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Could the 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination Come Down to Marco Rubio and Rand Paul?

By Javier Manjarres

Senators Marco Rubio  and Rand Paul (Getty Images)

Senators Marco Rubio and Rand Paul
(Getty Images)

Two Republican senators who have been grabbing more than their share of headlines and appear to be positioning themselves for for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination are Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.

Both men were swept into office in large part by the Tea Party grassroots movement in 2010 and both have substantially increased their following nationally since beginning their careers in the Senate.  

Paul has already stated that he would consider running for the GOP presidential nomination while Rubio is playing it more closely to the vest, although he is said to have already expressed his intentions to run for higher office to close friends and family.

Rubio has taken the lead on the immigration debate which many believe could pave the way for the first generation “American Son” to win the Republican nomination.  But Rubio is contending with a growing sentiment that perceives his tone and rhetoric as being too soft and measured in certain instances.  Case in point- Rubio’s recent questioning of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi consulate attack hearings where Rubio appeared to pull his punches and perhaps too carefully measure his words. Rand Paul however was quite the opposite- Paul grilled Clinton and told her straight up that he would have fired her if he was her boss.

Rubio’s tone and rhetoric at this juncture is arguably inconsistent, as he appeared to come across much softer towards Clinton but then ramped it up when he questioned Senator John Kerry during his confirmation hearing for Secretary of State. (Watch the Rubio/Kerry exchange).  Perhaps Rubio needed a little cafecito prior to his questioning of Clinton?

While many believe that Rubio is the best chance Republicans have in 2016 due in large part to his effective communication skills and his Hispanic background, Paul has begun to articulate a coherent foreign policy that does not appear to resemble his father Ron’s, and Paul could very well be the candidate who brings back the Libertarian vote back to the Republican party and become a very formidable contender for the Republican nomination in 2016. 

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About author

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres

As the managing editor of The Shark Tank, Javier was awarded the 2011 CPAC Blogger of the Year. Countless videos and articles from the Shark Tank have been featured on Fox News, The Hill, Wall Street Journal, and other national news publications. Javier has also appeared on Univision’s “Al Punto” and numerous radio shows, including being the weekly 92.5 Fox News' DayBreak with Drew Steele political contributor, as well as one of NewsmaxTV's conservative commentators. Javier has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Learn more at

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  • Franklin Lopez

    This one is a tossup for me. Though if pushes into a corner, I’d go for a Paul/Rubio ticket. Best of both worlds and with a probable Clinton run… We need to be COHESIVE NOW :)

    • Marine68

      Franklin wake up!! Rubio does not meet the Natural Bord (Article 2) clause of the Constitution on eligibility. When he was born his Parents were not Citizens.

  • jerry solberg

    rand paul was spot on at the benghazi hearing while rubio rubio flubbed it.

    • Tea Party Voter

      Rand Paul is anti Israel! I will not support him if he run for Prez…

      • AriesWarlock

        That doesn’t mean he is anti-Israel. Wake up.

      • Cindy

        If your biggest concern is Israel, I’m calling you anti-American.

  • Bud

    Rubio is a disappointment. What has he done so far in the Senate? Nothing. And he will continue to do nothing, he is too afraid to rattle feathers-typical establishment hack. He needs to find a pair.

  • Matthew H

    Um, Bud, he’s done nothing? Try immigration, protecting internet freedom and the first amendment, pushing back hard to protect the second amendment, not to mention being a powerful voice against that destructive U.N. CRPD treaty and being one of the lone stalwarts for government fiscal sanity. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

  • RevSRM

    Mr. Rubio is not constitutionally eligible to hold the seat of President. I’m getting mighty sick of this unlawful behavior from both corrupt parties.

    • Dustin


    • Rick Bulow

      Sorry Rev, Rubio IS eligible to be President. He was born in America, so he IS a Natural Born Citizen.

    • Matthew H

      He is, in fact, eligible. 100% sure on that.

    • coo-coo!

      I see the TIN-HAT RON PAULBOTS are out in force! LOL!!!

  • Betsy DiBenedetto

    Either one would be a great choice that I could support. Hopefully The Republican Party will do more to prevent the primary bashing that went on during this last election. The Republican need to embrace the tactics of the Dems and have all Republicans speaking the same talking points over and over until the public finally hears them.

  • Polly T.

    Don’t forget Chris Christie.

    The 2016 election may well see the Republican party split into two ideologies fighting for its soul. Paul will not doubt be part of the more ideologically conservative of the two GOPs, and get the funding of the Koch brothers. Christie will more likely get the backing of Norman Braman (Rubio’s initial financier) and the money men who backed Giuliani in 2000. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Rubio follows Braman’s money and runs as Christie’s VP in 2016.

    • Matthew H

      I find all of those things doubtful, but not wholly impossible. Christie is a great governor for NJ, but I don’t think he’d make a good president.

  • Lance

    Rubio is not a natural born citizen. The current occupant of the White House is also not a natural born citizen. Article II of the US Constitution requires that a person must be natural born. The founders who wrote the Constitution believed a natural born citizen was a person born on US soil whose parents were American citizens at the time of the birth. Rubio should address this issue; Obama should be impeached.

    • Matthew H

      Marco Rubio is a Natural Born Citizen by any sane definition.

    • RevSRM

      Exactly right, Lance! Thank you Dustin and Dan! This country is destroyed by ignorance….

  • Dan

    I find the poll repugnant because Marco Rubio is NOT eligible to become President or Vice President. He is NOT a Natural Born Citizen in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and four (4) U.S. Supreme Court Decisions. Each of those Court cases refer to “The Nation of Laws” which defines a “Natural Born Citizen” as one who’s parents are citizens of that nation. Marco’s parents were illegal aliens who overstayed their VISAS since 1956 (Before Castro) and were NOT U.S. citizens when he was born in 1972 as an ANCHOR Baby. Why do you perpetuate MASS IGNORANCE with your readers? However, he is a citizen and eligible to be a Senator, congressman or spokesman for the Republican Party or Jeb Bush. Do you propose we violate the Constitution in this instant or throw out the Constitution and our Bill of Rights all together?

  • Rich

    This is exactly what Newt has been warning republicans about.
    Nominate these two and watch Mrs. Clinton kick their asses all across the country unless the republicans can come up with some really creative ways to steal an election.
    Thanks to the teabaggers for paving the way for our first female President of the United States.

  • amy

    I called a Paul/Rubio ticket for 2016 during this past election period. Come on 2016!!!

    • Matthew H

      Yes!!! I’d go for that.

    • Cindy

      I doubt Rand Paul would feel the same about that. Rubio’s voting record is NOT pro-Constitution.

  • Dawg

    Where has Rubio been? Didn’t he crawl into a hole afraid to speak out on anything controversial? It almost reminds me of Obama voting “present” when he was in the senate to protect himself when running for President. Rubio needs to grow a pair. He is cozying up to the wrong crowd.

    • Matthew H

      Immigration, fiscal reform, foreign affairs, human trafficking. That is where Senator Rubio has been. Not cowering under a rock.

    • sportymom

      Rubio is totally establishment but his rhetoric is conservative. At best, he is wishy washy. Ted Cruz is a very strong conservative who knows amnesty is a “lose-lose” proposition and promotes securing the border. He is a genuine conservative. He should run for president with Tim Scott as VP or Michelle Bachmann. Boehner has kept conservative minorities out and did not support Ted Cruz. He won with support from the grassroots, the Tea Party, and Senate Conservatives Fund (Jim DeMint). If Reagan was alive today, he would regret his amnesty plan because it always creates more democrats! (The Numbers USA website has a wealth of information on illegal immigration and its effects on the country). The Republicans are looking at amnesty for the wrong reasons. Our party is in the midst of an identity crisis and we have to figure out who we are. Bold conservatism still resonates with a majority of Americans, but the elitist REpublicans have muzzled anyone who dares speak about Christian or Constitutional governance. To continue running away from our Christian and Constitutional roots, virtually guarantees another mass exodus from the REpublican party. I would be satisfied with Rand Paul if Ted Cruz is not eligible. Rand Paul is the only senator who gave Hillary a hard time about Benghazi. We’re talking about 4 dead Americans here! Hillary should be in prison along with the rest of the WAshington corruptocrats. Rand Paul is developing his foreign policy and is NOT anti-Israel, but believes we must work toward ending forein aid to ALL countries, including Israel when the threat of war is diminished and Israel is secure. We must take care of our strongest allies and defend them when they are under threat from all directions.

      • m wade

        Very good! Until they secure the border any talk of “immigration reform” is BS. Obama, McCain , and now Rubio are hell bent on giving the country away.

  • Susie Clark

    Rand Paul 2016! He is a true Conservative and he is the only one that is truly fighting for our Liberties and Constitutional. ! Join our group and show your support!

    • Tea Party Voter

      We would lose if Rand Paul was the Republican nominee! What does Paul bring? He is from Kentucky which is a RED STATE anyway. Rand can’t bring more Hispanics to our side. He is just another white guy running for the GOP! Marco can brig Florida a swing state and can bring Hispanics! In 2010 Senate race, Rubio got over 55% of the Hispanic vote and they were not just Cubans from Miami either. Rubio is a better communicator and can be 10 times beneficial to our party then Rand Paul who happens to HATE ISRAEL!

      • sportymom

        ON what basis can you say that Rand Paul hates Israel? You need to substantiate what you’re saying instead of just name calling. Are you taking a page from the democrats? We’re the party of “no”, we have instituted a “war on women” we’re “racist”, etc. Rand Paul loves Israel but realizes that we cannot continue to give billions in foreign aid to ALL countries around the world when we are about to go into default. He has acknowledged that now is not the time to completely stop foreign aid because Israel is our strongest ally and is under seige. But we cannot continue pouring billions in foreign aid every year while our own country is sinking in debt.

  • David
  • Rick Bulow

    Those of you who say Rubio is not natural born are wrong. He is a natural born citizen. Read the Law. Better yet, read this:

    Based upon the language of Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 and the guidance provided by Wong Kim Ark, we conclude that persons born within the borders of the United States are “natural born Citizens” for Article II, Section 1 purposes, regardless of the citizenship of their parents. Ankeny v. Governor of State of Indiana, 916 NE 2d 678 – Ind: Court of Appeals 2009

    Simply put: Any child born on US soil or in a US territory who retains American citizenship is a defacto NBC. PERIOD. Parents status means nothing.

  • Sean

    I am not sure if I would want either of them as the GOP pick for the next election. The reason is Senators and Representatives have never shown any kind of executive experience. I would prefer if a GOP governor ran for Pres with one of these two as a running mate. We have never really had any decent President that came out of Congress. We need someone that that can start at day one.

    • Dagny

      You must be on the young side, Sean. One of the facts used to try to discredit Reagan in ’80 was that he’d “only” been Governor of California, and didn’t have any experience in Congress, LOL.

  • Independent Voter

    Marco Rubio is eligible to be President! Don
    t believe the CRAZY RON PAUL PEEP’S!!!

  • Ryan

    For those saying Paul would get his butt licked by Hillary, there are literally millions of college age and twenty-somethings who would jump to have Rand Paul in office. (Remember the PaulBots of the ’12 election?)

    I believe conservatives would vote for Paul (to defeat Hillary or, God-forbid, Biden) and younger voters would also vote for Rand – believing the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” They all loved his dad, Ron, and know he has similar political beliefs.

    Rubio is still a Reagan Republican. Remember that he’s still considered to be a rookie in the eyes of Congress. So watch for him to rise up by 2015. He would also sway the Hispanic vote our way.

    As far as his standing as an eligible candidate; if Obama can be elected with a Kenyan father, there’s no reason why Rubio can’t.
    (See: Goose vs. Gander)

    A Paul/Rubio ticket would be a winner.
    But that’s my opinion…..

  • Lowie

    TO ALL THE ABOVE: We are all Americans who want good governance for ALL THE PEOPLE. At the moment, we see Washington D.C. as a cesspool governed by money hungry politicians. My vote will be to the one that addresses “basline” budgeting that has been the cause of explosive growth of agency spending. Without addressing the budget crisis first,our citizens will continue to see the tax and spend spiral continue. Correct me if I am wrong, but Rubio has not addressed baseline budgeting in any of his speeches. We need to insist that government agency budgets be cut not capped!

  • Rick Bulow

    h/t Stephen R. Maloney

    Is there really a controversy over whether Marco Rubio (or Ted Cruz, or Bobby Jindal, or Nikki Haley are eligible to be president? In fact, there is not. They are all eligible according to the US Constitution and the writings of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.

    “So, what we may gather from all of these sources [including Hamilton and Madison] I have quoted is that the phrase “natural born citizen” in Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution has historically been interpreted from the earliest days of the republic, by the Founding Fathers and early legal authorities, as meaning someone who is born in this country, regardless of the status of their parents. This is derived, as Lynch v. Clarke has shown, from English common law, which is the basis of our national Constitution, our national institutions, and the Constitutions and institutions of each state except for Louisiana, which derives its basis from French law, particularly the Napoleonic Code. Furthermore, de Vattel [a writer about “natural law” often cites by birthers] leaves the precise definition of what makes a citizen up to the individual nations, and in our case, it is how I have said above. [Lynch v. Clarke is a famous American court case where a woman — Julia Lynch — born in the US to non-American parents was declared a natural-born citizen.]
    “One of the major things that you can note about the people asserting that Obama (or Rubio, Jindal, etc.) is not a natural born citizen based on de Vattel’s definition is the curious absence of Lynch v. Clarke in their arguments. They also omit entirely any references to common law, which as Lynch v. Clarke has demonstrated (and it is not alone, but I will address other examples later) is vitally important to understanding the meaning of the clause.

    “This is somewhat odd (though I do not remove the possibility that it is intentional on their part) since the case deals directly with the question of what makes a natural born citizen. Finally, as I noted before, these people tend to believe that there is a difference between “natural born” and “native born” citizens, but this distinction evidently did not exist in early American legal history. As the authorities I have quoted demonstrate, the two terms were, if anything, employed as synonyms for each other.. . .

    “Based upon the sources looked at here, we may conclude that Obama, Rubio, Haley, Cruz, and Jindal are all indeed “natural born citizens” by American legal understanding.”

  • http://none william benton

    I can see right now the next president will be a democrat because the republicans are still divided

  • http://none william benton

    coo coo you picked the right name

  • Paul

    As a libertarian, Rand is probably the only republican I would consider.

  • Danita

    With the elections being so close, the Republican will need every vote they can get. The Libertarian’s votes could swing it one way or another. As an active Libertarian, I know that neither I nor my associated party will get behind Rubio. It will have to be Rand Paul.

  • Dillon Carroll

    I would vote for Paul. His father could not get the votes because he was too far libertarian, which I am. But in order to pander to the the hardcore neo-cons and statists, his son has taken votes over principal. I am torn about that, but I will still vote for Rand. And for those of you saying he is Anti-Israel, you are uninformed. He has clearly stated that an attack on Israel would be an attack on the US.

  • dissidentX

    Rubio brought Cap and Trade to Florida with the help of George Soros lobbying.

  • Paul

    I support Rand Paul, because he would fight to limit government. Rubio is just a Hispanic Romney.