Rubio makes first stop in Columbia on SC campaign trail before G - DatelineCarolina

Rubio makes first stop in Columbia on SC campaign trail before GOP primary

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South Carolina residents packed the house for Rubio's event Wednesday. South Carolina residents packed the house for Rubio's event Wednesday.
Sen. Tim Scott gets the crowd fired up for Rubio. Sen. Tim Scott gets the crowd fired up for Rubio.
USC Student Stephanie Pacheo says she is now a Rubio supporter. USC Student Stephanie Pacheo says she is now a Rubio supporter.

By Caitlyn Hummel                                                                        Click Here to See Video Story  

Hundreds of people lined up to hear GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center Wednesday.  Some were Rubio faithfuls but others, like Brian Blanchard, came to see if the Florida senator would be a viable candidate.

"I'm here to see if he would actually be someone I would vote for," Blanchard said.

Rubio was introduced by Rep. Trey Gowdy and Sen. Tim Scott who have endorsed him. Scott made such an introduction that Rubio joked he should have brought Sen. Scott with him to New Hampshire.

Rubio got the crowd's attention by mentioning his good friend, South Carolina's Head Basketball coachFrank Martin, and also called Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders a "socialist nice guy."

"Tim and I work with him (Sanders) in the Senate, and he's a really nice guy. Really, you'd like him. But he's a socialist nice guy, and that's the problem," said Rubio.

Sen. Rubio spoke for roughly 25 minutes and discussed Second Amendment rights and religious liberties, but overall stressed that he's the conservative that can win.

USC Student Stephanie Pacheo certainly bought what Rubio had to say. She says she went in undecided and came out a Rubio supporter.  Pacheo listed Rubio's position on abortion and higher education as well as his respect for the Constitution among the top reasons why she flipped the switch.

"I was a little torn at first, but after hearing what Rubio speak, I just feel that he's the conservative that understands that this is a new era," said Pacheo.

Rubio goes forward he will prepare for what maybe is his most important candidate debate yet, Saturday in Greenville.

The South Carolina primaries will be held on February 20.

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