Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioLongtime GOP incumbent will not seek reelection Overnight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts What’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? MORE (R-Fla.) on Tuesday sought to defend his attendance record in the Senate while putting it into the context of running for president.

"I have missed votes this year. You know why? Because while as a senator I can help shape the agenda, only a president can set the agenda," Rubio said during the first of three town halls he planned to hold in Iowa on Tuesday.

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"We're not going to fix America with senators and congressmen," Rubio added. "The only way to turn this country around is to reverse the damage this president has done to the United States of America."
 
While the message distances Rubio from Washington in an election dominated by outsider candidates such as real estate mogul Donald Trump, Rubio's opponents will likely use the remark against him.
 
Democratic opposition research group American Bridge immediately circulated a video of his comment, which rivals could use to back up their arguments that the U.S. doesn't need another first-term senator as president.
 
GOP presidential hopefuls Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who has left the race, racked up more missed roll call votes in 2015 than any other senators, according to data released last month by C-SPAN.
 
Rubio for months has defended his missed votes from rivals' attacks, which have gone so far as to suggest he resign.
 
Rubio, who is not running for reelection to the Senate, on Tuesday touted that while he has missed votes, he has "close to 90 percent" record in five years.
 
"We need a president that understands what it takes. And so, yes, I’m out there trying to turn this country around running for president and being here with you and in other early states to try to win because this country is at a tipping point."