Can surface rust be rubbed out with rubbing compound? Suggestions welcomed.!
No it can not . But until you provide details as to where the rust is and what it is on you will not receive any useful advice.
Nope. Sandpaper will do it, as will a wire wheel. You’ll then want to spray a rust converting primer on it, then paint it.
You probably want to go beyond where you actually see the rust in your sanding, because it’s guaranteed there’s more rust hiding under the paint nearby.