As 2016's field of potential candidates descends on New Hampshire, Sen. Marco Rubio sat down with CBS News and delved into his relationship with another prominent Florida Republican: Jeb Bush.
"He's going be a very strong candidate. And I have tremendous personal affection and admiration for him," Rubio told "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer.
Last week, the Florida senator said he was "not running against Jeb Bush" in an ABC News interview. But he promised that the crowded 2016 field isn't going to keep him from pursuing his own "legitimate opportunity" to serve the country .
"I just honestly believe that our vision for the future of this country is better than that of other people in the field, on both sides of the equation," said Rubio, who announced his presidential candidacy Monday. "But voters will decide that. But at the end of the day it won't change how I feel about Governor Bush. He'll remain my friend, and someone I admire, both personally and politically."
The young Cuban-American, who rose to prominence at the height of the tea party's influence in national politics, believes that the GOP's plethora of candidates won't be a liability in the national elections. In fact, Rubio says, it will actually strengthen the party's chances to take back the White House.
"We're blessed, as Republicans. We have a strong field of quality people that are running," the Florida senator said. "And I think the Democrats are struggling to find one. And we have eight or nine. And I think we're gonna be a better party for it."
And when it came to talking about the Democratic nominee for president, Rubio took a parting shot at potential candidate Hillary Clinton.
"I believe a Clinton presidency would basically be another four years of Barack Obama," Rubio said. "Up to this point I've not seen her distinguish herself on a single issue from what the President is doing now."
He knocked the former state secretary for her "reset" with Russia -- a move unpopular with Republican critics at the time -- and her response to Benghazi. Rubio lambasted her tenure as America's top diplomat a "disaster for America."
"Today, our allies trust us less. Our enemies fear us less," the Republican candidate said. "And America has less influence in the world today than it did four to six years ago."
Tune in to more of Bob Schieffer's interview with Marco Rubio on this week's 'Face the Nation,' airing Sunday, April 19.