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Marco Rubio: Jeb Bush Won't Stop Me From Running For President

"If I decide it's as president, then that's what I'm going to do irrespective of who else might be running."

Posted on January 1, 2015, at 10:52 a.m. ET

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Republican Sen. Marco Rubio says former Florida Governor Jeb Bush's potential presidential candidacy won't prevent him from entering the 2016 race.

The Florida Senator said a decision to run for president in 2016 would be based on if he thought he could best serve the country, despite the fact he and Bush are from the same state and would potentially have many of the same backers and donors.

"As far as, you know, speculating about whether two people from the same state can run, it's not unprecedented. We certainly know a lot of the same people, we also know some different people," Rubio told NPR's Morning Edition in an interview that aired Thursday. "The decision I have to make is: Where is the best place for me to serve America to carry out this agenda that I have to restore the American dream given the dramatic economic changes we've had in the 21st century? Where is the best place for me to achieve that? Is it in the Republican majority in the Senate or is it as a candidate, and ultimately as president of the United States? If I decide it's as president, then that's what I'm going to do irrespective of who else might be running."

Bush announced he was exploring the possibility of a presidential run in December. Rubio praised him in the interview as a "very credible candidate."

"First, let me say I have tremendous respect for Gov. Bush, and I've said repeatedly if he runs he'll be a very credible candidate," Rubio said. "Potentially the front-runner, at least in the early stages, because of all the strengths and advantages that he brings to the process."

Rubio added a decision to run would come "certainly soon."

"This is not a gut decision, this is one that one needs to make obviously on the basis of facts and reality. And so I haven't made a decision yet on it; I don't have a date in mind or a time frame in mind, but certainly soon. We're closer to a decision than we were a month ago."

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