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OTR Interviews

Rubio: The people see through Cruz's lies

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 16, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, tonight, ON THE RECORD, no southern hospitality. The war for South Carolina is turning nasty. That's a really bad name-calling.

This 2016 race is wild. But the race isn't as tight as some candidates would like to think.

A brand new "CNN/ORC" poll of likely Republican South Carolina voters had Donald Trump with a double digit lead. Trump sits in first place at 38 percent. Senator Ted Cruz, 16 points behind Trump at 22 percent. Senator Marco Rubio in 3rd place with 14 percent. That is 24 points behind Donald Trump -- number one. And Governor Jeb Bush in 4th place with 10 percent. Dr. Ben Carson in fifth with six percent. And Governor John Kasich rounding out the field at four percent.

And with just four days until primary day, the candidates are pounding the pavement in South Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a president that talks about the ozone.

Then he flies to Hawaii to play golf in a 747 with a four monster engine. He plays more golf than people on the PGA tour.

BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can rebuild villages in Iraq and Afghanistan. You know what? We can rebuild with Michigan.

DR. BEN CARSON, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are in great danger as we allow the culture of division to flourish in our society.

HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The truth is we aren't a single issue country. We face a complex set of economic, social, and political challenges.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think Hillary Clinton is unqualified to be president of the United States.

SEN. TED CRUZ, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Have we lost our faculties? Is political correctness so consuming that we're not willing to say that's just nuts?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: 2016 presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio goes ON THE RECORD.

Good evening, sir.

RUBIO: Good evening, Greta. Thanks for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you for joining us.

Senator, you and Donald Trump are both calling Senator Ted Cruz a liar. Actually, you used more polite words. You say that he makes things up. I don't think you have used the "L" word.

But Senator Ted Cruz in a new poll out tonight is in second place in South Carolina. You're in third. How do you explain why that is?

RUBIO: I don't think these polls are relevant at this stage. We have seen it in multiple states now where those numbers change at the end. And that's true whether you are up or down. I mean, voters are still making their decision. And the only thing I thought about Ted is that he is not telling the truth about multiple things.

I mean, he has been rebuked over the weekend by National Right to Life for not telling the truth about my record on Planned Parenthood. He has distorted and not told the truth about my record on the definition of marriage. And, today, he wasn't telling the truth when he gave a defense speech and arguing about how he is going to increase the military.

Ted Cruz has been weak on national defense. The only budget he ever voted for was a budget authored by Rand Paul that bragged about reducing defense spending. And he has voted against every defense authorization bill he has ever voted on. So I think he is trying to cover for that with some of these things, but people see through it.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Making the assumption in the foregoing you said is all true and I'm not challenging you on it, because I don't have it in front of me. But I'm making assumption, you must be pulling your hair out that apparently the South Carolina voters to some extent are believing him.

RUBIO: No, not really. I think if you look at the way trends go in these campaigns, we feel great about our momentum and where we are going to wind up. I mean, there is five polls today and they all show different things. But they all consistently show that our numbers continue to grow and we feel good about what that's going to mean on Saturday night. So that's what I focus on. I don't necessarily mean -- if I listen to polls, I never would have run. I was in ninth place out of 10 or something when we first started this race.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which brings me to Facebook. I asked my Facebook followers to submit some questions. And Marlene Lutz put a question on my Facebook page that says, "At one point in your, meaning you, sir, your political life, did you feel qualified to run for president of the United States."

What do you say to yourself to come to this decision based on your history?

RUBIO: Yes. Well, first, I looked at our party and I said the Republican Party needs to be unified and it needs to grow. We have to be able to take our conservative message to people who are not voting for Republicans and conservatives. And I can do that better than anyone in this race and I knew that.

And the other is, the most important thing a president does is national security. And if you look at the Republican field and the people who are left, I have more experience than anyone else running when it comes to national security and foreign policy. And it's not even close, actually.

That's the most important job of a president. And so when I saw that and I saw the field, I said we had to have someone running who could win and who was strong on national security. And that's when I knew that I had a chance to not just be the nominee, but be the president at a time when America desperately needs a new commander-in-chief.

VAN SUSTEREN: The constitution says that the president shall nominate someone to the Supreme Court. And the president has received a lot of criticism from the Republican side of the aisle saying he doesn't pay attention to the constitution and they point to his executive orders.

Now he is faced with the clause that says he shall nominate. And some Republicans say that he shouldn't. What do you say?

RUBIO: Well, look, he can nominate if he wants. We're just saying the Senate is not moving forward on any nomination until after the election. And there has been precedent set for that over 80 years now in which in the last year in the eighth year of a president, we don't -- at some point, we don't even move forward on appellate judges.

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: But is that the precedent you want to set though? I mean, at some point, the shoe could be on the other foot.

RUBIO: Sure, absolutely.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you've got the situation where.

RUBIO: That's fine.

VAN SUSTEREN: President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice Kennedy in the last year of his presidency and that was -- then he was confirmed to the Supreme Court. I mean, I know that the Republicans say well the Democrats did it this way so now we are going to do it this way. Why not, why not, why not at least have a hearing and you can reject the nominee?

RUBIO: Well, again, I agree with Senator McConnell. We are going to have an election in November. And in November, when we have this election, voters are going to get to choose a president. And a lot of big issue in this campaign is going to be what kind of justice should replace someone like Justice Scalia.

Justice Scalia is perhaps the foremost jurist in American history for the prompt -- for the idea, the reality that their job is to interpret the constitution according to its original meaning. He needs to be replaced by someone just like that. You're not going to get someone like that from Barack Obama.

But, again, in November, there is going to be an election. And if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders wins, I don't believe they will, but if they do, then that's the kind of jurist they are going to get something different. But if not, the next president will be someone -- me, I hope -- who will appoint someone like Justice Scalia to the bench.

So in November, voters are going to have a say on this. And then we will move forward from there. That's what I think the appropriate approach is at this moment. We are not moving forward in the Senate. And I will do everything I can, procedurally, to stop us moving forward. But, again, the majority leader has said we are not going to do anything and so I feel comfortable with that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to have you join us. And good luck in the primaries, sir.

RUBIO: Thank you. Thanks, Greta.