FREDDOSO: In 2002, the Senate had to vote on whether to go to war. Do we want to get involved in further occupations of foreign countries, the way we did in Iraq?
RUBIO: Obviously, the Iraq War has had the chilling effect of making us question all intelligence findings now. The standard of proof now for intelligence is now higher than it’s ever been because of the Iraq experience. I think that there is some credence, in hindsight, to the notion that the real battlefield was in Afghanistan all along. That perhaps we didn’t fully beat the Taliban. That we were perhaps overconfident in how much support we were getting from the Pakistanis with regards to fighting al-Qaeda. Perhaps we’ve diverted too much attention away from that because of the necessities of Iraq.
But understand at the same time, we were being told that Iraq was on the verge of gaining a nuclear capability. A Saddam Hussein with a nuclear capability was someone that we believed, and who Hillary Clinton believed, and who a vast majority of the Democratic leaders believed, would share that technology with terrorists who would then use it against this country. So it’s impossible to sit here and give a fair analysis in hindsight. . . .
FREDDOSO: Should Republican senators filibuster if President Obama appoints a far-left Supreme Court nominee?
RUBIO: Let me say that whatever someone’s personal beliefs are is largely irrelevant. What matters is what kind of judge they’ll be. And any justice who believes that their role is to make law rather than to interpret it is someone [the Republicans] shouldn’t support, and they should use all the means at their disposal to prevent it. Supreme Court openings are rare, and the ability to influence it is rare. When you have the opportunity to do it, it is an obligation incumbent upon the Senate to ensure that our nominees are folks who are going to interpret the Constitution and respect our separation of powers. . . .
FREDDOSO: Is your race a different version of Specter-Toomey?
RUBIO: I don’t know that much about Pennsylvania. I think that if someone is a moderate, and they’re principled about their moderate views, then you can have a debate about that. That doesn’t make you a bad person. That’s fine. There’s room in the Republican party for all kinds of different points of view. But that’s not what the debate is about — it’s not about whether there’s room in the Republican party for Charlie Crist. The debate is about whether the Republican party should be what Charlie Crist wants it to be — should Charlie Crist’s voice be the predominant voice in the Republican party? That’s what this debate is about. I think that the vast majority of Americans and the vast majority of Floridians — and the overwhelming majority of Republicans — want their party to be an authentic center-right movement. And I’m going to give them the opportunity to vote for someone who is authentically center-right on issue after issue.