Elections

Rand Paul attacks Marco Rubio’s Senate absenteeism in ad

Rand Paul speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. Paul is stepping up his criticism of Sen. Marco Rubio for skipping Senate votes to run for the White House.
Rand Paul speaks during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Las Vegas. Paul is stepping up his criticism of Sen. Marco Rubio for skipping Senate votes to run for the White House. AP

Sen. Rand Paul, down in the Republican presidential polls, is stepping up his attacks on rival Sen. Marco Rubio for skipping votes in his quest for the GOP presidential nomination.

Paul’s campaign released a video ad titled “Where in the World is Marco Rubio” after Rubio, R-Fla., missed a vote in the Senate Friday on a government funding and tax package.

“Should he (Rubio) have to show up and work?” Paul, R-Ky., said Monday on Fox News. “We voted on a $1 trillion spending bill last week and he didn’t show up for work. I think that’s a legitimate question. That’s what happens in campaigns.”

The video ad borrows from “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego,” a popular computer game and PBS game show for children in the 1990s.

From October to Congress’ holiday adjournment Friday, Rubio missed 39 of 67 Senate votes – a 58.2 percent clip, according to Govtrack.us, which monitors congressional activity.

From January 2011 to December 2015, Rubio missed 197 of 1,482 Senate roll call votes. That’s a 13.3 percent rate, which Govtrack.us describes as “much worse than the median of 1.7 percent among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.”

Paul missed 14 of 67 votes from October to December, a 20.9 percent rate. He missed 4 percent of roll call votes – 59 of 1,482 – from January 2011 to December 2015.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the third Republican senator running for the White House, missed 20 of 67 votes – or 29.9 percent – from October to this month, according to Govtrack.us. From January 2013 to December 2015, Cruz missed 124 of 996 votes, a 12.4 percent rate.

As with Rubio, the lifetime voting-attendance records of Paul and Cruz fall below those of their current Senate colleagues.

But Rubio’s absentee rate has become a campaign issue and a talking point. Paul told Politico last week that Rubio should resign from the Senate. A Sun Sentinel editorial in October urged Rubio to quit the Senate.

William Douglas: 202-383-6026, @williamgdouglas

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