In an interview on CBS This Morning on Thursday freshman Senator Mark Rubio of Florida told Republicans campaigning in his home state to "tone it down."
The advice came as the race between former GOP front-runner Mitt Romney and rival Newt Gingrich turned into a down and dirty street fight after Gingrich's stinging 10-point victory in South Carolina.
Romney tried to tar and feather as a big money lobbyist who flouted ethical norms, while Gingrich's campaign pulled a Spanish-language ad labeling Romney as anti-immigrant after Rubio complained Wednesday it was "inflammatory."
Rubio said the rising rhetoric between the two camps could have a negative impact in the general election.
"[Florida's] a swing state. Whoever wins it ... has to come back in the fall. ... I want to make sure we don't have candidates saying things that they have to defend or clean up," Rubio said.
Immigration is traditionally a hot campaign topic in Florida, but Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, stressed that most Latinos aren't single-issue voters.
"What's on people's minds is what's on your mind and my mind and everybody else's mind: How am I going to provide for my family?"
Rubio had specifically taken issue with Gingrich's ad, but professed admiration for the former House speaker, saying he had a "very positive message to offer."
At the same time he refused to endorse either candidate telling Erica Hill "nice try."
He also downplayed speculation he might be the eventual victor’s Vice Presidential running mate in 2012.