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Limbaugh defends Rubio as 'full-throated conservative'

Marco Rubio

Conservative radio talk show giant Rush Limbaugh came out strong on the side of Marco Rubio during his most recent broadcast, saying media outlets that label the Floridian as the “establishment candidate” are way off base.

“I do not like, speaking for myself, I don’t like this idea that Marco Rubio is all of a sudden being labeled as an establishment candidate,” he said, citing a Reuters story with a headline, “Marco Rubio Emerges Champion of Battered Republican Establishment” and another, “Republican Cruz Calls Iowa Win a Victory for Conservative Grassroots.”

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Limbaugh said he wasn’t dismissing or ignoring Rubio’s Gang of Eight participation that brought forward the amnesty measure. But he also said people make mistakes, even strong conservatives.

“Marco Rubio is no moderate Republican centrist,” he said. “I could sit here like anybody else could and try to make explanations for why he did the Gang of Eight. I’m not even going to try to put words into his mouth. I don’t want to be seen as making excuses. I’m just telling you, I don’t see Marco Rubio as anything other than a legitimate, full-throated conservative. Nobody’s pure and nobody is ever free of making mistakes.”

Limbaugh said he knew Rubio and his views are similar in some respects to Sen. Ted Cruz, who maintains a political image tied more to evangelicals and tea-party type views. And allowing the press to box him as the establishment candidate is a disservice to voters, he suggested.

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“I just don’t like this idea that all of a sudden we’re going to make Rubio the establishment bad guy, as though Rubio is no different than the McCains and the Bob Doles and the Romneys and the others that have come along and been nominated by the establishment,” Limbaugh said. “He just isn’t. He has not been talked out of his conservatism. He does not abandon it. He had the best end-of-the-evening speech of anybody last night. He had the best end-of-the-evening speech of anybody. And even the media was dazzled by the fact that he did it without a teleprompter. … Barack Hussein O can’t do anything without a teleprompter.”

Limbaugh suggested the “establishment may embrace him because they hate Cruz” and are turned off by Donald Trump.

“But I’m never going to be one that sees Marco Rubio as the establishment,” he said.