Transcript: Rubio on Education and the American Dream

The still-fresh memory of owing $100,000 in school loans leads the Republican senator, in remarks at a National Journal event, to propose ways to improve access to affordable education in jobs America needs.

National Journal
Marco Rubio
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Marco Rubio
Feb. 10, 2014, 12:40 p.m.

Sen. Marco Ru­bio, R-Fla., de­livered key­note re­marks Feb. 10 at The Next Amer­ica event, “Mak­ing Com­munity Col­leges Work.” His pre­pared re­marks ap­pear be­low.

The Amer­ic­an Dream is a term that is of­ten used but also of­ten mis­un­der­stood. It isn’t really about be­com­ing rich or fam­ous. It is about things much sim­pler and more fun­da­ment­al than that. It’s a happy home and the abil­ity to live without fear for your safety and that of your fam­ily. It’s the free­dom to wor­ship the way you want. It’s the chance to get a good edu­ca­tion and a job that al­lows you to achieve fin­an­cial se­cur­ity and re­tire com­fort­ably. And it’s about leav­ing your chil­dren bet­ter off than your­self.

The Amer­ica my par­ents came to al­most 60 years ago was one where you could find a middle in­come job even if you didn’t have a high­er edu­ca­tion. That is how they made it to the middle class, work­ing as a bar­tender and a maid. But they des­per­ately wanted their chil­dren to have even more than that. Giv­ing us the chance at a bet­ter life was their Amer­ic­an Dream.

For them, it meant giv­ing us the chance to have what they didn’t: a col­lege de­gree. That is why from a very early age, they would tell me tu tienes que estu­di­ar: “You have to study.” And so grow­ing up I nev­er con­sidered not go­ing to col­lege.

My par­ents did not make enough to save for our edu­ca­tion. But I was able to use Pell grants, stu­dent loans, work study and sum­mer jobs to pay for a four-year de­gree and even­tu­ally law school.

The loans I took out for my un­der­gradu­ate de­gree were man­age­able. But my leg­al edu­ca­tion was more ex­pens­ive and I paid for it al­most en­tirely through pub­lic and private loans. Each semester I would sign the promis­sory note bor­row­ing more money. I nev­er sat down to cal­cu­late how much I could ex­pect to make once I gradu­ated and wheth­er it would be enough to af­ford my loan pay­ments. There was no source to provide me with that in­form­a­tion either.

Fi­nally, in 1996 I gradu­ated from law school. I had a Jur­is Doc­tor in one hand and over $100,000 in loans in the oth­er. Then a few months later, the bills began to ar­rive.

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My first job paid well for a young at­tor­ney. I was mak­ing over $50,000, which was more than either of my par­ents had ever made. I thought I was rich. But I was liv­ing with my par­ents and pay­ing them rent. I was try­ing to save for my wed­ding and hope­fully to buy a house. And when the $1500 monthly bills for my loans star­ted com­ing in, I real­ized I couldn’t pay them.

So I did de­fer­ment. And for­bear­ance. I paid only in­terest for a while. But the loans quickly be­came my single largest ex­pense. I re­mem­ber look­ing at the coupon book for one of them and real­iz­ing that at the pace I was pay­ing these things, I wouldn’t pay them off un­til I was over 50.

In the time since I took my last ex­am — and cer­tainly in the years since my par­ents ar­rived in Amer­ica — our coun­try has changed tre­mend­ously. Our eco­nomy has un­der­gone the most rap­id and dis­rupt­ive struc­tur­al trans­form­a­tion since the in­dus­tri­al re­volu­tion. Be­fore that eco­nom­ic re­volu­tion your abil­ity to make a liv­ing de­pended greatly on your abil­ity to do the phys­ic­al labor re­quired by farm work. But with in­dus­tri­al­iz­a­tion, you could sud­denly make a liv­ing op­er­at­ing a ma­chine our build­ing things with your hands.

This cre­ated jobs and op­por­tun­it­ies for people once trapped in the poverty of their birth. It pulled mil­lions in­to the great Amer­ic­an middle class and trans­formed this in­to a na­tion of ex­cep­tion­al up­ward mo­bil­ity.

But now we have entered a post-in­dus­tri­al era. The middle class work­ers who once earned their liv­ing mak­ing things saw their jobs leave to places with cheap­er labor and few­er re­stric­tions. And many middle class ca­reers have been re­placed by auto­ma­tion and tech­no­logy.

This new era comes not just with chal­lenges, but also with great op­por­tun­ity. It cre­ates new jobs and new ca­reers that can ac­tu­ally pay more than the ones they are re­pla­cing. But the high­er pay­ing jobs of this new era re­quire ad­vanced skills and edu­ca­tion.

Those with the right ad­vanced edu­ca­tion are mak­ing more than ever. But those that do not are fall­ing farther and farther be­hind. The res­ult is a grow­ing op­por­tun­ity gap between haves and have-nots, those who have ad­vanced edu­ca­tion and those who do not. And if we do not re­verse that trend, we will lose the up­ward mo­bil­ity that made Amer­ica ex­cep­tion­al.

In the last cen­tury, edu­ca­tion be­came a vi­able op­tion for mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans like me. But in this new cen­tury, the right edu­ca­tion is no longer just an­op­tion, it has be­come a ne­ces­sity for nearly every­one.

The prob­lem is that we are try­ing to pre­pare people for the new eco­nomy us­ing a high­er edu­ca­tion sys­tem built for the old eco­nomy. As a res­ult, many high-skilled, high-pay­ing in­dus­tries suf­fer from a short­age of labor, while too many low-pay­ing in­dus­tries suf­fer from a sur­plus. In the com­ing dec­ade, 63 per­cent of jobs will re­quire post­sec­ond­ary train­ing. (Cita­tion). But if cur­rent edu­ca­tion trends con­tin­ue, we will fall short of filling these skilled po­s­i­tions by 300,000 people per year.

Our single most im­port­ant do­mest­ic pri­or­ity should be to put in place policies that foster dy­nam­ic eco­nom­ic growth. Policies that make this coun­try the easi­est and best place in the world to in­nov­ate and cre­ate jobs. But ul­ti­mately, these jobs will not be cre­ated here if our people do not have the skills and the train­ing they re­quire.

So among the most press­ing chal­lenges be­fore us today is to trans­ition to a new mod­el of de­liv­er­ing high­er edu­ca­tion that equips Amer­ic­ans for the bet­ter pay­ing ca­reers of this new eco­nomy.

One of the cent­ral prob­lems of our out­dated high­er edu­ca­tion sys­tem is that it has be­come in­creas­ingly un­af­ford­able for those who stand to be­ne­fit the most. Tu­ition rates have skyrock­eted at a rate far ex­ceed­ing the rise in in­fla­tion. Even when the Great Re­ces­sion took hold five years ago and Amer­ic­ans had less to spend, the rise in tu­ition only con­tin­ued to ac­cel­er­ate. Between 2006 and 2012, the cost of col­lege in­creased by 16.5 per­cent. (Cita­tion).

This has forced a grow­ing num­ber of stu­dents from low and middle in­come fam­il­ies to choose between tak­ing on large amounts of stu­dent loan debt or giv­ing up on their dreams of an ad­vanced edu­ca­tion.

Today, col­lege gradu­ates in Amer­ica have more than $1 tril­lion in com­bined stu­dent loans. (Cita­tion). And keep in mind this is bor­rowed at in­terest rates far above home-mort­gage rates. This un­af­ford­able debt is more than just a num­ber on a piece of pa­per. It has a real life im­pact that af­fects our eco­nomy from top to bot­tom. It delays the abil­ity of young Amer­ic­ans to get mar­ried, buy a home and start a fam­ily. It keeps them from sav­ing for a rainy day or in­vest­ing for re­tire­ment.

One of the main reas­ons tu­ition rates are rising is that col­leges know the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment will con­tin­ue lend­ing stu­dents as much as they need in fed­er­ally guar­an­teed loans. These hiked tu­ition rates ef­fect­ively form a free sub­sidy for col­leges and uni­versit­ies, which use the funds to fin­ance a myri­ad of non-aca­dem­ic pur­suits ran­ging from din­ing op­tions to con­struc­tion pro­jects to ath­let­ics. Many schools use this money to fin­ance vari­ous ad­min­is­trat­ive po­s­i­tions that have little, if any­thing, to do with edu­cat­ing stu­dents. In fact, these non-in­struc­tion­al po­s­i­tions were be­hind a 28% ex­pan­sion of the high­er edu­ca­tion work­force from 2000 to 2012. (Cita­tion).

When I was in the state House, the uni­versit­ies told us every year that they needed high­er tu­ition to re­tain qual­ity fac­ulty and pur­sue goals that they called vi­tal to stu­dent learn­ing. I un­der­stand this ar­gu­ment. It’s im­port­ant to en­sure stu­dents re­ceive a qual­ity edu­ca­tion for their tu­ition dol­lars. But there also has to come a point where qual­ity and af­ford­ab­il­ity meet. We simply can­not con­tin­ue to price people out of high­er edu­ca­tion.

Mak­ing these rising costs even more bur­den­some is a fed­er­al gov­ern­ment that seems to try its best to be con­fus­ing and bur­eau­crat­ic. Even the pro­cess of ap­ply­ing for fed­er­al fin­an­cial aid is made un­ne­ces­sar­ily dif­fi­cult. We should ex­am­ine ways to cut back on the com­plex­ity of the fed­er­al aid ap­plic­a­tion to en­sure stu­dents are not dis­cour­aged by the pro­cess and are able to com­plete it quickly and ac­cur­ately.

The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment also uses a tangled and bur­eau­crat­ic sys­tem of tax policies. What stu­dents and par­ents need from our tax code is simple, so let’s stop pre­tend­ing it’s so com­plic­ated. They need their edu­ca­tion­al ex­penses to be tax de­duct­ible. That’s why Rep­res­ent­at­ive Schock and I have pro­posed a bill to up­date and con­sol­id­ate high­er edu­ca­tion tax in­cent­ives in­to one simple, easy-to-un­der­stand tax cred­it. Our bill would help mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans pur­sue high­er edu­ca­tion, sim­pli­fy the tax code and save tax­pay­ers money.

Our col­leges and uni­versit­ies must do their part by mak­ing it among their highest pri­or­it­ies to find the right bal­ance between qual­ity and cost. And sim­pli­fy­ing the tax be­ne­fits of high­er edu­ca­tion will help stu­dents deal with the cost of high­er edu­ca­tion as well. But this alone is not enough.

Today, I am grate­ful for this op­por­tun­ity to of­fer three ad­di­tion­al ideas aimed at help­ing Amer­ic­ans earn a prac­tic­al ad­vanced edu­ca­tion at an af­ford­able price and in a reas­on­able time­frame.

First, we must re­cog­nize that it is no longer enough to merely get a de­gree. If you want to im­prove your chances of find­ing a good pay­ing job, it is vi­tal that you get the right de­gree geared to­ward the right in­dustry.

Not all col­lege ma­jors have the same suc­cess rate when it comes to con­nect­ing stu­dents with good jobs. Na­tion­ally, ma­jors such as busi­ness, lib­er­al arts, and hos­pit­al­ity have un­der­em­ploy­ment rates at or above 50 per­cent. There are simply more gradu­ates than jobs in these in­dus­tries. Mean­while, en­gin­eer­ing, health ser­vices and edu­ca­tion all have un­der­em­ploy­ment rates less than 25 per­cent. (Cita­tion)

Stu­dents and their fam­il­ies need to be equipped with the in­form­a­tion ne­ces­sary to make well-in­formed de­cisions about which ma­jors at which in­sti­tu­tions are likely to yield the best re­turn on in­vest­ment. This is why I, along with Sen­at­or Ron Wyden, pro­posed the “Stu­dent Right to Know Be­fore You Go Act,” which aims to give stu­dents re­li­able data on how much they can ex­pect to make versus how much they can ex­pect to owe.

Second, we must make the bur­den of stu­dent loans more man­age­able. To do so, I pro­pose that we make an “In­come-Based Re­pay­ment Sys­tem” the auto­mat­ic re­pay­ment meth­od for stu­dent loans. Un­der this sys­tem, gradu­ates would make loan pay­ments in pro­por­tion to how much they earn. So the more you make in a giv­en month, the more you would pay back. The less you make, the less your monthly pay­ment will be.

We have vari­ous In­come-Based Re­pay­ment pro­grams already in place, but they are ter­ribly in­suf­fi­cient and re­plete with un­in­ten­ded con­sequences. Many gradu­ates don’t even know the pro­grams ex­ist, mak­ing them ex­tremely un­der­u­til­ized. And per­haps it’s no great sur­prise that those who do at­tempt to use them of­ten get tangled in a slow and frus­trat­ing fed­er­al bur­eau­cracy. Mak­ing in­come-based re­pay­ment the uni­ver­sal re­pay­ment meth­od would end this con­fu­sion.

And fi­nally, we must cre­ate al­tern­at­ives to our cur­rent sys­tem of ac­cess­ing and pay­ing for high­er edu­ca­tion. And there are sev­er­al things we can do to foster more choice and more in­nov­a­tion.

For ex­ample, what if in ad­di­tion to tra­di­tion­al loans, we could give stu­dents the op­tion of pay­ing for their edu­ca­tion without ac­quir­ing any stu­dent loans at all?

Let’s say you are a stu­dent who needs $10,000 to pay for your last year of school. In­stead of tak­ing this money out in the form of a loan, you could ap­ply for a “Stu­dent In­vest­ment Plan” from an ap­proved and cer­ti­fied private in­vest­ment group. In short, these in­vestors would pay your $10,000 tu­ition in re­turn for a per­cent­age of your in­come for a set peri­od of time after gradu­ation ““ let’s say, for ex­ample, 4 per­cent a year for 10 years.

This group would look at factors such as your ma­jor, the in­sti­tu­tion you’re at­tend­ing, your re­cord in school ““ and use this to make a de­term­in­a­tion about the like­li­hood of you find­ing a good job and pay­ing them back.

Un­like with loans, you would be un­der no leg­al ob­lig­a­tion to pay back that en­tire $10,000. Your only ob­lig­a­tion would be to pay that 4 per­cent of your in­come per year for 10 years, re­gard­less of wheth­er that ends up amount­ing to more or less than $10,000.

We also need policies that re­cog­nize that many Amer­ic­ans don’t have the money, time or in­clin­a­tion to spend four to six years on a cam­pus. Maybe you are a single par­ent who needs to work full time to raise your chil­dren, so you can­not just drop everything to go back to school. Or maybe you are a high school stu­dent who wants to fix air­plane en­gines as a ca­reer, but you lose in­terest in your school­work be­cause it seems geared only to­ward col­lege bound stu­dents.

For mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans trapped in low-pay­ing jobs or at risk of drop­ping out of school, high­er edu­ca­tion may be the only way they will ever be able to move to a bet­ter pay­ing job. What they need is more af­ford­able de­grees or ca­reer edu­ca­tion op­tions that are tailored to their spe­cif­ic needs and tal­ents.

We should make ca­reer and vo­ca­tion­al edu­ca­tion more wide­spread and more ac­cess­ible. For in­stance, here in Miami, the loc­al school dis­trict has partnered with a car deal­er­ship to cre­ate an in­nov­at­ive ap­proach to ca­reer edu­ca­tion. The stu­dents in this pro­gram at­tend tra­di­tion­al high school classes each morn­ing, then go to auto deal­er­ships where they are trained to be cer­ti­fied tech­ni­cians. When they fin­ish high school, they gradu­ate not just with a high school dip­loma but with a job-ready in­dustry cer­ti­fic­a­tion from an auto­mobile man­u­fac­turer.

An­oth­er ex­ample of this is ap­pren­tice­ship pro­grams, which provide valu­able on-the-job train­ing for em­ploy­ees. So in­stead of hav­ing to pay for school­ing, an em­ploy­ee can of­ten get paid to learn and work to­ward a de­gree while on the job. We need policies that en­cour­age in­dus­tries to ex­pand ap­pren­tice­ship pro­grams and work more closely with their loc­al work-force train­ing boards to make these vi­able op­tions for gain­ing cer­ti­fic­a­tion or de­gree cred­it.

We should also cre­ate more path­ways for work­ing par­ents to at­tain the equi­val­ent of a col­lege de­gree at the more eas­ily ac­cess­ible state col­lege level. Our host today, Miami Dade Col­lege, is a pi­on­eer in this ef­fort.

Let’s fully util­ize in­nov­a­tion and tech­no­logy to make learn­ing easi­er to ac­cess. To their cred­it, many tra­di­tion­al col­leges and uni­versit­ies now of­fer on­line edu­ca­tion­al op­por­tun­it­ies. Some of the best are right here in Flor­ida. My alma ma­ter, UF, has two on­line courses ranked in the top 5 na­tion­ally. Embry-Riddle Aero­naut­ic­al Uni­versity in Daytona Beach also has one in the top 5. (Cita­tion)

These uni­versity-offered on­line courses are a wel­comed al­tern­at­ive for many stu­dents, but un­for­tu­nately the cost of these courses is of­ten com­par­able to at­tend­ing phys­ic­al classes. With all of the re­sources of the web, most of which are com­pletely free, shouldn’t there be an­oth­er al­tern­at­ive?

The spread of know­ledge through the In­ter­net is one of the greatest tech­no­lo­gic­al break­throughs of our time. So why hasn’t our edu­ca­tion sys­tem found a way to har­ness it and al­low it to count to­ward a per­son’s post-sec­ond­ary edu­ca­tion?

The an­swer is that we have a broken ac­cred­it­a­tion sys­tem that fa­vors es­tab­lished in­sti­tu­tions while block­ing out new, in­nov­at­ive and more af­ford­able com­pet­it­ors.

In or­der for a col­lege or uni­versity to be re­cog­nized as a de­gree-con­fer­ring in­sti­tu­tion, it has to be ap­proved — or “ac­cred­ited” — by an in­de­pend­ent reg­u­lat­ory board. The prob­lem is, these reg­u­lat­ory boards are con­trolled in large part by the in­sti­tu­tions that have already been ac­cred­ited, which are typ­ic­ally the tra­di­tion­al four-year col­leges and uni­versit­ies. This means their ac­cred­it­a­tion status is rarely ques­tioned, while the status of po­ten­tial com­pet­it­ors — such as free on­line course-pro­viders — is rarely giv­en ample con­sid­er­a­tion.

Re­form­ing this biased and broken sys­tem is cru­cial to open­ing broad, in­nov­at­ive path­ways to high­er edu­ca­tion for all Amer­ic­ans. There are already some unique and power­ful pro­pos­als for re­form out there today. Sen­at­or Mike Lee, for ex­ample, has pro­posed al­low­ing states to take con­trol of the ac­cred­it­a­tion pro­cess. Mem­bers of both parties are be­gin­ning to real­ize that for every day we delay bold ac­cred­it­a­tion re­form, our edu­ca­tion sys­tem leaves more Amer­ic­ans be­hind to lan­guish in a dwind­ling mar­ket of low-skill jobs.

Ac­tion on this is­sue can and should be swift. Free on­line learn­ing is already a real­ity, we just need the es­tab­lished sys­tem to catch up. Here’s how it could work. After com­plet­ing a free on­line course, a stu­dent could pay a re­l­at­ively small fee to take a stand­ard­ized test that, if passed, would al­low them to count the class to­ward a de­gree or job cer­ti­fic­a­tion.

This is the same concept we use to al­low stu­dents to count AP classes in high school to­ward col­lege cred­it. By al­low­ing real-world ex­per­i­ences to count in the same way, we could cre­ate what would vir­tu­ally amount to a debt-free de­gree.

To make this a real­ity, Con­gress could es­tab­lish a new in­de­pend­ent ac­cred­it­ing board to en­sure the qual­ity of these free courses and make the cred­its trans­fer­able in­to the tra­di­tion­al sys­tem. The board would factor in in­put from the private sec­tor and would al­low stu­dents to qual­i­fy for some type of fed­er­al aid to cov­er any po­ten­tial costs.

In ad­di­tion to these on­line courses, there are a nearly in­fin­ite num­ber of ways for an in­di­vidu­al to learn and mas­ter a trade, and it’s im­possible to ac­cred­it them all.

For ex­ample, an as­pir­ing cook may have mastered their craft from books and free on­line tu­tori­als, or per­haps from the train­ing of a par­ent who is a cer­ti­fied chef — or who simply cooks up a mean ropa vieja after years of pre­par­ing it for their fam­ily. Be­cause we all know that if most of our par­ents or grand­par­ents wanted to go work as a res­taur­ant chef, they wouldn’t need to take a class to prove they can cook. These people should have the op­por­tun­ity to prove their abil­it­ies and gain the cer­ti­fic­a­tion ne­ces­sary for em­ploy­ment without spend­ing tens of thou­sands at a form­al culin­ary school.

We could jump­start and cre­ate private sec­tor con­fid­ence in this prac­tice by cre­at­ing a pi­lot pro­gram to hire such work­ers in fed­er­al agen­cies. The agen­cies would identi­fy oc­cu­pa­tions where em­ploy­ees could have learned skills from non-tra­di­tion­al sources. The pi­lot pro­gram would then sys­tem­at­ize the hir­ing of these in­di­vidu­als over a five-year peri­od, al­low­ing the res­ults to be tracked and re­por­ted back to form the basis for fu­ture policy.

I sus­pect that we will find that in many fields, the source of an em­ploy­ee’s edu­ca­tion is far less im­port­ant than many pre­vi­ously thought. That those who have the skills and the aptitude to be suc­cess­ful in a job de­serve the op­por­tun­ity to be con­sidered for em­ploy­ment, even if they learned the trade from a non-tra­di­tion­al source.

In clos­ing, I feel the policies I’ve out­lined here — and that we’ll con­tin­ue to dis­cuss in a mo­ment — are not just about edu­ca­tion. They are about our shared and uni­fy­ing be­lief that no one should be held cap­tive by the cir­cum­stances of their birth. They are about the equal­ity of op­por­tun­ity that trans­formed a young and di­verse na­tion in­to the freest and most pros­per­ous na­tion in all of hu­man his­tory.

En­act­ing these and oth­er in­nov­at­ive policies to re­form high­er edu­ca­tion should be among our most ur­gent pri­or­it­ies. Be­cause what is at stake is our very iden­tity as an ex­cep­tion­al na­tion.

This new post-in­dus­tri­al eco­nomy of­fers great prom­ise, but it has also cre­ated wide­spread eco­nom­ic in­sec­ur­ity. Mil­lions live one broken-down car, one de­struct­ive storm, one ser­i­ous ill­ness away from fin­an­cial col­lapse. People who worked their whole lives in one in­dustry have watched their jobs dis­ap­pear. Par­ents are heart­broken know­ing their chil­dren did everything they were told they need to do to suc­ceed, but now can’t find a job in the field they stud­ied for.

The Great Re­ces­sion brought about much of this in­sec­ur­ity. But in some ways it only sped up changes that were already hap­pen­ing. And it’s left so many feel­ing as if a bet­ter to­mor­row is in­creas­ingly out of reach for people like them.

Like the eco­nom­ic trans­form­a­tions of the past, the one we are now wit­ness­ing is scary and dis­rupt­ive. But just like the in­dus­tri­al re­volu­tion at the turn of the last cen­tury, this new era of­fers the real op­por­tun­ity to build the great Amer­ic­an middle class. Through trade, tech­no­logy, sci­entif­ic in­nov­a­tion and 21st cen­tury man­u­fac­tur­ing, we can cre­ate fields and in­dus­tries that nev­er ex­is­ted be­fore, and ca­reers and jobs that pay more than the jobs they re­placed.

This is the op­por­tun­ity of our time, and no people on earth are bet­ter po­si­tioned to seize it. If we can just bring high­er edu­ca­tion with­in reach of more of our people, the 21st cen­tury — like the one be­fore it — will be an Amer­ic­an cen­tury.

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For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

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CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

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ARE YOU THE GATEKEEPER?
Sanders: Obama Is a Progressive
1 days ago
THE LATEST

“Do I think President Obama is a progressive? Yeah, I do,” said Bernie Sanders, in response to a direct question in tonight’s debate. “I think they’ve done a great job.” But Hillary Clinton wasn’t content to sit out the latest chapter in the great debate over the definition of progressivism. “In your definition, with you being the gatekeeper of progressivism, I don’t think anyone else fits that definition,” she told Sanders.

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