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Marco Rubio Backlash Prompts Gingrich Campaign to Pull Ad

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Don’t mess with Sen. Marco Rubio, especially not in Florida.  The young Cuban-American Republican senator’s criticism of a Spanish-language ad released by Newt Gingrich that hit rival Mitt Romney for being “anti-immigrant” has caused the former House speaker’s campaign to pull the spot.

With the Florida primary fast approaching next Tuesday, Gingrich and Romney spent Wednesday feuding in an attempt to win over Latino voters at a Univision forum in Miami.  Romney blasted Gingrich for the “anti-immigrant” line in the ad, saying it was “very sad” and “unbecoming of a presidential candidate.”

But it was not Romney’s rebuke of the ad, rather Rubio’s, that prompted the campaign’s decision to scrap the spot.

Rubio, the Republican senator considered a likely contender for the number two slot on the Republican ticket, told the Miami Herald that the language used by Gingrich in the ad was “more than just unfortunate – it’s inaccurate, inflammatory and doesn’t belong in the campaign.”

“The truth,” Rubio said, “is that neither of these two men is anti-immigrant.  Both are pro-legal immigration and both have positive messages that play well in the Hispanic community.”

Spokespeople for the Gingrich campaign said Wednesday that they had taken the ad “out of rotation.”

Asked Wednesday in Cocoa, Fla., why his campaign had pulled the ad, Gingrich noted that he has “great respect” for Rubio.

“Remember what we’re talking about in this whole conversation.  We’re talking about grandfathers and grandmothers who have children and grandchildren.  OK?” Gingrich said.  “The idea that somebody would actually think about deporting grandfathers and grandmothers strikes me as fairly inhumane.  That’s how the idea got developed.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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