MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Ahead of Wednesday's GOP debate, the Sun Sentinel has called on presidential candidate Marco Rubio to resign from the Senate.
Citing his missed votes and his complaints about dysfunction in the Senate, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, based in Fort Lauderdale, said Rubio should step down and "let us elect someone who wants to be there and earn an honest dollar for an honest day's work."
"Marco Rubio should resign, not rip us off," says the editorial's headline.
In the presidential race, GOP rivals have also struck at Rubio for being absent from the Senate. He has missed the most votes of any senator this year — but not nearly as many as Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain missed when running for their party nominations in 2008.
Last month, Rubio missed a key vote on defunding Planned Parenthood because he was campaigning at a Florida retirement community. After calling out the Obama administration for not doing more to free Americans held in Iran, he skipped voting on a Senate resolution demanding the Americans' release. Instead he attended a fundraiser.
Rubio says in his defense that he misses votes in part because he believes stalemate in Congress won't be resolved unless Republicans win the White House. His aides say he has not missed a vote in which he would have decided a bill's fate. His Senate salary is $174,000.
"I'm not missing votes because I'm on vacation," Rubio said Sunday on CNN. "I'm running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again."
The newspaper wasn't buying Rubio's argument.
"Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job," the editorial said. "We've got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.
"If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it."
Right to Rise USA, a super PAC supporting Jeb Bush, took advantage of the growing criticism to create @IsMarcoWorking on Twitter to track the senator's missing Senate votes.
Its first post Wednesday was a video of Rubio's name announced during several Senate floor votes mixed in with a scene from the popular 1986 movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." In the video clip, a teacher calls out "Bueller" to an empty classroom chair.
Rubio is not the only senator who missed votes while running for president, according to GovTrack.us, which tracks congressional voting records.
It reported that McCain and Obama missed more votes than Rubio has missed at comparable stages of their presidential campaigns.
From Oct. 23, 2006, to Oct. 22, 2007, McCain was absent for 51 percent of Senate votes and Obama for 29 percent. Rubio was absent for 26 percent of votes from Oct. 27, 2014, to Oct. 26, 2015, GovTrack's analysis found.
The Sun-Sentinel is among Florida's largest newspapers and endorsed Rubio in his successful Senate campaign in 2010.
Rubio jumped all-in to the presidential race, deciding he would not seek Senate re-election next year.
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