The Republican presidential candidates are belittling each other and airing nasty attack ads as they battle in Florida.

But Marco Rubio doesn’t seem worried that damage inflicted now will carry into November. When the GOP nominee is eventually chosen, Florida’s junior senator and Republican wunderkind predicts the party will come together and defeat Democratic President Obama.

“I don’t think it’s any different than you’ve seen in other campaigns,” Rubio said, mentioning the drawn-out 2008 fight for the Democratic nomination between Obama and Hillary Clinton. “I think these races get like that. They get heated. These are highly competitive individuals. There’s a lot at stake.”

In a wide-ranging interview in his Capitol Hill office decorated with palm trees, Rubio said Thursday he’s not planning to endorse a candidate before Tuesday’s primary, explained why he thinks the improving-but-still-sluggish economy will cost the president a second term, and encouraged Republicans to do a better job of wooing Latino voters.

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