Rubio and Clinton to Have an Island All to Themselves

NYT FDJeremy W. Peters 9/04/2015

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Good Friday morning. Donald J. Trump had a big day on Thursday, but on Friday, other candidates, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Hillary Rodham Clinton, will find themselves in Puerto Rico at the same time. And Mr. Rubio is wasting little time previewing his idea of what the general election might look like.

“Marco vs. Hillary in Puerto Rico this Friday,” reads the news release from the Rubio campaign, like a flyer promoting an event more suited to a boxing ring than a presidential race.

And while Mrs. Clinton has acted like she would rather just ignore the Florida senator — her campaign sent out a statement of its own saying only that she would be visiting a cardiovascular care center on the island primarily to discuss health care issues — Mr. Rubio sees their visits on Friday as an opportunity to draw clear contrasts with the candidate that many expect to be the Democratic nominee.

Their trips were not planned to coincide, but Mr. Rubio, seems eager to make the most of it. Mrs. Clinton does not speak Spanish. He does, and he plans to make good use of it while he’s there.

He also wrote an op-ed (in English and Spanish) that was published on Friday in El Nuevo Día, Puerto Rico’s largest newspaper by readership. In it, Mr. Rubio outlined how, unlike Mrs. Clinton and Jeb Bush, another Floridian who is one of Mr. Rubio’s chief rivals, he does not support allowing the island’s municipalities to reorganize their debt in bankruptcy. (Stateside municipalities can do so under bankruptcy law, but as a commonwealth, Puerto Rico’s cannot.)

“So far, Hillary Clinton’s liberal hosts in San Juan today have failed to propose any serious measures to fix Puerto Rico’s economic challenges,” he wrote in the piece.

Of course, there is a subtext to Mr. Rubio’s jabs. He hopes their dueling appearances are just a preview of what’s to come in the general election.