Washington (CNN)Marco Rubio says he and Jeb Bush will "still continue to be friends" -- but that's no reason to step aside in the Republican presidential race.
Marco Rubio on Jeb Bush: He's still my friend
"It's important to understand: I'm not running against Jeb Bush. I hope he's not running against me. We are competing for the same job," the Florida senator told ABC in an interview shortly after officially launching his campaign.
His comments come as Florida Republicans face an uncomfortable situation. Two of their party's home-state stars, Rubio and Bush, who live just miles apart in Miami, are competing on the same turf for many of the same donors, staffers and activists.
While in the Florida governor's office, Bush mentored Rubio, then the state House speaker. Bush was also a key supporter and behind-the-scenes strategist when Rubio took on Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in the 2010 Senate primary.
In the interview, Rubio stood by the argument that was central to his Monday night speech in Miami, though the target then was Hillary Clinton: It's time for a new generation of leaders, rather than those from "yesterday."
"I think that Jeb Bush continues to be a model for people in terms of how you approach public policy. ... But we've reached a moment now, not just in my career but in the history of our country, where I believe that it needs a Republican Party that is new and vibrant, that understands the future, has an agenda for that future," Rubio said. "And I feel uniquely qualified to offer that."
Bush has yet to formally announce his candidacy, but is widely expected to run.