Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) took on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Wednesday night at the CNBC Republican presidential debate, contending the only reason Bush was attacking him was because he had been convinced that "attacking me is going to help you."
The exchange occurred when Bush criticized Rubio for missing votes in the Senate as he campaigns for president.
"Can I bring something up here?" Bush said. "Because I am a constituent of the senator and I helped him and I expected he would do constituent service, which means that he show up to work."
"Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term. And you should be showing up to work. I mean literally, the Senate — what is it like a French work week? You get like three days where you have to show up. You can campaign. Or just resign and let someone else take the job," the former Florida continued. "There are a lot of people living paycheck-to-paycheck in Florida and they are looking for a senator that will fight for them each and every day."
Rubio, seemingly prepared for the attack, hit back hard.
"Over the last few weeks I've listened to Jeb as walked around the country and said that you're modeling your campaign after John McCain," he said. "That you're going to launch a furious comeback the way he did. By fighting hard in places like New Hampshire. Carrying your own bag at the airport. You know how many votes John McCain missed when he was carrying out that furious comeback you're now modeling after?"
"Now Jeb, I don't remember you ever complaining about John McCain's voting record," the senator continued. "The only reason you're doing it now is because we are running for the same position and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you."
Rubio said that despite the attack, he would continue to have respect for Bush.
"Here's the bottom line: My campaign is going to be about the future of America. It's not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage," he said. "I will continue to have tremendous admiration and respect for Governor Bush. I'm not running against Governor Bush. I'm not running against anyone on this stage. I am running for president. Because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies of Obama."
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