Marco Rubio continued his criticism of The New York Times on Tuesday for what he argues is their ideologically-motivated coverage of him, saying that Americans "see through" "the agenda behind some of these articles."
Speaking on an Iowa radio show, the Republican presidential candidate took aim at the paper for stories on his history of financial troubles, traffic violations, and, most recently, his unpopularity in Cuba, the homeland of his parents.
Rubio suggested that the negative quotes about him in the Cuba story were inevitable, given that Cuban people "would be punished" "if they said the opposite."
"As I said, obviously, it's a free country, they have a right to write whatever they want," the senator from Florida said, "but you go to a closed society like Cuba where people are rewarded for following the government line, of course you're going to get comments like that, but it is what it is."
Rubio then said that, in spite of the negative coverage, it "gives me comfort" that "people can see through that now."
"Ultimately, it's part of the process, but what really gives me comfort is I know that people can see through that now," he said. "I mean, we've reached the point in America where people understand that there's an agenda behind some of these articles, and particularly when they're all coming from the same source over and over again."
In the interview, Rubio further contended that the Times' perceived dislike of him "shows that we're on to something very positive."
"It's fine," he said. "Ultimately, I trust greatly in the wisdom of the American voter to make up their decisions and in fact when a paper with an editorial policy such as the New York Times' has made us their target, in some ways, it shows that we're on to something very positive in our message."
The comments built on Rubio's strategy of addressing the Times articles head on, and attempting to spin them into advantages for his campaign.
Following the story on his finances, he made a fundraising pitch saying that the paper thought he was "not rich enough to be president." And after the story on his relationship to Cuba, he tweeted "#nicetry":
On Wednesday, however, his byline appeared in the Times' op-ed section, atop a piece advocating against the Obama administration's decision to re-establish formal diplomatic relations with Cuba.
But even there, Rubio included a subtle shot. Obama's move, he wrote, would enrich "the Castro family and other relatives," as Americans tourists "flock to Cuba," "tempted by this newspaper's idealized version of hip Havana."
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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