Marco Rubio Avoids Criticizing Jeb Bush After Debate Tussle Over Missed Senate Votes

He's playing it cool.

WASHINGTON -- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio passed on the opportunity to criticize former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday after Bush chastised him for his attendance record in the Senate during Wednesday evening's Republican presidential primary debate. 

CNBC's moderators had asked Rubio about a Sun Sentinel editorial calling on him to resign his seat for missing more votes than any other senator. Bush then interjected, telling Rubio that he "should be showing up to work." 

"I mean literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French work week?" Bush said."“You get like three days where you have to show up? You can campaign or just resign and let someone else take the job."

Bush's jab fell flat as Rubio turned the attack on his former mentor and said he was running a positive, future-focused campaign. 

"The only reason you’re [criticizing me] now is because we’re running for the same position and somebody has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you," he said.

As Rubio made a bleary-eyed appearance Thursday morning on NBC's "Today," he declined to answer a question about what it was like to take Bush on "so directly, and so personally." 

"I still have tremendous admiration for him, both as a person and what he did as governor of Florida, and I'm not going to talk bad about Governor Bush," Rubio said. "My campaign is not about him. ... I'm not going to change how I run my camp because of what someone else decides to do." 

When asked again whether he should resign his seat, Rubio spoke of the Senate as if he hadn't told The Washington Post that he was "frustrated" by the chamber just a few days before. 

"For me, it's an incredible honor to serve in the U.S. Senate, and I enjoy it very much," he said. 

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