It's January 1, 2015 -- which means it's the perfect time to ramp up speculation about the presidential race that's now only 677 days away!
In Florida, of course, that means we're talking primarily about two Republican heavyweights, the former governor and conservative family dynasty torchbearer Jeb Bush and his perennially-considered golden boy successor (like, in kind of a creepy way -- remember that sword passing thing?) Marco Rubio. After months of questions over which pol, if either, would jump into the 2016 scramble, Bush, of course, made the big quasi-announcement a couple weeks back that he had decided to "actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States."
The announcement, the popular wisdom went, meant Rubio was likely effectively squeezed out of 2016: Although both Miami-based politicians enjoy huge popularity, Bush remains the elder statesman -- and donor favorite -- and Rubio wouldn't risk the potential squabbling and messy fallout that would inevitably come from an attempt to leapfrog Bush 3.0.
But Rubio hasn't actually shown any sign of backing down since Bush put on his active explorer hat -- and in the senator's most recent comments he again indicated he wouldn't stay put just because of a potential Bush candidacy.
"I don't believe if I decide to run for president," Rubio told NPR, in an interview that airs today, "that [a Jeb Bush run] will be an impediment."
See also: Marco Rubio, Tea Party pretty boy
That comment followed a declaration by an unnamed "senior Rubio advisor" on December 26, political newspaper The Hill reported , who said, "I know for a fact that the news last week didn't change any of our team's plans. Sen. Rubio will have a very aggressive travel schedule next month."
And on December 21, as a guest on an interview on Meet The Press on December 21 Rubio himself said, in less direct (but very campaign-trail friendly) language, essentially the same thing:
"When you reach a point where you are thinking about running for president, as I am, what you have to make your decision is on is not on who is running. It's on whether you think that's the right place to achieve your agenda and serve your country."
Oh, and Rubes also has a new, elect-me-for-president book coming out. Is he also gearing up for a sword fight?