Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., mocked the Democrat who hopes to take his seat, Rep. Patrick Murphy, after President Obama denied a disaster relief request that would have benefited his home district.
"He is, as usual, pretty ineffective," Rubio said of Murphy during a local radio interview. "He can get Obama to do commercials and send out emails for his campaign, but he can't get Obama to get FEMA to authorize disaster relief."
FEMA has refused two requests from Republican Gov. Rick Scott to declare a federal emergency for algae blooms affecting south Florida, a decision Rubio implied might stem from the Obama administration "try[ing] to politicize everything" during his re-election bid. But the algae blooms, like the Zika crisis, have given Rubio an opportunity to provide aggressive constituent service that could blunt charges raised during the GOP presidential primaries that he was an absentee senator.
"There's an answer here," Rubio said. "It's going to take time, but we can get it done if we depoliticize it and we stop misinforming people."
Early voting in the Florida primaries has begun, but Rubio is already attacking Murphy because he's the front-runner to advance to the general election after Democratic party leaders recruited him to defeat progressive insurgent Rep. Alan Grayson.
Murphy has been echoing the attacks on Rubio that helped Trump win the Florida Republican presidential primary. A recent ad noted that Rubio missed a vote to sanction a Hezbollah, a terrorist group in Lebanon.
"Marco Rubio, how can you protect us when you fail to show up for work," the ad asked.
Rubio is turning the tables, however. "He's lazy — he's not a very hard worker. He's not a guy that you can see his campaign, he barely does events, he kind of just is phoning it in, and I think he feels entitled to it," the Florida senator said during another recent radio interview. "Number two, he's a very privileged guy. His whole life his family has provided for him. He's never had to worry a single moment of his life about how to pay his bills or where his next money is going to come from. His dad, in fact, gave him $5 million dollars after he was elected to Congress."