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Senator Marco Rubio Announces Run for Presidency; Unfriendly Skies. Aired 18-19:00p ET

Aired April 13, 2015 - 18:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[18:00:03]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: He says he thought he was using his stun gun, not an actual gun. How did it happen?

"Just shot somebody." We now have a voice recording of officer Michael Slager soon after he killed a fleeing suspect in South Carolina. Did he laugh off the incident?

And worst of the worst. Which U.S. airline is most likely to arrive late, lose your bags, or just tick you off? Stand by for a new study on the unfriendly skies.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: And let's get to the breaking news, a new entry in the 2016 presidential race.

Senator Marco Rubio is about to become the third major Republican to formally declare his candidacy, only hours after Democrat Hillary Clinton announced her campaign and set off on a road trip to Iowa.

We're awaiting Rubio's remarks in the crucial presidential battleground state of Florida, where a former governor, Governor Jeb Bush, also is expected to jump into the race for the White House.

Our correspondents and analysts, they are here to break it all down.

But, first, let's go to our chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. She is standing by. She is in Miami. She is there where Rubio is getting ready to make his announcement.

Dana, set the scene.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The excitement is absolutely building here.

We expect the senator to come out pretty much any minute at this point to address the crowd. I'm told that it's just going to be about a 12-minute speech, not a very lengthy one, and the themes are going to be very lofty, very idealistic, about the American dream, the kind of theme that Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban exiles, Cuban refugees, he has been talking about for some time, the fact that he is the son of a bartender and a maid, and the fact that America was so welcoming to his family and he is the American dream and wants to make sure that that happens in the future.

But I think probably one of the most noteworthy things that we have gotten in some excerpts that they have released, Wolf, is the idea of the future. He's very much making this about a generational choice, in fact, uses those words, a generational choice, saying yesterday is over. It's about tomorrow.

Seems to be kind of a two-pronged hit there, as his mentor and old friend Jeb Bush, who is in his 60s, a Republican competitor, and the person we expect to be the Democratic nominee also in her 60s, Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio of course is just 43 years old.

BLITZER: What's it like there in the room where you are, Dana?

BASH: It's a crowded room. It's an interesting venue.

This is much more conducive for symbolism, the reason he chose it, than -- he being the media age. The reason I'm on the phone -- I believe he's coming out now.

But, as he's coming out, I will tell you that this is the Freedom Tower, which is effectively the Ellis Island for Cubans a couple decades ago, where they would come and get come get -- and come to the United States to get processed in this very room.

BLITZER: All right.

BASH: His family didn't do so, but this is why he chose it.

And here he is, the Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He's about to make it official. He wants to be the next president of the United States, and, here, he will explain why.

AUDIENCE: Marco! Marco! Marco!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Thank you. That is a lot of cell phones. Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

Thank you. Thank you for being here.

After months of deliberation and prayer about the future of our country, I have come here tonight to make an announcement on how I can best serve her.

I chose to make this announcement at the Freedom Tower because it is truly a symbol of our nations identity as a land of opportunity, and I am more competent than ever that despite our troubles we have it within our power to make our time another American Century.

In this very room five decades ago, tens of thousands of Cuban exiles began their new lives in America. Their story is part of the larger story of the American miracle. How, united by a common faith and their God-given right to go as far as their talent and work would take them. A collection of immigrants and exiles, of former slaves and refugees together built the freest and most prosperous nation every.

You see for almost all of human history power and wealth belonged only to a select few. Most people who have ever lived were trapped by the circumstances of their birth. Destined to live the life their parents had.

But America's different because here we are the children and grand children of people who refused to accept this.

[18:05:09]

(APPLAUSE)

Both of my parents were born to poor families in Cuba. After his mother died my father had to go work when he was nine years old. My mother was one of seven girls raised by a disabled father who struggled to provide for his family.

When they were young my parents had big dreams for themselves, but because they were born into -- but because they were not born into wealth or power, their future was destined to be defined by their past. And so in 1956 they came here to America, to the one place on earth where the aspirations of people like them could be more than just dreams.

Here in America, my father became a bartender, my mother a cashier, a maid, a K-Mart stock clerk. They never made it big, but they were successful. Two immigrants with little money or education found stable jobs, owned a home, retired with security and gave all four of their children a life better than their own. My parents achieved what came to be known as the American dream. The problem is now too many Americans are starting to doubt whether achieving that dream is still possible. Hardworking families that are living paycheck to paycheck, one unexpected event away from disaster, young Americans unable to start a career or a business or a family because they owe thousands of dollars in student loans for degrees that did not even lead to jobs, and small business owners who are left to struggle under the weight of more taxes, more regulation and more government. Why is this happening in a country that for over two centuries has been defined by equality of opportunity? It's because while our people and our economy are pushing the boundaries of the 21st century, too many of our leaders and their ideas are stuck in the 20th century.

(APPLAUSE)

They're busy looking backwards. So they do not see how jobs and prosperity today depend on our ability to complete -- compete in a global economy. And so our leaders put us at a disadvantage by taxing and borrowing and regulating like it was 1999.

(APPLAUSE)

They look for solutions in yesterday, so they do not see the good-paying modern jobs require different skills and more education than in the past. So they blindly support an outdated higher education system that is too expensive and too inaccessible to those who need it most.

And they have forgotten. They have forgotten when America fails to lead, global chaos inevitably follows.

AUDIENCE: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: And so they appease our enemies. They betray our allies and they weaken our military.

AUDIENCE: Yes.

RUBIO: Now look. At the turn of the 19th century a generation of Americans harnessed the power of the industrial age. And they transformed this country into the leading economy in the world. And the 20th century became the American century.

Well, now the time has come for our generation to lead the way toward a new American century.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: If we reform our tax code and reduce regulations and control spending and modernize our immigration laws and repeal and replace Obamacare. If we do these things...

(APPLAUSE)

If we do these things, if we do these things the American people will create millions of better-paying modern jobs.

AUDIENCE: That's right.

RUBIO: If we create a 21st century of higher education that provides working Americans the chance to require the skills they need, that no longer graduates students with mountains of debt and degrees that do not lead to jobs...

(APPLAUSE)

[18:10:01]

And that graduates more students from high school ready to work...

AUDIENCE: Yes.

RUBIO: ... then our people will be prepared to seize their opportunities in this new economy.

(APPLAUSE)

If we remember -- if we remember that the family, not the government, is the most important institution in our society...

(APPLAUSE)

...If we remember that all human life deserves protection of our laws.

(APPLAUSE)

And if we remember that all parents deserve to choose the education that's right for their children, then we will have a strong people, and strong nation.

(APPLAUSE)

And if America once again accepts the mantle of global leadership...

(APPLAUSE)

...by abandoning this administrations dangerous concessions to Iran and its hostility to Israel.

(APPLAUSE)

By reversing the hallowing out of our military, by giving our men and women in uniform the resources, the care and the gratitude that they deserve.

(APPLAUSE)

By no long being passive in the face of Chinese and Russian aggression, and by ending the near total disregard for the erosion of democracy and human rights around the world, especially Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

(APPLAUSE)

Then, if we did these thing, then our nation would be safer, our world more stable, and our people more prosperous.

This -- these are the things that we must do. But this selection is not just about what laws we're going to pass. This selection is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be.

Now, just yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. Yesterday is over.

(APPLAUSE)

And we're never going back. You see, we American are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future, and before us now is the opportunity to author the greatest chapter yet in the amazing story of America, but we can't do that by going back to the leaders and ideas of the past.

We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them.

(APPLAUSE)

And so, that is why tonight, grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired by the promise of our future, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

I know my candidacy might seem improbable to some watching from abroad. After all, in many countries the highest office in the land is reserved for the rich and the powerful, but I live in an exceptional country. I live in an exceptional country where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams.

(APPLAUSE)

I live in an exceptional country where the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams, and the same future as those who've come from power and privilege.

(APPLAUSE)

I recognize -- I recognize the challenges of this campaign, and I recognize the demands of this office that I seek, but in this endeavor, as in all things, I find comfort in the ancient command: be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

[18:15:20]

(APPLAUSE)

I've heard -- I've heard some suggest that I should step aside and wait my turn.

AUDIENCE: No. It's your turn.

RUBIO: But I cannot. Because I believe our very identity as an exceptional nation is at stake, and I can make a difference as president.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: I'm humbled by the realization that America doesn't owe me anything. But I have a debt to America I must try to repay. This isn't just the country where I was born. America's literally the place that changed my family's history.

AUDIENCE: Yes. RUBIO: I regret that my father did not live to see this day in

person.

AUDIENCE: He's watching.

RUBIO: They used to tell me all the time -- he used to tell us all the time (SPEAKING SPANISH)

(APPLAUSE)

"In this country" -- that means, "in this country, you will achieve all the things we never could."

AUDIENCE: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: Now on the days when I'm tired or discouraged, I remember the sounds of his keys jingling at the front door of our home, well past midnight, as he returned from another long day at work. When I was younger I didn't fully appreciate all he did for us. But now as my own children grow older, I more fully understand.

You see my father was grateful for the work he had. But that was not the life he wanted for his children. He wanted all the dreams he once had for himself to come true for us. He wanted all the doors that closed for him to open for me.

And so my father stood behind a small, portable bar in the back of a room for all those years so that tonight I could stand behind this podium in front of this room and this nation.

(APPLAUSE)

That journey -- that journey from behind that bar to behind this podium, that's the essence of the American dream.

AUDIENCE: It is.

RUBIO: And whether we remain a special country will depend on whether that journey is still possible for those who are trying to make it right now.

The single mother who works long hours for little pay so her children don't have to struggle the way she has to. The young student who takes two busses before dawn to attend a better school halfway across town, the workers in our hotel kitchens, the landscaping crews in our neighborhoods, the late-night janitorial staff that clean our offices, and even the bartenders who tonight are standing in the back of a room somewhere in America.

If their American dreams become impossible, we will have just become another country. But if they succeed, this 21st century will also be an American century.

(APPLAUSE) This will be the message of my campaign and the purpose of my

presidency. And to succeed on this journey, I will need your prayers and your support...

(APPLAUSE)

... and ultimately your vote.

AUDIENCE: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: And so tonight I'm asking you to take that first step with me by joining us at our Web site, MarcoRubio.com.

My wife Jeanette and my four children are here tonight.

(APPLAUSE)

The next 19 months will take me far away from home. I'll miss watching Amanda run track and Daniella play volleyball and Anthony play football and Dominic play soccer.

[18:20:00]

But I have chosen this course because this election, this election is about them.

AUDIENCE: Amen.

RUBIO: Theirs is the most important generation in (AUDIO GAP)...

(APPLAUSE)

... and I'll tell you why. Because if we can capture the promise of this new century, they will be the freest, and most prosperous Americans that have ever lived.

But, if we fail, they will be the first generation of Americans to inherit a country worse off than the one left for their parents. The final verdict on our generation will be written by Americans who have not yet been born. Let us make sure they record that we made the right choice.

That in the early years of this century, thanks to the rapidly changing and uncertain world, our generation rose to face the great challenges of our time.

And because we did -- because we did there was still one place in the world where you -- where who you come from does not determine how far you go.

(APPLAUSE)

Because we did -- because we did the American miracle lived on. Because we did, our children and theirs, lived in a new American century.

Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

BLITZER: All right, so there he is, Marco Rubio, the 43-year-old senator from Florida, announcing he wants to be the next president of the United States, making his case just under 20 minutes or so, maybe 18 or 19 minutes, a carefully prepared speech.

He deviated a little bit, but not significantly. He's now being joined by his wife. I don't know if his four kids are going to come up there.

But let's get a little sense of what's going on, a historic moment for Marco Rubio.

Joining us now, our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, our chief national correspondent, John King. He's the anchor of "INSIDE POLITICS." And our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny.

It looks like the kids are coming up as well, a nice moment for Marco Rubio.

Gloria, what do you think?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they're a wonderful, appealing-looking family there. I think this was a speech that was clearly devoted to telling Americans that it's time for a new generation.

He portrayed Hillary Clinton as yesterday, as he called her, and he also chastised those who say to him, you know, maybe you should step aside, it's not your turn. And that is clearly referring to Jeb Bush. He talked about an America in which government is smaller, there's less regulation, there is tax reform, less passive foreign policy, more aggressive. Talked about modernizing immigration.

No surprises here, except for the fact that this is somebody who has just come on the national scene, just became a senator five years ago, and is looking like a very attractive presidential candidate that can bridge between the Tea Party and the establishment in the Republican Party.

BLITZER: Just a bit younger than another first-term senator, Barack Obama, was when he decided to run for president of the United States, John King.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, Wolf, and they don't like the comparison if you add the name, but if you look at what Obama did, his team does talk about that. Barack Obama came in, challenged the ways of his party, if you

will. Hillary Clinton was supposed to be inevitable. He said, no, it's time for a new generation, it's time for something different, it's time for change. They also draw Jack Kennedy comparisons.

The Republican Party is normally the party where you say that it's your turn. And so people say, who is the senior Republican in waiting? Well, the Republican Party has no front-runner. The Democrats are now the Republicans. They have Hillary Clinton. And Marco Rubio is trying to upend the apple cart.

Anybody will tell you, consultants who watch this, Democrats or Republicans -- as my friend Ron Fournier, my former colleague Ron Fournier said yesterday on "INSIDE POLITICS," Marco Rubio in the view of most is the best athlete on the field. The question is, can he grow?

Running for president is like playing in Major League Baseball, 162 games. Can you play every day? Can you hit every day? Can you perform every day? Right now, what's his place in the Republican Party? He came in on the Tea Party wave, but he was the speaker on the Florida House. He has a lot of ties to the establishment.

He got out early saying let's reform immigration, give people a pathway to citizenship. The conservative base of the party slapped him back a bit. And he was humbled by that. Let's see how he performs on the field.

But the generational play, the inspirational play, if you travel the country, especially to small towns across America, where they used to make things, the American dream thing, a lot of people in New York and Washington will say that's corny. You go to small-town America, that has great potential. Marco Rubio has great potential. Now we're about to find out if he can perform and if he can realize it.

BLITZER: He took a nice little swipe there at Hillary Clinton, Jeff. He said just yesterday a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. Then he said, yesterday is over. We are never going back.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: And we know exactly who he's talking about there.

Look, all the Republicans in this field are going to try and distinguish themselves by attacking her and presenting a difference to her. Now, it's far, far, far too soon to know if he will ever appear on a debate stage with Hillary Clinton. Both primaries have to play out.

[18:25:11]

But if he does, this generational argument, just the image of that is a very potent argument. Now, one thing that is that -- may be a problem for him is, the whole anthem of the Republican Party is that Barack Obama was too inexperienced to serve in the White House. Marco Rubio spent a little bit more time in the Florida legislature, but his time in the Senate is about the same, no huge accomplishments, a very accomplished, smart senator, but that will be his biggest challenge.

Will America elect a freshman senator one more time?

BLITZER: Let's get some more analysis and let's bring in our political commentators.

Republican strategist Ana Navarro is joining us. She is a good friend of Senator Rubio's, but she is a supporter of his likely opponent, the former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Also joining us, Peter Beinart, contributing editor for Atlantic Media.

Anna, what did you think of Senator Rubio's speech?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It was exactly what I expected. I expected him to be optimistic. I expected him to talk about hi family. And I expected him to given the speech of his life.

I think the speech was beautiful and it was, frankly, classic Marco Rubio. His oratory skills are unequaled, I will tell you, on both sides of the political spectrum. I think he has the best political skills of anybody on either side that's running for this.

BLITZER: What do you mean by that, the best political skills, Ana?

NAVARRO: Retail politicking.

He has got a family that's cast out of central casting. He has -- his ability to give a speech and engage the audience is amazing. So really his political skills are extraordinary. The question that I think is going to hang over Marco Rubio and over the other senators that are running is, do they have the experience? Are they old enough? Do they have the maturity? Do they have what it takes to be the leader of the United States of America, the leader of the free world, to negotiate the treaties?

It's very different. Having political skills is very different to having the ability to govern. And that's, I think, a question that is going to get answered as we go you through this primary period.

BLITZER: I know you're good friends with former Governor Jeb Bush. You're a supporter of Jeb Bush. When Marco Rubio said he was proud that a son of a bartender like himself, a son of a maid can have the same dreams, the same future as those who come from power and privilege, was that a little swipe at Jeb Bush?

NAVARRO: You know, the media has often interpreted it as such, and I spoke to Marco about it several months ago, when it started getting interpreted that way by the media.

It's actually been in his speeches now for a long time, far longer than Jeb has been considering a run for governor -- for president. So, no, I don't think it was a swipe at that. It's something that is part of his narrative, part of his biography, and has been part of his political identity in speeches for years and years. BLITZER: Peter Beinart, what did you think of his speech?

PETER BEINART, ATLANTIC MEDIA: I thought it was very strong.

I think he is by far the best orator. The problem he faces is, there's only one way to get the Republican nomination. He has to run straight over Jeb Bush,because he has to be the establishment candidate. A lot of people in the establishment, a lot of big donors do like him, but Bush has come in and sucked up so much oxygen, so much money.

Rubio needs to have Bush fall on his face or push him on his face so he can be the establishment candidate, because he will not be the conservative candidate. With Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, there are too many people, especially after Rubio's position on immigration, who are more appealing to the hard right.

Rubio has to be the establishment candidate. He can only do it if he goes past Jeb Bush.

BLITZER: And there are about 20 years age difference, Rubio, what, about 43 years old, Jeb Bush I think about 63 years old.

Dana Bush is there. She's in Miami for us.

Dana, give us a little sense of what happened just now.

BASH: Well, I was in the room during the speech.

And I don't know -- you never know how it comes across on TV vs. how it feels in the room. Obviously, the momentum was there in terms of the crowd. But,at the beginning -- look, the expectations for Marco Rubio are extremely high to give a good speech. And at the beginning, he looked a little bit nervous, I have got to say. He looked like, oh, my gosh, is this really happening?

And then he got his groove on and he got more comfortable as it went on. But it didn't seem like he was maybe on his game at the beginning. The other thing that I would note there is, I know Ana is saying that when he talked about the generational differences and the need to go forward and not backwards, he's just talking about Hillary Clinton.

But it's impossible not to consider the fact that he is running against somebody who was his mentor, and it's just the fact of the matter. I was just told that there are some people in that room who normally would have been for Jeb Bush, but they signed on with Marco Rubio early because they never thought Jeb Bush was actually going to run.

So, it kind of gives you really a specific illustration of the difficulty for many Republicans here, having to choose between the two of them.

And the one last thing I will say is that what I'm told that Marco Rubio has said to Jeb Bush and said to others about this very real, very kind of odd competition between the two of them is that it's not a competition. It's just two men auditioning for the same role. But it will be very interesting to see how they deal with one another as the months go on. And when Jeb Bush actually gets in, and they're on the debate stage whether that is going to get rough and tumble like we saw with Bill -- with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

BLITZER: Gloria, we did hear Marco Rubio say the country needs major reforms, reducing regulations, controlled spending, modernized our immigration laws. He said that, repeal and replace Obamacare. He laid out an agenda for the domestic...

BORGER: He didn't say what he would do. He just laid out the agenda.

BLITZER: Well, even the words "modernize our immigration laws," given the history that he had, once he wanted to allow some sort of, what the critics call amnesty, a pathway to citizenship...

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: ... for illegal immigrants, but then he backed away from it later. That's a big issue in a Republican primary, Republican caucus state.

BORGER: It's a huge issue in the Republican primary. It's one issue he probably won't fight with Jeb Bush over, because they're pretty much in the same place. I mean, the lesson he tells conservatives that he learned is you can't do anything on immigration until you prove that you can control the borders. And that was -- you know, that was the great lesson, he said.

But I do think, you know, the Republican candidates are talking about repealing and/or replacing Obamacare. They're not telling you what they're going to replace Obamacare with, because it's very hard politically to take something away from people that they already have, part of which they already like. And I think that, you know, this is going to be a problem for all of these Republican candidates.

Can I just say one thing about experience?

BLITZER: Yes.

BORGER: Because we were talking about experience here. I was looking at some polling today. And 55 percent of Republicans say they want experience more than vision. That's a reaction against the president, but the kind of experience they want is not legislative. It's executive. So that speaks very well for a governor running for the presidency.

KING: And to Peter's point earlier, that's a very smart point. If you look at this Republican field, and you're going to have Santorum, who's run before in Iowa. You're going to have maybe Huckabee over there. You're going to -- you know you'll have Ted Cruz over there.

They've extended the Republican calendar in a way that early on everybody thought was smart. Now a lot of establishment people are saying, "Oh, wait a minute. Are we going to get to the point where we have a conservative still in the race when we go to the SEC primary, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana?

And so for Marco Rubio, he does impress the donors in private. He's made a great impression on the Romney people. The question is: can he enough money to stay in the race? And can he execute himself as a politician on the stage, but where is his place?

Dana says he doesn't want to compete with Jeb Bush. He's going to have to stand on a debate stage with Jeb Bush in Iowa or New Hampshire early on and win. He's going to have to win somewhere.

ZELENY: His success is built on the crumbling of Jeb Bush or the conservatives not accepting him as a candidate. But donors, I am told that Jeb Bush has locked up sort of the Bush donors. There's a whole new class of people who have done very well. The younger millionaires, and that's who he is going after.

I was e-mailing with one just about an hour ago in the crowd, and he said so many people here, big donors, you've never seen them before in politics. That's who he's going after.

BLITZER: Peter...

KING: Scott Walker -- Scott Walker is a governor in that same space that Marco Rubio wants, at the next-generation.

BLITZER: Because he's in his early to mid-40s, as well.

Peter Beinart, there was a major portion of the speech that dealt with national security, international affairs. He really went after President Obama and certainly Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, by saying the U.S. has made dangerous concessions to Iran and has shown hostility to Israel.

He went on to say they have total disregard for the erosion of democracy and human rights around the world. Then he added -- this is not in the advanced text -- but he added the words "in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua." What did you think of the points he was trying to make when it came to national security and foreign policy?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Wolf, those played very well with Republican voters and Republican donors. Factually, they're pretty much absurd.

I mean, the idea the U.S., which gives Israel $3 billion and under this administration has given more high-tech military equipment than under any other president, is showing hostility is ridiculous.

And when it comes to not supporting freedom in in Iran and Cuba, it's worth noting that the people in Cuba, and "The Washington Post" did a very interesting poll about this, the people of Cuba and the people of Iran are wild about the Obama outreach policies, because they know that they offer the best chance for them, in fact to see a change in their regime. BLITZER: Ana Navarro, what did you think of his statement on

national security?

[17:35:08] NAVARRO: Well, first, it's very typical of Marco. Remember, he is on the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate. He's the chairman of the Western Hemisphere committee -- subcommittee.

Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, those are three important voting groups here in south Florida. So I think he not only has worked on that a lot in the Senate, he also knows right there he's stoking the hometown crowd.

And there is going to be a fight, I think, for the hometown vote. And, you know, and you all are going to be watching. We're all going to be watching. I think there is going to be a lot of drama coming in this race.

But I don't think that Marco intend -- now intent is one thing and execution is another. But right now I don't think that either Marco or Jeb are seeing this as a competition between the two of them.

I saw Jeb Bush two days ago, and I had an exchange with Marco two days ago. And you know, these two guys are friends, and they like each other. They sat next to each other on a plane coming back from Nashville where they were both at the NRA conference on Friday. And, in fact, Jeb commented to me that Marco had been working on his speech while sitting next to him. And they joked, and they talked the entire flight.

So there is a genuine relationship there. I think it's true. I think Marco and a lot of people did not expect Jeb to run, and, you know, this is developing, and it's hard for a lot of us. It's emotionally tearing, and it's emotionally difficult for a lot of us who are very good friends of both of them.

BLITZER: Florida, as you know, John, is a key battleground state. If Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush can carry Florida, that's a major problem, potentially, for the Democratic nominee. Let's say it's Hillary Clinton.

That's one of the reasons, look, one of the reasons if you talk to Republican strategists and donors they look at Rubio and Bush of the field. They look as they look at it now. Most Republican strategists will tell you one of them will be, as they look today, the best general election candidate. Because if you look at the map of what has happened in the last six presidential elections, if the Democrats win the same they've won in the last six elections. They start with 242. All you would need in that case is Florida.

So the Republicans have to take Florida off the map. They have to get Ohio back. They have to put New Mexico and Nevada in play. Two states where Latinos matter, in addition to Florida.

Virginia is a competitive state now, and the Latino population is growing there. There are other demographics there, as well. Looking at the map, that's why the Republicans say, "You want a Bush or Rubio, someone who can change the demographic dynamic."

Now, Scott Walker will make the case "I can win the blue industrial states." So the campaign is just starting. This is opening week.

But imagine the Florida primary Ana just laid out. If somehow Rubio and Bush both make it to Florida, which means they have to survive Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and then you have a boom in Florida, I mean, if the winner of that would be viewed as the heavyweight. If you had a Rubio versus us Bush in Florida, Jeb hasn't run in 12 years.

BLITZER: And they're both bilingual. They both speak Spanish fluently. They can campaign for that Hispanic vote, which is a significant in Florida. Indeed, many other states around the country.

Hold on, Ana. Hold on one second.

BORGER: They are bi-cultural and do speak Spanish at home to their children, and I think that Ana is being very diplomatic here about the relationship between Rubio and Jeb Bush.

KING: All those senators liked each other in 2008. All those Democratic senators loved each other, right, until they didn't.

BORGER: I think she's being really dramatic. I mean, this is Shakespearean in a way.

Bush was Rubio's mentor, took him under his wing, thought he was the most talented young politician he had seen in decades. And I think when he decided to run, he expected Rubio to kind of say, "OK, I'm going to wait my turn."

And in talking to a senior party operative in the state today, he said to me, "Deference is not one of Marco Rubio's great qualities," that he wasn't going to wait for Jeb Bush, because when he didn't wait to run for the Senate in 2010, nobody thought he could win, he actually won.

BLITZER: Let me let Ana make her point. Go ahead, Ana.

NAVARRO: They're not just bilingual; they are bi-cultural.

And you know, Gloria, a lot of what you're saying is true. But I would also tell you that in 2010, you know, a lot of the Florida Republicans, a lot of the Florida heavyweights were with Charlie Crist at the beginning. Not me. I was with Marco Rubio from day one. But they were with Charlie Crist, not because they liked Charlie Crist, not because they thought he was a brilliant, strategic person, not because they thought he was a great candidate, but because they thought he could keep the seat.

This time around it's way different. It's an entirely different animal. People are torn between a Jeb Bush, who was a terrific governor and who so many of us have a lifelong friendship and loyalty to. And Marco Rubio, who has been a star, who defeated Charlie Crist, who was, frankly, a rope around our neck in the Republican Party here and who none of us really liked, but we're stuck with. And so it's a very difficult position for a lot of us here in Florida.

ZELENY: For the Republicans in this race, though, it's not just a Jeb and Marco Rubio race but Rand Paul, Scott Walker...

NAVARRO: Thank God!

BLITZER: But very quickly, Jeff, the fact that, let's say, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio can speak Spanish potentially that's a bonanza for them, right?

ZELENY: It's a bonanza in the general election, not as much so in the pray mare I don't believe. Key point if they both get to that Florida primary race in March. A lot of gas in the tank has to happen between January and February.

BLITZER: All right. We've got a lot to assess and discuss. Stand by, everyone. There's other news we're following as well.

Just breaking now, a deputy charged in another deadly shooting caught on video. How could he mistake an actual gun for a stun gun?

And stand by for all the new developments of the South Carolina police shooting including another new video surfacing of the officer charged with murder including a past incident with a stun gun.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:45:47] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We have some breaking news on a stunning incident onboard a commercial airplane.

Our aviation correspondent Rene Marsh is standing by over at Reagan National Airport here in the Washington, D.C., area.

Rene, tell us what you know.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is all just coming in now, but we have confirmed with Alaska Airlines that this aircraft, Alaska Airlines Flight 448 from Los Angeles -- going to Los Angeles, I should say, from Seattle was forced to make an emergency landing after screams and banging was heard coming from the lower part of the aircraft. The captain immediately returned to Seattle for an emergency landing.

And we should tell you, the aircraft was in the air for about 14 minutes. Once it landed, the discovery was made, a ramp agent was found inside of a cargo hold. We can tell you at this point that that person has been transported to the hospital, but according to the airport, this individual was able to walk out of the cargo hold. So, it appears this person will be OK, but still, taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

We should also mention that this specific area of the aircraft where this person was during the flight, it is pressurized and it is temperature controlled. So, that is good news for that individual, but we do know from the airline they say that they are investigating. They are actively investigating the matter because the big question at this hour -- how is it this ramp agent was in the cargo hold of this flight and this plane was in the air for 14 whole minutes and no one knew this before takeoff? So, that is actively under investigation at this point, Wolf.

But the headline this flight was forced to make an emergency landing after it was discovered that a ramp agent was inside of the cargo hold -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It's a pretty extraordinary development, isn't it? It doesn't happen that often. I don't remember a time that it has happened, do you?

MARSH: No, I don't recall reporting on such a thing. I mean, the real question is going to be for both the airport as well as the staff on the ground there who are in charge of loading the luggage, how did this misstep exactly happen? Usually, there's more than one person on the ground, as you know, loading that luggage into the belly of the plane. So, how is that wheels were up and takeoff happened and no one realized somebody was inside?

Thankfully, Wolf, the section of this plane, like we said, pressurized and regular temperature. Otherwise, this story could have ended a lot differently.

BLITZER: Certainly could have.

All right. Rene, thanks very much. Rene Marsh over at Reagan National Airport.

We'll take a quick break. Much more right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:52:54] BLITZER: The breaking news: new video has just come out of the former South Carolina Police Officer Michael Slager. It shows him using a taser on a motorist during a traffic stop. Slager is the same officer who is charged with murder for the shooting death of Walter Scott.

CNN's Brian Todd has more on what's going on.

What's the latest you're learning, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, tonight, Officer Michael Slager and the North Charleston police are being sued over another incident, as you mentioned, involving Slager and the use of force. Julius Wilson is the man's name. He and his lawyer suing them for civil rights violation, suing Slager, suing the North Charleston police.

This stems from a traffic stop in North Charleston in August of last year. This is the dash cam video of that traffic stop. Julius Wilson is pulled over by another officer. The dash cam video shows that officer talking to Wilson. The officer goes to his own vehicle, comes back, tells Wilson he is driving with a suspended license and he needs to get out of the car, that he is taking him to jail.

Slager, the second guy there, the second policeman there, approaches the scene. Here is what happens next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OFFICER: All right. Step out for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

OFFICER: Let's go. And step out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

OFFICER: I got this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

OFFICER: OK, let's go. Step out. You got a suspension, so you're going to go to jail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I'm not. No I'm not.

OFFICER: OK, here's the deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer, officer, officer --

OFFICER: All right, here's the deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer.

OFFICER: I've asked you nicely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I complied with all y'all (INAUDIBLE) I'm asking y'all.

OFFICER: I'm asking you to step out of the car, sir. I'm asking you nicely. Please step out of the car. If you don't step out of the car, I'm going to assist you out of the car.

You're under arrest. Please step out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm under arrest, officer?

OFFICER: Step out of the car. Step out of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What am I being under arrest for, officer? (INAUDIBLE)

[18:55:01] OFFICER: Step out of the car! Step out of the car! Get out of the car!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officer -- OFFICER: Get out of the car. Get out of the car.

(CROSSTALK)

OFFICER: Back up, I'm going to tase. Back up, I'm going to tase. Taser, taser, taser!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, shit! Oh shit!

OFFICER: Turn over! Turn over or you're going to get hit again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: Julius Wilson and his attorney claim he was tased after he was put into submission. The video, at least at the outset seems to support that. We reached out to the North Charleston police and to Slager's attorney for response to this lawsuit, to that incident. We have not heard back, Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much.

Tom Fuentes, what do you make of this?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I wasn't sure I could see exactly when the tasing started in that. But what I see is yet another example of somebody that resists arrest, doesn't comply with the police, forces them to force him out of the car and place hands on him. And nothing good is going to come of that.

But when you have officers wrestling with somebody on the ground, it's very difficult to bend a person's arms back behind him to handcuff him. I think that's why they wanted to tase him, to stun him for a second so they could do that.

So, I couldn't tell exactly when that tasing happened. But yet again, someone fails to comply a lawful order to get out and be taken into custody. Bad things happen.

BLITZER: And Joey Jackson is joining us, or criminal defense attorney, HLN legal analyst.

Joey, you heard the police officer saying, "We're asking you nice, please come out of the car." He refuses to come out of the car. And we all saw what happened afterwards. What's your analysis?

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: It's always important to comply now and grieve later. However, the critical point in this, in this lawsuit will be when the force of the taser was applied. Was it applied when the actual suspect was subdued? In the event, as it appeared to show, that it was applied when he was subdued, then the argument is it's a misapplication of force. If someone is surrendering, then you don't apply. If someone is under control, then you don't apply.

However, I would certainly assert that under no circumstances on the street should people be taking matters into their own hands. That being said, use a taser when it's appropriate and necessary, not when someone is defenseless and otherwise not posing a danger at that specific time. That's going to be the question, Wolf.

BLITZER: I think he makes a good point, right, Tom?

FUENTES: Well, I can tell you from personal experience, Wolf, until the handcuffs are on both wrists, a person is not subdued while they're laying on the ground, still resisting, still wrestling. They can spin around. They can do many bad things.

So that's -- I don't know. That's why until we find out in more detail when exactly the taser was applied, we can't tell when he was subdued.

BLITZER: I think you'll agree, Joey, it's a whole new world out there with all the dash cam video, the body camera video, the cell phone video. It's a whole new world out there for police officers and for the public.

JACKSON: It absolutely is, Wolf. But a bottom line, I do believe the more body cams, the more dash cams the better, because you have transparency. And if a person knows that they're being videoed, they'll be on their best behavior. And certainly, an officer will be on their best behavior as well. I think it assists all parties involved.

BLITZER: All right. Joey Jackson, thanks very much. Tom Fuentes, thanks to you as well.

CNN is very excited to debut a new series that looks at a couple's quest to become marijuana moguls. Here is an exclusive first look at the new trailer.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're parasites. They've got no contribution to this society. They're preying on our community and our kids. And it's going to end badly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got exactly $100,000 in cash in the back of this car. I bet there is guys right there in that prison for doing just what we're about to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want the Breckenridge cannabis club to be a household name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is us pioneering a new industry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is going after every resort town in Colorado. His plan is brilliant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a big boy operation now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not the Amsterdam of the Rockies. We're Breckenridge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely unbelievable to us this has happened so quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's when the town erupted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All hell can break loose.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we have an image to protect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The powerful elite has definitely put the pressure on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone is playing everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're going have a target painted on their back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is a real threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is $2 billion to be had next year. I plan to take more than my fair share.

ANNOUNCER: "HIGH PROFITS." the series premiers Sunday night at 10:00.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: You're going to want to watch it. Once again, "HIGH PROFITS" debuts this coming Sunday night, 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Remember, you can always follow us on twitter. Go ahead, tweet me @wolfblitzer. You can always tweet the show @CNNSitroom.

We always love it when you're watching us live. But remember, you can always DVR us so you won't miss a moment.

Lots of news as you saw happening today, including making it official. Marco Rubio announcing he wants to be the next president of the United States.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.