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Florida: Rubio Makes Rounds, Says ‘a Lot Has Changed’

Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R) on Tuesday made his first trip to Washington, D.C., since Gov. Charlie Crist gave him a clear shot at the nomination by dropping out of the Republican primary to run as an Independent.

“It was almost a year ago at this time that I came to this city and was reminded that … my chances of being competitive, much less successful [in the primary], were highly unlikely,” Rubio told reporters. “A lot has changed since then.”

In 2009, Crist appeared to have a lock on the GOP nomination, and he quickly was given the endorsement of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“I wasn’t running because I wanted to be part of the club,” Rubio said.

Rubio said he hasn’t spoken to Sen. George LeMieux (R) since Crist announced his decision. LeMieux said he will support the party’s nominee but did not say Tuesday how he might help. “I haven’t crossed that bridge yet,” LeMieux said.

Rubio, who has supported offshore drilling as part of his energy platform, stepped lightly around questions about the Obama administration’s response to the oil rig explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I don’t want to politicize the response,” he said. “The most important thing we can do right now is deal with it as quickly as possible. … We’ll have time later on to reflect and figure out whether the federal government did enough.”

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