Joe Scarborough has denied having it in for Marco Rubio. But on today's Morning Joe, he went on an anti-Rubio rant so protracted that one segment wasn't enough to contain it. Scarborough first called Rubio the "Republican Obama," who's been marketed like a "bag of potato chips," and the "emptiest suit" in the campaign. After a commercial break, Scarborough hectored Rick Santorum, who has just endorsed Rubio, repeatedly challenging him to name Rubio's accomplishments.
By all means, let's carefully examine the record of all candidates. But for Scarborough to deny that, for whatever reason, he has a grudge against Rubio is a joke. Can anyone remember the last time Joe attacked Hillary or any other prominent Democrat with such sustained vitriol?
Note: Despite having just given up his presidential ambitions, Santorum displayed relaxed good humor when he came on. But after enduring Scarborough's relentless hammering, Santorum eventually snapped that Joe's charges were "bogus." Even the long-standing friendship between the two men came into question.
Note Deux: Michael Steele and Mika Brzezinski seconded Scarborough's attacks. The former RNC chairman bought into Joe's "Rubio's the Republican Obama" line, and Mika challenged Santorum to fill in the blank when it came to naming Rubio's accomplishments.
Note Trois: Willie Geist countered Joe's Rubio-as-Republican-Obama attack, observing that many Republicans say "yeah, he is our Obama. Not on policy, but on his youth, on his message, the fact that he can maybe change the demographic game that Republicans have struggled with."
JOE SCARBOROUGH: There are two arguments. The first argument is, he is the Republican Obama and he really is. They anointed him, Time magazine anointed him the Republican savior before he threw his first pitch. And the second argument, which is a devastating argument that worked a long time ago in the state of Florida had to do with him being an empty suit. And I remember Florida Trend had just an empty suit and it asked whether a certain senator from the state of Florida was an empty suit. It was devastating.
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WILLIE GEIST: The obvious problem with the complaint that Marco Rubio is the Republican Obama is that some of his supporters and a lot of Republicans say, yeah, he is our Obama, not on policy but on his youth, on his message, on the fact that he can maybe change the demographic game that Republicans have struggled with. So while it may sound like an insult to a lot of people people inside the party and people who support Marco Rubio, they say, yeah, he's the future.
JOE: If you liked the last eight years, you'll love the next eight. I'm serious. Seriously: I have complained for years that Barack Obama was sold and marketed like a bag of potato chips and when I have said it, every Republican has agreed with me and I said it was a bad move for America when they had a chance to have a more experienced candidate. Even Hillary Clinton. So now Republicans are going --
MICHAEL STEELE: Down that road.
JOE: Down that road to elect a guy that has been marketed like a bag of potato chips. Good luck.
STEELE: How do you say our first-term inexperienced US senator is better than the first-term inexperienced US senator that we've been kicking in the tail for the last seven years for being inexperienced?
JOE: Both of whom, the second they get to Washington, DC, decided they were running for president instead of deciding they were going to be -- please, give me a list of accomplishments of every candidate, put it up there next to him and let's see who the emptiest suit is. There's not really a competition.
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JOE: With us now, the winner of the 2012 Iowa caucus and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Rick, always great to see you here.
RICK SANTORUM: Thank you, Joe.
JOE: What do you list as Marco Rubio's top accomplishment that made you decide to endorse him? . . . So he can win, he's been in the Senate for four years. Can you name his top accomplishment in the senate, actually working in the senate doing something that tilted your decision to Marco Rubio? . . . The Republicans have actually been in the majority for the past two years. Can you name one thing that he's passed in the last two years? . . . I'm not being difficult here, I'm just asking you to name one accomplishment that Marco Rubio, list one accomplishment. Just one, just one, that Marco achieved. Maybe a bill that he wrote. Maybe a moment in a committee.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Jeb Bush ran Florida. Donald Trump built a company. Marco Rubio: finish the sentence.
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SANTORUM: You know, this is a bogus argument. You've got a completely feckless congress and you can't say, well, he was there and therefore it his fault.
JOE: It's actually not a bogus argument. All I'm asking is a simple question. I'll ask it one more time and don't attack me, because we've been friends for a very long time.
SANTORUM: We have. And I'm not attacking you.
JOE: No, no, no, no. Let me ask the question one more time. List one accomplishment that Marco Rubio has achieved in four years in the United States senate.