Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh argued Wednesday that Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) presidential campaign had been taken out years earlier by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Limbaugh opened his radio program praising Rubio's concession speech as "the best speech I've heard in a year, by anybody. Hands down." He added that Rubio exiting the 2016 race Tuesday was "the happiest thing" for Democrats because "they really believe Rubio was the one problem Hillary [Clinton] had."
Limbaugh then moved to argue that the notion Rubio is "not a conservative" is ludicrous.
"Anybody want to try to tell me that he's not a conservative, I'm sorry, you're talking to a brick wall in me because that just isn't the case," Limbaugh said. "That speech last night was just -- folks, I sat there watching that speech."
"And it's not uncommon. The exit speech is often the best speech of a candidate's campaign," he continued. "But this was better than even that. This would have been a great introductory speech opening the campaign. It was that good. I couldn't tell if it was on a teleprompter or not. Doesn't matter. I know it came from his heart."
Limbaugh then revealed what he viewed as the single think responsible for sinking Rubio's campaign.
"Let me ask you a question," the radio host said. "The way he handled the Gang of Eight, he botched that. What if he would have just said, 'You know what? I'm sorry. I was new in the Senate, and—' whatever he says, '—I got sucked in by these guys or I thought I could really help or change 'em. I thought I could guide. I really, really blew it, I'm really, really sorry,' instead of trying to make the case for it over and over again the way he did."
Limbaugh continued, "I think Chuck Schumer took Marco Rubio out years ago. It didn't happen in this campaign. Schumer and the Gang of Eight Democrats took him out. I know it's ultimately his responsibility, don't misunderstand, but that's where we trace this back."
The conservative personality argued added, "Now, I don't doubt that Schumer and his gang wanted the bill passed and I have no doubt that they thought Rubio would help them get it passed, and so forth, but, man, you stop and think if not. Rubio's story, his campaign, everything would be tremendously different. It's impossible to know what differences manifest themselves, but he never had a prayer."
Throughout the campaign, Rubio was forced to defend his involvement with the so-called amnesty offered by the immigration package he backed with Schumer.
In several debates, he went toe-to-toe with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on the issue. Rubio was also hit in the final days of his campaign by front-runner Donald Trump, who blasted him as "weak on illegal immigration."
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story accidentally identified Sen. Schumer as a Republican. He is obviously a Democrat.
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