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Marco Rubio says Florida State is school for people who 'can't get into Florida'

Florida senator, Republican presidential candidate says 'it's not hard' to root against Seminoles

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says "it's not hard" to root against Florida State. The Republican presidential candidate graduated from the University of Florida and called FSU a school for people who "can't get into Florida."
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says "it's not hard" to root against Florida State. The Republican presidential candidate graduated from the University of Florida and called FSU a school for people who "can't get into Florida."

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Apparently, Marco Rubio isn't concerned about the votes of his Florida State University alumni constituency.

The U.S. senator and Republican presidential candidate offended the FSU fan base with his recent remarks about the Tallahassee school.

"Look, I don't have anything against Florida State," Rubio said in a weekend radio interview in Iowa. "I think there has to be a school where people that can't get into Florida can go to college, and so that's why we have Florida State."

Rubio, who received an undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and attended the University of Miami for law school, said he's never been to the rivalry game between the Seminoles and the Gators in Tallahassee, but he has been when the game is played in Gainesville.

He said Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field, affectionately known as "The Swamp," is the toughest place to play in Florida and the Southeastern Conference. The Seminoles are scheduled to play the Gators there Nov. 28.

Rubio admitted that FSU has been the more successful program in recent years.

"But these things ebb and flow," he said. "I feel good about the future of the Florida program."

Rubio was also asked who Florida fans support when the Seminoles play the Hurricanes.

"I grew up in Miami," Rubio said. "I'm a Gator fan, but I don't root against the Hurricanes, and when (they) play Florida State it's not hard for me to root against Florida State."

FSU President John Thrasher, who previously served with Rubio in the Florida legislature, took a jab at the senator Tuesday.

"He's a nice kid," Thrasher told the Tallahassee Democrat. "I'm sure he's frustrated by his low standing in the polls, which I believe could be a reflection of where he got his education."

In response to the backlash, Rubio told FSU fans on Twitter to "relax."

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"It was just college football trash talk on sports radio, not serious statement on @meetthepress," Rubio tweeted.

He then followed it was another tweet.

"But we are still going to #BeatFSU," Rubio wrote.

Later in the day, Rubio posted a photo of his office door on Facebook with the caption, "My FSU staffers vandalized my office door before I arrived this morning with references to historical aberrations in #UFvsFSU. Maybe they forgot -- All Time Series: University of Florida 32 wins, Florida State University 23."

Rubio also may have rankled New England Patriots fans during his radio interview. The Miami Dolphins fan said he has told supporters when campaigning in New Hampshire that he doesn't like the Patriots and wanted quarterback Tom Brady suspended all 16 games for the deflated football controversy.

"So I probably won't win New Hampshire because of that," Rubio said. "I'm not sure."

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