Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's lack of national experience could seriously undermine his 2016 candidacy, say political insiders.
According to Politico's weekly bipartisan survey
of top operatives and activists in Iowa and New Hampshire, Rubio's limited political experience will be a problem for him as the race for president gets underway.
Sixty-one percent of all Republicans surveyed and 63 percent of Democrats think Rubio's experience will be a problem for him. In Iowa, 63 percent of those surveyed say it will be an issue, while in New Hampshire 57 percent say it will be a problem.
Some have compared Rubio to President Barack Obama, noting his lack of experience while acknowledging that his speaking skills and compelling personal narrative were what made Obama attractive to voters.
"He'll have to offer more than one really great speech, because voters are looking for more than inspiration," an Iowa Republican told Politico. "We've had plenty of that with Obama. Voters are looking for accomplishment and experience as well."
"Every election selects the candidate that corrects the perceived deficiencies of the current occupant of the White House. After seven years of an eloquent, one-term senator — the GOP is going to look for something different," a New Hampshire Republican told Politico.
"Without a doubt, when push comes to shove later this year, Rubio will be faced with being too young without enough experience," another operative told Politico.
Rubio is not the only candidate who could be laboring under the charge of a lack of experience. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul are both vulnerable to a similar critique, said several insiders. Rubio, however, is considered the biggest threat to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Nevertheless, some insiders said that the lack of experience isn't an insurmountable obstacle when considering that he has a track record of legislative experience at the state level.
"Rubio's relative lack of federal experience is fair game for his rivals, but he had significantly more state legislative experience than Obama," an Iowa Republican told Politico. "The only way the experience question hurts him is if he comes across as inexperienced. So far, that hasn't been an issue."
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