(CNN) – More than five months after assuming office as Florida's junior senator, Republican Marco Rubio gave his first floor speech Tuesday reflecting on “American exceptionalism” and the American dream.
The tea party favorite also tapped into fears of a world without American success and dominance.
"What will the world look like if America declines? Who's going to create the innovations of the 21st century? Who will stretch the limits of human potential and explore the new frontiers?" Rubio said. "And if America declines, who will do all these things and ask for nothing in return, motivated solely by the desire to make the world a better place? The answer is: No one will. There is still no nation or institution on this planet that is willing or able to do what America has done."
And in an apparent split from a common theme at Monday night's presidential debate, where many GOP contenders spoke out against U.S. involvement overseas, Rubio reminded his colleagues why he feels American interests remain at the helm.
"Whether we like it or not, there is no aspect of our daily life that is not directly impacted by the world around us," Rubio said. "We can choose to ignore global problems but global problems will not ignore us."
–CNN's Joe Von Kanel contributed to this report.