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RUSH: I have to say one thing, one more thing, one more time. I do not like — and I’ve got a Reuters story: “Marco Rubio Emerges Champion of Battered Republican Establishment.” Another Reuters story, headline: “Republican Cruz Calls Iowa Win a Victory for Conservative Grassroots.” 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.

I know that Rubio’s got the baggage of that Gang of Eight bill and I know that in many people’s minds he’s got the baggage of wanting to grant the current number of illegals citizenship. I understand that. But Marco Rubio is no moderate Republican centrist. I could sit here like anybody else could and try to make explanations for you for why he did the Gang of Eight. I’m not even gonna 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.

I know Senator Rubio. It’s like I was telling you last week: I know these people. I know that Senator Rubio in the Senate… In many ways, he agrees with Cruz about things. He’s worn out with the Senate. The Senate… I heard this from Allen West when he left the House. I’ve heard, “The incumbents, that’s all they care about is being reelected. You go there to make a difference and you run into brick wall after brick wall after brick wall.” I don’t think… You know, Rubio, I don’t think he wants to stay there 30 years to break through the wall to get a committee chairmanship or whatever.

I just don’t like this idea that all of a sudden we’re gonna 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. 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.

They continue to be dazzled by that. (chuckling) Of course, Barack Hussein O can’t do anything without a teleprompter. I just don’t want to… We had three genuine Reaganites triumph last night, and Rubio did better than a lot of people thought he was gonna do — and to me, that is very important. It is crucially important for conservatism, for Reaganism, for the future of the Republican Party. I’m just not comfortable here sitting and watching somebody end up maybe being destroyed because of a characterization of being “establishment.”

Yeah, the establishment may embrace him because they hate Cruz and they’re not gonna embrace Trump, and their real preferences can’t get any traction. (That would be Jeb and Kasich and Christie.) So they’ve gotta go with somebody. But I’m never gonna be one that sees Marco Rubio as the establishment, as we talk about it every day here on this program.

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