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Tipsheet

Unity: Trump, DNC, Hillary, and Jeb Hitting Rubio on Missed Senate Votes


This issue briefly took centerstage at last night's debate, having garnered extra attention this week because one of the largest newspapers in Florida is calling on Marco Rubio -- who's not seeking re-election to the US Senate -- to resign, rather than "ripping off" the state as an absentee Senator. The very same newspaper, strangely enough, never went nuclear on a different Florida Senator's 
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legislative delinquency while pursuing a presidential run:


But Bob Graham was a Democrat, whose voting record was more aligned with the Sun Sentinel's liberal editorial board -- and its publisher, a Graham donor.  It's indisputable that Rubio has missed quite a few votes in the upper chamber while campaigning for the White House.  Donald Trump has been slapping at him on the issue for weeks, with the Democratic National Committee and a pro-Hillary Clinton SuperPAC getting in on the action.  Here's the fine print neither organization is eager to mention: Rubio has missed a lower percentage of votes at this stage of the current cycle than -- ta da! -- Sen. Barack Obama had at this point in 2007, plus his Senate career absentee rate is lower than Hillary Clinton's at the conclusion of her tenure. Rubio made reference to some of these numbers last evening, but here are the specifics

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Jebworld started piling on with a Ferris Bueller-themed knock yesterday afternoon, hoping to slow the momentum of Bush's onetime protege who's overtaken his mentor in the polls:


The pre-planned debate attack in primetime...ended badly for Bush.  A few thoughts: Trump shoots from the hip and allegedly doesn't even employ internal pollsters (ironic for a guy positively obsessed with polling) so his broadsides against Rubio on this point don't tell us much strategically.  But the fact that Jeb and Hillary's well-funded, savvy extended operations -- not to mention the DNC -- are pursuing this line of attack is more revealing. Absenteeism can be a potent hit against sitting politicians, as several recently-elected Republican Senators can attest. I've spoken with several political pros who say the "politician X isn't doing the job he was elected to do" can leave a mark, across all levels of elective politics. Then again, Barack Obama's extensive record of missed votes and 
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"present" punts didn't hinder his meteoric rise between 2004 and 2008. All of which is to say that Rubio shouldn't take the threat lightly; this ain't the traffic tickets silliness. He needed to hone a sharper, more focused response on this than he'd offered previously -- assuring Floridians that he's present and accounted for when it counts most, tapping into the public's disdain for DC, and perhaps good-naturedly noting his critics' hypocrisy on the topic.  Mission accomplished last night, but he'll need to adapt and tweak his approach if the Democrats continue to come after him on this. And as he indicated, there's plenty of material to work with, if executed adroitly:



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