Rubio: Political fighting threatens American way of life
May 23rd, 2012
04:53 PM ET
2 years ago

Rubio: Political fighting threatens American way of life

(CNN) – In a speech blasting partisanship on Wednesday, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida warned the current political climate was impeding public discourse and squashing the idea of American exceptionalism.

Though he didn't mention President Barack Obama by name, the junior senator made a veiled swipe at Obama's 2008 campaign theme of "hope" and "change," saying the last few years have seen anything but such visions.

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"Any hope of that is now gone," Rubio said. "What you have today is nothing less than a wholesale effort to pit one group of Americans against each other on issue after issue."

He made his comments to members of the Latino Coalition gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where Mitt Romney also delivered a speech earlier in the day.

Rubio, widely thought to be a possible running mate for Romney, placed blame on those who advocate for policies generally pushed by the left, namely those that promote higher taxes for the wealthy and more government spending.

He faulted those policies for distorting the so-called American dream and insisted the line of thinking causes divisiveness and class warfare.

"Americans have never believed that the way you climb the economic ladder is to pull other people down from it," Rubio said.

While he touched on other factors that he said are steering the country in the wrong direction - debt, energy and immigration policies - Rubio most heavily hammered home the idea that political brinkmanship was society's largest threat.

Rubio argued the nature of political campaigns has degraded to a point that prevents productive thought or discourse.

"It is impossible for this Republic to function if people refuse to debate ideas and instead skip straight to the direct defamation of their political opponents," the senator said.

He continued: "That's now being celebrated. That's now being encouraged. It's now a mark of how good you are in politics if you're willing to do that."

His comments come in an election year already marred by intense fighting between Obama and Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee.

On Saturday, however, Rubio made more direct attacks in a South Carolina speech, calling Obama the most "divisive figure" in American history.

The son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio is a popular figure in the Latino community and speculated to be a potential boost for Romney's campaign, as the candidate lags far behind Obama in support among Latino voters.

According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll, 61% of registered Latino voters said they back Obama for re-election, with 27% supporting Romney.

Rubio targeted portions of his Wednesday speech to immigrant workers, making references to those who served the crowd their meal at the event and made their beds in their hotel rooms.

"They are proud to work with their hands, they are proud to serve you your lunch and your dinner because they know that their sacrifice is paving the way for someone that they love," he said, referring to the hope that their children might have better lives.

He later added: "Our goal is to ensure all those things are possible."

– CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 VP Pick • Latinos • Marco Rubio
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Maybe ignorant elected republicans should stop the partisanship, as they are destroying America.

    May 23, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Tyrone

    Tabby Nackle, No, Catholic, No, Baptist, No, Tabby Nackle, No , Catholic, No , Baptist,

    May 23, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    if President Obama had of gotten the real hope and change he had wanted we wouldn't have jerks like Rubio in the senate.

    May 23, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Before Rubio can speak on "the American way of life" he needs to know the history of the "American way his parents entered this country", idiot.

    May 23, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    ""Americans have never believed that the way you climb the economic ladder is to pull other people down from it," Rubio said. "

    And, strangely enough, nobody is arguing that we should start. See how that works, Rubio? First, you invent a straw man. Second, I point out that it's a straw man. Argument over.

    However, it should be noted that there's a whole buttload of Amurikans out there who believe that the way to climb that ladder is to step on the other climbers' heads.

    May 23, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Tyrone

    Yo Rubes, I am sure youre Real Proud of the Mittster Rapingrs of their Pensions.

    May 23, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Tyrone

    Hi Mitt, Hi Rubes, you gonna Convert Back To Tabby Nacklism ? Sure mitt if you promise me Majic Underwear.

    May 23, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Molly

    This is all Rubio does!

    May 23, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. tee27

    This guy is no Latino he has already toss them under the bus, Think about this he belongs to a party that has flat out said to him we don`t want Latino`s in this country no no no.

    May 23, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. Namejkane fl live FROM ROMNEYCARE BIG DIG IN BOSTON, 15BILLION DALLAR ROMNEY FISCILE CONSERVATIVE FAILED GOV,THREE TIME LOSER

    I want to see the teabag Rubios birth certifications ,I think he's an illigal boat child and should be deported after he pays back the money he stole on the Gop charge card . Thanks teaparty bafoons, get out a town .

    May 23, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. kakaraka

    This yahoo doesn't know what he's talking about. Blame your GOP tea bag no compromise party for the gridlock in Congres. Period.

    May 23, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  12. anotherGDlefty

    I agree with the anchor baby Rubio.
    Now if we could get the party whose leaders and talking heads made it thier day one mission to "see that he fails" to actually do something.
    Most of the things this anchor babies party is fighting were once thier own ideas.

    Laughable, the divise party crying about the devisive nature they have created.

    May 23, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    ""Americans have never believed that the way you climb the economic ladder is to pull other people down from it," Rubio said. "

    This is true, but not in the way Rubio means it...and we all knew it would happen this way. First black dude or minority gets elected POTUS and his mere existence causes the GOP to go freeking bananas? I mean, seriously, who didn't see that coming? On every single issue these jokers and clown try to claim it's Obama dividing everyone, it's really themselves...trying to keep gay people down and unequal, trying to suppress minority/youth voter turnout, redistricting to minimize the impact of growing minority population share, runnign around demagoguing Islam and muslims and screaming about an innocent community center and holding Congressional hearings in an attempt to prove that all muslims are national security threats, demanding that the rich pay 0% taxes, insisting that SS and Medicare are the problem instead of admitting that the math shows it is the Bush tax cuts, two unfunded wars and an unfunded perscription drug program, INSISTING IMMEDIATELY AFTER LOSING THE ELECTION THAT THEIR ONLY PRIORITY IS MAKING SURE OBAMA IS A ONE TERM POTUS...the list is endless. It's not Obama or the Dems dividing people unless you interpret it to mean that his mere existence as the first black POTUS has completely overturned the GOP's reality and sent them into an inconsolable rage, determined to "take their country back" from darky.

    May 23, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. TM

    Right, because the record number of filibusters by the Republican party have had NOTHING to do with partisanship. Do us all a favor Senator, clean up your own act before you start pointing fingers.

    May 23, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    You know, CNN. I'm beyond caring what Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley,
    Kelly Ayotte, Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, and all the other Tea Party
    hopefuls you all keep throwing at your readers think. Not to mention
    John McCain who is well past his prime. Seriously. Is this ALL that
    is left for CNN to grab as headliners anymore? Yuck.

    May 23, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    edit...quoted the wrong thing...

    "On Saturday, however, Rubio made more direct attacks in a South Carolina speech, calling Obama the most "divisive figure" in American history. "

    This is true, but not in the way Rubio means it...and we all knew it would happen this way. First black dude or minority gets elected POTUS and his mere existence causes the GOP to go freeking bananas? I mean, seriously, who didn't see that coming? On every single issue these jokers and clown try to claim it's Obama dividing everyone, it's really themselves...trying to keep gay people down and unequal, trying to suppress minority/youth voter turnout, redistricting to minimize the impact of growing minority population share, runnign around demagoguing Islam and muslims and screaming about an innocent community center and holding Congressional hearings in an attempt to prove that all muslims are national security threats, demanding that the rich pay 0% taxes, insisting that SS and Medicare are the problem instead of admitting that the math shows it is the Bush tax cuts, two unfunded wars and an unfunded perscription drug program, INSISTING IMMEDIATELY AFTER LOSING THE ELECTION THAT THEIR ONLY PRIORITY IS MAKING SURE OBAMA IS A ONE TERM POTUS...the list is endless. It's not Obama or the Dems dividing people unless you interpret it to mean that his mere existence as the first black POTUS has completely overturned the GOP's reality and sent them into an inconsolable rage, determined to "take their country back" from darky.

    May 23, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "He later added: "Our goal is to ensure all those things are possible."

    But he left off the subtext: "...but only to a point."

    May 23, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Rubio will never get the Latinos to vote for Romney. Remeber Romney making a statement about
    "Self-Deportation"????

    May 23, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. MR. RUBIO

    economy 12012 & 4 more years! CHINA if you will was allowed to purchase AMERICAN HOLLYWOOD MOVIE THEATERS I FIND THAT whole ordeal a little odd 1.2 trillion to be exact. what do you bring to the table to stop AMERICAN BUSSINESSES from being overtaken by other countries and how do you intend on this being corrected and never happening again

    May 23, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Ronda in Houston,TX

    Rubio said:
    "They are proud to work with their hands, they are proud to serve you your lunch and your dinner because they know that their sacrifice is paving the way for someone that they love," he said, referring to the hope that their children might have better lives.
    *****************************************************************************************************************************
    And this is suppose to be a compliment? Rubio is no friend to Latinos....

    May 23, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Bill

    What he fails to mention is theat he and his obstructionist republican friends are the main reason for the continuing gridlock.

    May 23, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "They are proud to work with their hands, they are proud to serve you your lunch and your dinner because they know that their sacrifice is paving the way for someone that they love," he said, referring to the hope that their children might have better lives."

    I was going to comment and then changed my mind. I'll let Rubio sort it out for himself just how utterly condesending this is, especially from him.

    Obama/Biden

    May 23, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. Thomas

    @Bill
    What he fails to mention is theat he and his obstructionist republican friends are the main reason for the continuing gridlock.

    THANK YOU !

    May 23, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. vivdrummer

    First of all, he is correct that the current political climate is extremely divisive. Couldn't agree more. But to say that Democrats are to blame is an outright lie. From day 1 Republicans in congress have basically told the president he's not going to get anything from Republicans. Repeatedly they have hoped for failure so that Obama would not get re-elected. Maybe they should stop listening to Rush Limbaugh for advice.

    Our biggest problem right now is that Republicans blanketly refuse to associate themselves with President Obama, even if it's their own legislation. Childishness, that's all I can say.

    May 23, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I don't suffer from high-blood pressure because I stay away from the blatherings of people like this simpleton, misguided, disconnected, wannabe sell-out.

    May 23, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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