There's little doubt that the biggest surprise of Monday night's Iowa Republican Caucus was Marco Rubio's third-place finish.
Not so much because he finished third as much as the fact that he almost won second, and was only a few thousand votes behind winner Ted Cruz in a wide-open field. That field is already thinning out and now the Florida senator has a new message as the campaign moves to New Hampshire.
In interviews Tuesday morning, Rubio said he's the guy who can unite the GOP and beat the Democrat nominee in November. During an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" when asked about exit polling that indicated many late-deciding voters pick him, Rubio said:
"I think people realize on the Republican side that we cannot afford, this country cannot afford, to lose this election and that I give the party the best chance not just to unify the conservative movement but to grow it, to take our message to people that don't vote Republican now, grow our party, grow our movement and defeat Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. And so I feel—we felt that that momentum in the last few days as our campaign continued to grow. We got more votes than Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum did when they won the caucuses just four years ago. So we feel great about what Iowa did and we thank them. We're ready to go in New Hampshire and we're excited about the momentum we're carrying into this great state."
And now, it seems, one of Rubio's Senate colleagues agrees. U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) released his endorsement in a new campaign video for the Florida senator on Tuesday morning. South Carolina Republicans will vote in their primary election on Feb. 20.
"I am putting my confidence and my trust in Marco Rubio, because I believe that he takes us to that better future," he said in the video. "Marco Rubio understands that here in America, it's not about where you start, it's about where you are going.
"We have one shot in 2016 to beat Hillary Clinton and that shot is Marco Rubio, and with him as our candidate: we win."
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