soft on immigration. Rubio was speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council in Washington.

His campaign pointed to a vote on the USA Freedom Act in June. It allows for data collection but phone companies maintain it, not the NSA.

The question now is, can Rubio successfully shift the debate after the Paris attacks from one of immigration to national security?

Time will tell, but I expect we are going to hear quite a bit out of the Cruz and Paul campaigns in the next day or two.