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Republican Senator Marco Rubio says he is ready to become the first Hispanic president of the United States, taking a swipe at potential Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Rubio, born in the United States to Cuban immigrants and a darling of the ultra-conservative Tea Party faction, was once considered a frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but his poll numbers have dipped.
Speaking in an interview broadcast on Sunday on ABC's This Week, Rubio was asked if he thought that he was ready to be president.
“I do... but I think that's true for multiple other people that would want to run. I mean, I'll be 43 this month, but the other thing that perhaps people don't realise - I've served now in public office for the better part of 14 years,” Rubio said.
“And most importantly, I think a president has to have a clear vision of where the country needs to go and clear ideas about how to get it there.
“And I think we're very blessed in our party to have a number of people that fit that criteria.”
The interview was conducted earlier in the week during a stop in New Hampshire, a critical state that votes early in the primary election cycle.
Clinton is the presumed frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, but Rubio, a Florida senator, was scathing in his assessment of her performance as secretary of state.
Rubio said “F” would be an appropriate grade to give Clinton for her recent post as secretary of state.
“If you look at the diplomacy that was pursued in her time in the State Department, it has failed everywhere in the world,” Rubio added.
“So here's what I would say, if she is going to run on her record as secretary of state, she is also going to have to answer for its massive failures.”
And Rubio dismissed a White House report warning of the serious environmental damage human activities are already causing across the United States.
“Our climate is always changing,” he said.
“And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that's directly and almost solely attributable to man-made activity, I do not agree with that.” - Sapa-AFP