CNN anchor to Rubio: Are you in denial?

CNN anchor Jake Tapper late Tuesday asked Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio apologized to Trump for 'small hands' crack Sunday shows preview: Bernie soldiers on Fla. Senate candidate bashes Rubio MORE if he was in denial about his standing in the Republican presidential race.

“You’re talking about Virginia, and that’s another state [Republican presidential front-runner] Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump thought biker rally crowd would resemble ‘I Have a Dream’ speech Weld wins Libertarian nomination for VP Dems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals MORE won,” Tapper said during an interview with the Florida senator as Super Tuesday results rolled in. "I just wonder if there’s a certain amount of denial you’re in about this race."

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The tough questioning occurred before Rubio won Minnesota’s caucuses, his sole victory on Super Tuesday and in the presidential race so far.

Rubio said he remains focused on the contests following Super Tuesday, including his home state of Florida, which will hold a winner-take-all primary on March 15.

“We’re in the winner-take-all phase of this,” he said. "You know this is about the delegate count. This is not a traditional race.”

Rubio said the establishment Republican opposition to Trump still gives him a path to becoming the party’s standard-bearer.

“Usually in a race like this, you’d have a front-runner and people would be saying, ‘You need to drop out and rally around the front-runner for the sake of the party.' They’re saying the opposite now. There will never come a time in this race where our supporters are asking us to get out and rally around Donald Trump.

“What people are saying is, ‘Fight as hard as you can to save the party of [former Presidents] Lincoln and Reagan from a con artist who refuses to criticize the [Ku Klux Klan],” he added.

“If we nominate Donald Trump as our nominee for the Republican Party, it will be the end of the modern Republican Party. Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonWeld wins Libertarian nomination for VP Sanders supporter challenges Wyo. delegate allocation Dems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals MORE will smoke him in a general election.”

Trump won seven out of 11 voting contests on Super Tuesday, well ahead of the three for Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzDems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals Meet the billionaire donor behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Party chairs see reversal of fortune MORE (R-Texas) and the one for Rubio.

Rubio argued during a separate interview on Fox News Tuesday evening that Cruz was the night’s true loser, charging that he underperformed in Southern states seemingly fit for his campaign.

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