"Today" show host Matt Lauer welcomed Marco Rubio to the race Tuesday morning with some hardball questions about the Florida senator's recently announced presidential bid.
During the interview, Lauer pointed out that Rubio's Republican colleagues frequently criticized President Barack Obama's lack of experience before entering the White House, having launched his presidential campaign in 2007 as a first-term senator from Illinois.
"I know you've heard the chorus. Some in your party have said, 'We should have never elected a first-term senator.' And here you are, six years later, a first-term senator," Lauer said. "Do you expect them to change their tune?"
Rubio claimed his experience in local and state government -- as well as his "extensive work" with the Committee on Foreign Relations and Select Committee on Intelligence -- sets him apart from the nation's current commander in chief.
"There's a difference between Barack Obama and I. And I think our histories are much different," Rubio began. "I've served in local government. I've served at state government for nine years in the third-largest state in the country. I was the speaker of the Florida House. All that before I even got to Washington."
"There are some significant differences in terms of experience and background between where I am today and where then-Sen. Obama was when he was elected," he continued.
Lauer also referenced a New York Times article that claimed Rubio had made a pledge to "never challenge his political mentor, Jeb Bush," the former Florida governor widely expected to also seek the Republican nomination. Lauer asked if there was in fact a rift between the two because Rubio broke "an unwritten rule" by running during the same election cycle.
"Jeb Bush is my friend, and I think he would tell you the exact same thing," Rubio said.
When asked if he would throw his weight behind Bush should he lose the nomination, Rubio demurred.
"It's too early to make decisions like that for me, for him, for anyone," Rubio said. "That's a question no one would answer at this stage in the process, primarily because none of us believe that moment will come for us."
H/T The Wrap