April 25th, 2012
04:53 PM ET
6 years ago

Rubio's foreign policy more VP than tea party

Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida boosted his vice presidential buzz Wednesday as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney, giving what his office billed as a "major foreign policy speech."

The freshman senator, who ran as a tea party favorite in 2010, voiced an "internationalist" perspective on major global issues, emphasizing the need for American leadership and intervention in areas like Syria, Russia, and Iran at the Brookings Institution, a prominent international think tank based in Washington.

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"What happens all over the world is our business. Every aspect of lives is directly impacted by global events," he said. "It's impossible for us to focus only on our issues here at home."

Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-independent senator from Connecticut, introduced Rubio, giving him a platform to speak about the effectiveness of American strength around the world. Lieberman noted Rubio's bipartisanship on these issues, putting him in the "tradition that links together our greatest Republican presidents like Ronald Reagan and our greatest Democratic presidents like Harry S. Truman."

Notably, Rubio did not use the widely covered speech as an opportunity to harshly attack the Obama administration. Instead he offered areas of disagreement with both the president, like on Russia, and members of his own party that argue for a more isolationist policy.

"I feel like we have gotten precious little from Russia in exchange for concessions on nuclear weapons," he said about the Obama administration's "reset" with the country, a critique Romney often emphasizes on the campaign trail.

Though Rubio disputes the policy, his view on how to mend the U.S.-Russia relationship showed his fervent belief in U.S. global leadership.

"We need to re-energize and lead a united coalition with European nations to tackle issues ranging from missile defense to the continued enlargement of NATO," Rubio said. "Furthermore, if we are successful in forming a Western Hemisphere energy coalition that takes advantage of the shale-gas revolution, we will be able to help our European allies reduce their coerced dependence on Russian energy as well."

On China, Rubio agreed with Romney's criticism of the country's handling on many issues, but his thoughts on resolving them did not mirror the candidate's promise to label the country as a currency manipulator on day one of his administration.

"The United States, Europe and East Asia represent 71% of the world's economy," he said. "That's a lot of leverage, and we should use it to address problems such as China's disregard for intellectual property rights, gross human rights violations, its unfair trading practices, its currency manipulation, and the looming presence of China's state-owned industries."

On one of the biggest tea party issues – the United Nations – Rubio offered his frustrations with logjams there but still insisted on the importance of such institutions. Many Republicans, tea party and not, have introduced bills to stop U.S. payments to the U.N. because of these problems, something he did not mention.

"When American influence is diminished, for example, by the one-nation one-vote formula of the U.N. General Assembly or the U.N. Human Rights Council, we see absurd and often appalling results," he said, evoking Republican irritation. But he also mentioned that "multi-lateral international organizations can be a forum for forming international coalitions."

When it comes to Iran, Rubio was most in line with the president, endorsing negotiations while leaving open the possibility of military strikes on the country.

"The prospect of a nuclear capable Iran is so unacceptable that we must be prepared to act," he said. "We should be open to negotiations with Iran. But always remember that they should not be deemed a success when they only lead to further negotiations."

Showing off his understanding of complex foreign issues, Rubio insisted on the need to help the Syrian opposition against President Bashar al-Assad's government as a way of weakening Iran.

"The fall of Assad would be a significant blow to Iran's ambitions," Rubio said. "On those grounds alone, we should be seeking to help the people of Syria bring him down."

Rubio also spoke about engaging with democratic countries in South America, which have been stronger and more economically prosperous, as a way to overcome regional challenges like Venezuela. He did not offer any thoughts on Cuba, the country from which his parents emigrated to America.

Rubio concluded his speech by quoting former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's 2003 address to Congress about America's essential role around the world. The Florida senator added his own views on U.S. leadership, sounding like a statesman waiting to gain residence to the Naval Observatory.

"Above all else, the 21st century provides us the opportunity for more freedom," Rubio said. "A world where more people are free. Free to grow their economies. Free to pursue their dreams. Free to become prosperous. This is the promise of this century. But it will not happen if we are not engaged. It will not happen if we do not lead."

Filed under: Foreign Policy • Marco Rubio
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    LMAO! This guy is NEVER going to be vp or president or anything else.
    He is another teapublikan liar. Right now they are all scrambling to take back everything they have said for months/years. This also includes the confederacy governor from virginia trying to backpedal about everything against women he has ever said or tried to inpose regarding pro choice, contraceptives and probing.
    Good luck clowns!

    April 25, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |

    "What happens all over the world is our business."
    To an extent. When we start policing the world is where I draw the line. As far as our relations with Russia, the President and Medvedev get along just fine.

    April 25, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Ed Estrada

    He has done little to nothing as far as passing any meaningful legislation since he has been in office. Nothing to benefit the people of Florida, all he wants is to take away from the working class,elderly,disabled. This man is "Bad News"plain and simple. Obama/Biden 2012!

    April 25, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Bootstomper

    This guy is a hack.

    April 25, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. gg

    It's just sounds like sweet talk and look pretty isn't...doesn't sounds like republicans with tough talk.

    April 25, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Bill

    So making a speech gives him credibility in the foreign policy arena? Sorry folks, the guys lied about his family history – that makes his credibility on anything zero.

    April 25, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Willis

    Look Mitt, you promised me that if I converted back to Mormonism, You would give me vp spot, Well I dont know RUBES, I need someone who is Black & Hispanic & a woman & a college student all in one. Fine , Mitt take back your Majic Underwear, I am done with you, WE ARE THRU!!!!!!!!!!

    April 25, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. the Situation

    Is this some kind of joke. This fool being introduce by that turn coat fool Lieberman. I really want to see the Repubs attempt to run on foreign policy against Obama and Biden. They are better of have Sarah Palin being their National Security Advisor!

    April 25, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. MaryM

    Rubio is a liar and a fraud. He will not be VP candidate. Lets not forget the Blunt/Rubio bill.

    April 25, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. the Situation

    Watch out, next Rubio will get advised from Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. LOL! If there is a god, I hope Mitts picks this lying tool as his running mate. Biden will pick him apart and Obama will pick Mitts apart in the fall in the debates.

    April 25, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    . As far as our relations with Russia, the President and Medvedev get along just fine
    Of course they do. The Russians get everything they want without having to give up anything. Why wouldn't they be ecstatic?! ANd if Obama is re-elected he will have more flexibility to give them even more for nothing in return. Does Obama realize he is the President of the USA and not Russia???

    April 25, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. MaryM

    Willis, good one. make me laugh

    April 25, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. A

    The Republican party is vastly losing the Hispanic vote nationwide. There are enough eligible Hispanic voters in several key battleground states to help swing the election. And, Marco Rubio is not the Republican's solution for this problem. I can't wait to see Rubio campaign for Romney in Arizona.

    April 25, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Rickster

    What a vast improvement Rubio would be over President Failure, aka Barry Soetoro, aka Barack Hussein Obama, aka The Worst President Ever.

    April 25, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. the Situation

    Base on the high lights of his speech is nothing more than old talk that was used with Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and all the hawks with American Supremecy around the world.

    Question to Scarface Jr, how did all of that worked out? 2 Wars that cost the American Taxpayers Trillions of dollars. Lost respect around the world from all your allies with this going on your own, or sounding like Anakin Skywalker, "IF YOU ARE NOT WITH ME, YOU ARE MY ENEMY". Please stick to what you know, KID!

    April 25, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. Another Day in the RW Idiot Mines

    It's mind-boggling that the GOBP cult is so insane it is pretending Rubio is even remotely qualified to speak about foreign affairs. Lying about his family background doesn't count. What's even more mind-boggling is that he just gave a straight neocon speech. He can talk all he wants about how "We need to re-energize and lead a united coalition with European nations" but Europeans remember what happened last time Bush spouted that same bs. They ain't buyin' it this time around and neither are we.

    April 25, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. aaron

    Yep, his blabbering his usual nonsense is major anytime but a day of the week.

    April 25, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    That's right CNN, pretend that Pearce and Kobach in AZ aren't still telling the MSM that Mittens is 100% supportive of their right-wing extremist immigration policies LIKE HE CLAIMED TO BE JUST A COUPLE MONTHS AGO. No no no...just sensationalize The Rube's paid-for assistance in helping Mittens shake the Etch-A-Sketch.

    Here's a hint for both the GOP/Teatrolls AND CNN/the MSM: THE HISPANIC VOTE IS NOT IN PLAY AND RUBIO WON'T CHANGE THAT. No amount of ignoring this reality and trying desperately to make it into an "oooh, which way will it go?" story is going to change that.

    The BEST that Deputy Doublethink and his sidekick can hope for is that mindless blather intended to dishearten and disaffect hispanic voters will suppress their turnout in November. Expect their rhetoric to shift to that...and expect CNN and the MSM to help them bullhorn it without any fact checking or objective analysis.

    April 25, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. Alexanders

    Rubio does not represent Hispanis at all. Romny better look for someone else, and I'm sure he will. If he picks Rubio than he will NOT make it very far.

    April 25, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Rubio received a soaring introduction from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who called him a "rising star in the next generation of America's foreign policy leaders" and praised him as "principled, patriotic and practical."

    I freely admit I have no interest in Marco Rubio. However, could someone please explain how a freshman senator of less than 2 years standing is now being touted as a "foreign policy leader" of the free world?

    April 25, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  21. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    Great, Rmoney supports Paul "The Undertaker" Ryan's deficit increase plan and Rubio wants to return us to the neocon days of illegal war and invasions. Apparently the GOBP cult believes America hasn't suffered enough.

    April 25, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Flipper Rmoney Failure Ahead

    Uh-oh, looks like Rmoney's little "test-drive" of Rubio is a failure.

    April 25, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. The Real Truth and Nothing But the Real Truth

    "Rubio received a soaring introduction from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who called him a "rising star in the next generation of America's foreign policy leaders" and praised him as "principled, patriotic and practical."
    I freely admit I have no interest in Marco Rubio. However, could someone please explain how a freshman senator of less than 2 years standing is now being touted as a "foreign policy leader" of the free world?
    Rather incredible that an Obamabot would ask this!!!! By Obama's standards, he should be ruinning for Presdient already. Except Rubio hasn't voted "present" all of his political career like Obama,

    April 25, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Woman In California

    As an answer to your question Lynda/Minnesota – Rubio took an on-line foreign policy course. In just three SHORT months, he became an overnight "foreign policy expert." He sure is a smart guy. Look for Willard to take one too.

    April 25, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Bootstomper

    Now I know who he is. He's Dan Quayles IllegitImate child.

    April 25, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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