Morning Joe: No Evidence Marco Rubio’s Finances Show He Went 'Wild'

Even Joe Scarborough, who according to the National Review's Elaina Plott has a "vehement" dislike of Marco Rubio, thinks there's nothing to the Florida Republican Senator's credit card issue. On Monday’s Morning Joe, the roundtable hosted Jeremy Peters from the New York Times, and discussed his review of Senator Rubio’s disclosed financial statements.

Peters was questioned about his article by the Morning Joe crew, and Scarborough declared, “I've been hearing that the big story was coming on Marco’s finances and he said do you think its coming and I said it hasn't come for five years. I've been reading stories for five years and it's never come. Yes, there's sloppiness there. He shouldn't have done what he did. Is it going to end a campaign? No. Should it stop someone for voting from him? No.”

Peters opined, “I think what the Jeb Bush campaign and Hillary Clinton campaign are looking at right now, as far as Rubio goes, is a way to puncture this image of him as the empathetic everyman. Somebody who has suffered along with every other working class American and if they could do that by showing that he is just a career politician, that he's in this for himself and he has no record of legislative accomplishment despite the fact he's been in politics for 20 years, I think that's much more powerful than using his corporate credit card to repave his driveway and pay back the money.

Nicolle Wallace chimed in: “With all due respect to Jeremy, there's no press corps tougher than the Florida state press corps. It’s the state with more media markets and more competitive, two paper-markets than any state in the country. And the fact he came up with that press corps scrutinizing him, I think exceeds anything the New York Times can throw at him, as evidence by their attempt to sort of take apart his finances.”

Finally, Willie Geist inquired of Peters, “Is there anything through the credit card records that voters should be alarmed about? Did he go wild at some point?” Peters replied that “There's no evidence he did anything like that. I think that's what a lot of opponents were hoping would be there. It's messy and not the best bookkeeping you're ever going to see. There's a lot of late fees. That's one thing that came through here. He was late over the course of four years. He or the Republican Party, whoever was paying the bill was late about 21 times. But so what does that tell us about how he would be as a president? I think that's Joe's point. No, because ultimately, he paid all this back.”

See the relevant transcript below

2015-11-6-MSNBC Morning Joe

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: We're starting with Senator Marco Rubio who’s trying to put questions about his finances to rest. The Republican presidential candidate released two years of charges to an American Express credit card issued by Republican Party of Florida that were previously undisclosed. They show eight personal expenses worth about $7,200 from 2005 to 2006 Rubio says has been repaid. It includes more than $3,700 paid to a tiling company when the Senator says he accidentally grabbed the wrong card from his wallet. Another expense, a vacation that piggy-backed off a business trip to Las Vegas. The Rubio campaign paid more than 1700 dollars for a hotel and car rental fees, after the business portion of the trip ended. We should mention three years ago a Florida state commission cleared Rubio of ethics violations related to the use of state party credit card. Let's bring in the New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters who has new reporting on this story, Jeremy what do you have?

JEREMY PETERS: I think if Marco Rubio is going to be brought down by something, it's going to have to be bigger than this. These candidates who face intense scrutiny, we're talking about Ben Carson before, it always comes down to the bigger picture here. I think what the Jeb Bush campaign and Hillary Clinton campaign are looking at right now, as far as Rubio goes, is a way to puncture this image of him as the empathetic every-man. Somebody who has suffered along with every other working class American and if they could do that by showing that he is just a career politician, that he's in this for himself and he has no record of legislative accomplishment despite the fact he's been in politics for 20 years, I think that's much more powerful than using his corporate credit card to repave his driveway and pay back the money. 

BRZEZINSKI: All right. Joe, why would he have thoughts? 

JOE SCARBOROUGH: We've been hearing and Nicolle you've been hearing for some time and I've been hearing from the bush people and other people. In fact, Kate and BuzzFeed several months ago, I've been hearing that the big story was coming on Marco’s finances and he said do you think its coming and I said it hasn't come for five years. I've been reading stories for five years and it's never come. Yes, there's sloppiness there. He shouldn't have done what he did. Is it going to end a campaign? No. Should it stop someone for voting from him? No. And I've got to say if this is what the Bush team is counting on to deflate Marco Rubio's rise. 

NICOLLE WALLACE: Or the press. With all due respect to Jeremy, there's no press corps tougher than the Florida state press corps. It’s the state with more media markets and more competitive, two paper-markets than any state in the country. And the fact he came up with that press corps scrutinizing him, I think exceeds anything the New York Times can throw at him, as evidence by their attempt to sort of take apart his finances. I think as with the Clintons when a politician is sort of raked over the coals on a single issue over and over again and they survive it, they don't come out weakened, they come out fortified. And I think this is probably a case of this.

WILLIE GEIST: I'm going through the list of charges. The biggest is what they referenced the driveway for $3,700. They pulled the wrong card out of the wallet to pay for it and paid it back. Is there anything through the credit card records that voters should be alarmed about? Did he go wild at some point? 

PETERS: There's no evidence he did anything like that. I think that's what a lot of opponents were hoping would be there. It's messy and not the best bookkeeping you're ever going to see. There's a lot of late fees. That's one thing that came through here. He was late over the course of four years. He or the Republican Party, whoever was paying the bill was late about 21 times. But so what does that tell us about how he would be as a president? I think that's Joe's point. No, because ultimately, he paid all this back. 

SCARBOROUGH: When also, Mika, we said before when we read the story and talked about the luxury cruise liner which was a 10 foot fishing boat or something like that, you compare this money with what Bill Clinton was getting paid $550,000 for speeches from countries with business before the Hillary Clinton’s State Department, where she was actually changing policy and at the same time Bill Clinton was getting paid $550,000 in a general election, please. If I'm a Republican please bring this up compared to what Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton did. 

BRZEZINSKI: The only thing I said is during the debate when it was discredited it wasn't truthful. 

SCARBOROUGH: That was not truthful. But, there's a lot of stories. I don't think in the end there's anything here that's going to cost him a vote. 

NBDaily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Economy Personal Finance MSNBC Morning Joe Video Journalistic Issues Government & Press Joe Scarborough Mika Brzezinski Willie Geist Jeremy Peters Nicolle Wallace Marco Rubio

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