By Jeremy Herb
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Sunday declined to criticize potential 2016 rival New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), saying it would be a mistake for him to do so.
“I think it would be a mistake for me and others like me to comment on this,” Rubio said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Rubio and other potential 2016 candidates have mostly opted not to comment on Christie this week, as he has dealt with the fallout because his senior aides were involved in lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September.
There has been plenty of speculation about whether the bridge scandal could harm Christie’s 2016 prospects. He has denied any knowledge of the lane closures and, this week, fired a top aide who was involved.
Rubio said on “Face the Nation” that he will make a decision about running for president around this time next year.
“Interestingly enough, in 2016, I'm up for reelection, if I want to choose to stay in the Senate, so I'll have to make a decision around this time next year about whether I'm interested in running for another office, or running for reelection or becoming a private citizen,” Rubio said.
As Christie was dealing with the bridge scandal this week, Rubio delivered a speech on the 50th anniversary of former President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty.
In his speech, Rubio said the war on poverty had been a failure and advocated giving programs that tackle poverty to the states, rather than the federal government.
“I think programs like Head Start are geared in the right direction, in the sense that they're trying to get children educational opportunities as young as possible. I think where those programs could be completed and improved is if we create flexibility in them at the local level,” Rubio said.
“I'm not saying we should dismantle the efforts,” he added. “I'm saying that these efforts need to be reformed, and I believe the best way to reform them is to turn the money and the influence over to the state and local level, where I think you'll find the kinds of innovations that allow us to confront an issue that's complex and, quite frankly, diverse.”