“An Extraordinary Cheap Shot”: Mitt Romney Weighs In On Anti-Rubio, Fishing Boat Story

Posted: Jun 17, 2015 4:00 PM

Last weekend, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney sat down with Katie Couric for an interview in Park City, Utah.

As it happens, he was in the Beehive State for the annual E2 Summit leadership conference, which he hosts every year.

And while the newsiest item to come out of that conversation was that Romney, for the umpteenth time, said he's done running for office, he also staunchly defended Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) from recent attacks.

In particular, he skewered the The New York Times for suggesting that Rubio was reckless with money because he had purchased a small, $80,000 fishing boat with generous proceeds he received from the publication of his first book. This was not, as the Times put it, he argued, an “extravagant purchase.”

“Oh, I thought the article was an extraordinary cheap shot,” he said. “It wasn’t a new low for the Times, but it was another low.”

“I kept looking for some big scandal here,” he added. “There was nothing.”

In fact, he said that the reason Rubio was spending so heavily was mostly because he did not come from wealth, and therefore had routine debts to repay.

“He just paid off his student loans,” Romney explained. “[And] guess what? A lot of people in this country have student loans. And they’re going to identify with a person who wasn’t born with wealth — who didn’t make a fortune — but is somebody who’s lived on a paycheck, and understands those struggles.”

Romney also denied that his campaign team “flagged” Rubio in 2012 for financial mismanagement during their VP search.

That part of the Times’ reporting, he added, was “not accurate.”