Some advisers urging Rubio to drop out of race

Sources inside the Rubio campaign have told CNN that there is an argument among advisers about whether the candidate should drop out of the race before the Florida primary on March 15.

Alex Conant, Rubio's communications director, said the report is "100% false."

"That is fiction," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room."

"I was sitting in a senior staff meeting planning out next week's schedule when I saw this report suddenly air and I came racing across town to correct it," he added.

Conant pointed to the fact that Rubio appears to be closing in on GOP front-runner Donald Trump's lead in Florida.

A Monmouth poll released Monday shows Rubio behind Trump, 38% to 30%. A Quinnipiac poll released two weeks ago put Rubio behind Trump by a wider margin: 44% to 28%.

Most of the senator's advisers agree he does not have a path to the nomination and some are advising him to get out ahead of the March 15 primary.

Sources within the campaign also say the pressure will only continue to mount following an expected disappointing showing Tuesday, when voters in Michigan, Mississippi, Hawaii and Idaho make their picks in the GOP primary.

"Not going to have a great day is an understatement," one campaign source said.

There are two lines of thought within the campaign: getting out before Florida, and hanging in there.

On the one hand, some advisers are warning that if Rubio does poorly in his home state, it could not only hurt his presidential campaign but also his future politically, including a potential gubernatorial run in 2018 or chance to be on the ticket as a vice presidential candidate.

"Cruz won his home state. If Rubio can't win his, that's a problem," one prominent supporter said.

But others within the campaign are urging Rubio to stay in the race, predicting a better-than-expected finish in Florida.

Rubio's victory for his Senate seat against the governor makes him optimistic he can come from behind, said one source close to the campaign. The senator also believes his experience in the state translates to a superior ground game and infrastructure than that of his competitors.

The latter line of thinking seems to be winning, for the moment. But a particularly awful Tuesday could change the rationale, a source warned.

Rubio's support has flatlined in Michigan, where he is now running 4th.  Ted Cruz has a good chance to win Mississippi and could surprise in Idaho.  There is no recent polling for Hawaii, but Trump is expected to do well there.

While Rubio has been climbing in Florida polls, it is more than possible that a disastrous showing today could eat into that support.  Rather than endure the humiliation of getting trounced in his home state, Rubio could very well decide to drop out of the race with some of his dignity still intact. 

At 44 years old, Rubio almost certainly has a second act in his political career on the horizon.  No one doubts his talent.  But his judgment in his campaign for president was lacking.  One hopes a little seasoning with age can help in that regard.

Sources inside the Rubio campaign have told CNN that there is an argument among advisers about whether the candidate should drop out of the race before the Florida primary on March 15.

Alex Conant, Rubio's communications director, said the report is "100% false."

"That is fiction," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room."

"I was sitting in a senior staff meeting planning out next week's schedule when I saw this report suddenly air and I came racing across town to correct it," he added.

Conant pointed to the fact that Rubio appears to be closing in on GOP front-runner Donald Trump's lead in Florida.

A Monmouth poll released Monday shows Rubio behind Trump, 38% to 30%. A Quinnipiac poll released two weeks ago put Rubio behind Trump by a wider margin: 44% to 28%.

Most of the senator's advisers agree he does not have a path to the nomination and some are advising him to get out ahead of the March 15 primary.

Sources within the campaign also say the pressure will only continue to mount following an expected disappointing showing Tuesday, when voters in Michigan, Mississippi, Hawaii and Idaho make their picks in the GOP primary.

"Not going to have a great day is an understatement," one campaign source said.

There are two lines of thought within the campaign: getting out before Florida, and hanging in there.

On the one hand, some advisers are warning that if Rubio does poorly in his home state, it could not only hurt his presidential campaign but also his future politically, including a potential gubernatorial run in 2018 or chance to be on the ticket as a vice presidential candidate.

"Cruz won his home state. If Rubio can't win his, that's a problem," one prominent supporter said.

But others within the campaign are urging Rubio to stay in the race, predicting a better-than-expected finish in Florida.

Rubio's victory for his Senate seat against the governor makes him optimistic he can come from behind, said one source close to the campaign. The senator also believes his experience in the state translates to a superior ground game and infrastructure than that of his competitors.

The latter line of thinking seems to be winning, for the moment. But a particularly awful Tuesday could change the rationale, a source warned.

Rubio's support has flatlined in Michigan, where he is now running 4th.  Ted Cruz has a good chance to win Mississippi and could surprise in Idaho.  There is no recent polling for Hawaii, but Trump is expected to do well there.

While Rubio has been climbing in Florida polls, it is more than possible that a disastrous showing today could eat into that support.  Rather than endure the humiliation of getting trounced in his home state, Rubio could very well decide to drop out of the race with some of his dignity still intact. 

At 44 years old, Rubio almost certainly has a second act in his political career on the horizon.  No one doubts his talent.  But his judgment in his campaign for president was lacking.  One hopes a little seasoning with age can help in that regard.