ALTOONA, Iowa – As the Republican Party regroups after Mitt Romney’s defeat, the message Saturday night at Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad’s birthday fundraiser was “turn the page” and “look to the future” — and what that future apparently holds is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the event’s featured speaker...
...But Rubio quickly brushed off any suggestion that his appearance in Iowa, which holds the first nominating contest every four years, had anything to do with the 2016 presidential race.
When asked why he was in Iowa on Saturday, Rubio simply and enthusiastically replied, “For Governor Branstad’s birthday!”
“I am not, nor will I ever be, a candidate for … offensive coordinator of Iowa,” Rubio joked in his speech. “I know there’s rumors.”
Branstad, too, denied that he was trying to encourage Rubio to run for president by inviting him to the event.
“They’re all good guys, and let me just say, I will welcome them to Iowa too,” Branstad said, when asked why he had picked Rubio to headline the fundraiser instead of other likely presidential hopefuls, like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
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