President Obama’s announcement of a thaw with Cuba threw a curveball at the emerging presidential field, but by the end of the day on Wednesday GOP hopefuls were largely swinging hard.
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The sudden news of Obama’s move to normalize relations with Cuba on Wednesday gave presidential hopefuls no time to calculate their responses. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) waited until late afternoon to weigh in against the move, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has not commented yet.
A looming congressional fight over funding for an embassy in Cuba already has the potential to keep the issue in the news as the presidential race picks up.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), whose family fled Cuba before he was born, jumped at the news early, coming out strongly against it. He gave a range of television interviews and a press conference on Wednesday. Florida, home to a large Cuban population, is at the epicenter of the issue in the United States.