WASHINGTON—Marco Rubio won't say the word "president," but the Florida Republican senator is making it no secret that he's keeping options open for a White House run in 2016.
Speaking at a breakfast here on Wednesday, Rubio discussed the decision-making process he's going through to seek the presidency, or as he vaguely calls it, to serve "in some other opportunity."
"I enjoy public service. I think what I as a person—everyone needs to decide—as I approach 2016, is do I want to continue to do that in the Senate, is there some other opportunity out there for me or do I want to return to the private sector and give someone else a shot? And there are a lot of factors that go into that decision," Rubio said during a video interview with Politico's Mike Allen. "Part of it is whether you feel a calling to it, whether you feel the fire to do it. Not just because people tell you you should do something. Part of it is whether your family life can sustain it. ... All of these things are real factors that go into account. Part of it is, do you have something to say? You only do things like that if you have something to say. Here's what the point is though, am I better off saying it in the Senate or some other capacity?"
There are still two years to go before any hard determination will be made, and an official announcement is not likely to come until after the midterm elections in 2014. Rubio, who was elected to the Senate in 2010, won't face his own congressional re-election until 2016.
When asked if it was "likely" that he would run for president, Rubio said, "I have no idea, I just don't know. In a few years I'll have the opportunity to decide if I want to run for re-election in the U.S. Senate, run for something else or go home and give someone else a shot at this."
Rubio joined former vice presidential candidate and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan Tuesday night at an awards dinner for the Jack Kemp Foundation, where hundreds of conservatives gathered to catch an early glimpse of the possible 2016 talent. During the dinner, both men shared their own visions for the future of the party and even joked about running for president in four years.
"You know any good diners in New Hampshire or Iowa?" Ryan jokingly asked Rubio.
"I will not stand by and watch the people of South Carolina ignored," Rubio responded later.