Sen. Marco Rubio begins his assault on fellow Cuban, Sen. Ted Cruz over security concerns for the GOP presidential nomination.
Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday night unveiled a new line of attack on the Republican who's become his primary competition for the party's nomination in recent days — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whom Rubio said voted to "weaken our intelligence programs."
"At least two of my colleagues in the Senate aspiring to the presidency - Senator Cruz in particular - have voted to weaken the U.S. intelligence programs just in the last month and a half," he said during a discussion at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council event in Washington. "And the weakening of our intelligence gathering capabilities leaves America vulnerable."
His comments referenced Sen. Rand Paul as well, though not by name. Both Paul and Cruz voted in favor of the USA Freedom Act in June, which would have reigned in government surveillance programs.
Rubio called the issue of intelligence gathering a "distinctive issue of debate in the presidential race." And as he seeks to carve out a distinct lane in the presidential primary as a candidate with both the right experience — having served on a number of national security committees in the Senate — and the right perspective — leaning more towards the hawkish neoconservative wing of the party — on defense, intelligence is an area on which he draws a sharp distinction from his more conservative opponents.