Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) criticized a Spanish-language radio ad from Newt Gingrichs campaign, calling its criticisms of Romneys immigration policies inaccurate and inflammatory.

This kind of language is more than just unfortunate. Its inaccurate, inflammatory and doesnt belong in this campaign,” Rubio told The Miami Herald when asked about the ad.

 The truth is that neither of these two men is anti-immigrant ... Both are pro-legal immigration and both have positive messages that play well in the Hispanic community.”

Rubio has been careful up until now to stay publicly neutral in the presidential race, although many of his senior staff worked for Romney in 2008. This is the first time hes gone after Gingrich this strongly.

The freshman senator is a rock star with Republicans both in Florida and nationally, and is considered a top contender for the GOPs vice presidential slot. His opinion holds especially strong sway in Miami, his hometown, which has many Cuban Republican voters.

Gingrich and Romney are locked in a close race in a state that will likely determine the front-runner.