WASHINGTON — Sen. Deb Fischer has found her presidential candidate.
The Nebraska Republican on Monday endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio’s bid for the White House.
“He has a vision for this country,” Fischer told The World-Herald. “He talks issues. He stays positive. He puts forward plans. That’s what Nebraskans want to see. That’s what Americans want to see.”
Over the past few months Fischer had been asked many times by reporters about her presidential preference. She repeatedly demurred, pointing to the fact that Nebraska Republicans won’t vote until the state’s May primary.
But she said Monday that Rubio reached out to her again after the Iowa Republican caucuses, in which he finished a surprisingly strong third.
Rubio drew tough reviews for his Saturday night debate performance, during which he seemed to fall back on the same rehearsed lines.
Asked about that, Fischer said she agreed with Rubio’s oft-stated point: that President Barack Obama has aggressively pursued his agenda.
She predicted that her colleague from Florida will ultimately win the GOP nomination.
Fischer focused on Rubio’s positions regarding national security and the military. She said those issues are important to her as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
After suspending his own presidential campaign, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., endorsed Rubio but struggled in a national television interview to identify any of Rubio’s Senate accomplishments.
Asked about Rubio’s achievements in the Senate, Fischer again cited the first-term senator’s work on international issues.
“He has become an expert when it comes to foreign affairs,” Fischer said. “He understands the dangers that we face as a country.”
She added that Rubio has worked with her and Sen. Angus King of Maine on paid family leave legislation, and she pointed to his push to block payments to insurance companies through “risk corridor” provisions in the health care law.
“That’s the biggest chipping away at Obamacare that I know of,” Fischer said.
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., has not endorsed a presidential candidate, though he has been pushing a line of anyone-but-Donald Trump, including campaigning with other candidates during a swing across Iowa before last week’s caucuses.
Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Iowa Republicans, have not endorsed any candidate, and neither has Rep. David Young, R-Iowa.
Rep. Steve King of Iowa has been a dedicated and influential backer of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., has not endorsed anyone. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., is backing Carly Fiorina. Rep. Brad Ashford, D-Neb., has endorsed Hillary Clinton.