November 17th, 2012
10:05 PM ET
1 year ago

Rubio nods coyly to ‘elephant in the room’ at Iowa event

(CNN) – A rising Republican star who many say embodies the future of the GOP, Sen. Marco Rubio toyed with 2016 presidential speculators Saturday at an event in Iowa.

Well aware of the state’s political importance and the undertones that come with making the trip to the battleground state, Rubio quickly cut to the chase.


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“I am not, nor will I ever be, a candidate for … offensive coordinator of Iowa. I know there’s rumors,” he joked to Iowans at a fundraiser for Gov. Terry Branstad’s birthday, adding he would have been in the NFL “if not for my lack of size, speed and talent.”

There were laughs, but the announcement of Rubio’s trip last week to the Hawkeye State drew even further speculation of a possible 2016 bid for the White House.

In his speech, Rubio focused on the future, mentioning this year's GOP standard bearer just once before pivoting to a broad discussion of solutions and goals for the party in the coming years. Mitt Romney, Rubio said, is an “extraordinary person” who he hopes “stays involved in the American political process.”

Many Republicans are left with a bitter taste in their mouths after Romney failed to nab the Oval Office, but Rubio cleansed Iowa conservatives' palates with talk about “limited-government conservatism” and topics ranging from tax reform and the fiscal cliff to the national debt, energy policies and modernization of the immigration system.

“The way to turn our economy around is not by making rich people poorer. It’s by making poor people richer,” the Florida senator said. “Big government doesn’t help the people who are trying to make it. It hurts them.”

In a state with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States, Rubio said, "the country can learn a lot from Iowa.”

“Governor Branstad is an example of what government can do to help an economy grow and help the middle class be prosperous,” he said.

Following the speech, Branstad returned the praise, calling Rubio “the kind of inspirational leader that will help point us in the right direction.”


Filed under: 2012 • 2016 • Iowa • Marco Rubio
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. mho

    Rove, Limbaugh, and Trump are the power brokers of the Republican Party. What they say goes. If they like Rubio, he's in; if they don't he's out. Either way, America is fed up with Republican lies, hysteria, and distortions. They can do all the 'soul searching' they want – but they've made a pact with the devil and they're paying the price now.

    November 18, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Peter Clarke

    GOP should go to plan B. Get rid of the Koch Bros. ,Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Donald Trump, and the Evangelicals. Move to the diversity of our country, rid themselves of congressional obstructionism, and find someone who isn't so full of poop to nominate for President. Then perhaps I may return to being Republican...Perhaps.

    November 18, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. Dave

    He sounds just like all the rest. He will be treated just like all the rest by the American people. He will lose,.....just like all the rest.

    November 18, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. lindsey

    Now lets end the corn and oil subsidies. Fiscal conservatism also means not giving away tax money for nothing.

    November 18, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  5. Pete

    Republican: "I got mine and to hell with everyone else. By the way, I want MORE too."

    November 18, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. uysfl

    From a Floridian and a Republican, Rubio is a joke.

    November 18, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Marco you left out the most important parts... protect womens' reproductive rights and marriage equality. Of course the Evangelicals won't go for that. So there you go.

    November 18, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. gager

    Keep religion out of the GOP and you have a better chance.

    November 18, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Robert from Ohio

    If the Republicans get purge themsslves of the fringe crazies, they stand a chance. Let them form their own party.

    November 18, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. JBHedgehog

    No...no campaigning. Go away and screw off. We get TWO YEARS off from this BS.

    November 18, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. Jake

    The lessons of history are lost on Rubio. He learned nothing from Romney's defeat about real America. Same old nonsense that Mitt spewed. Only a fool would continue doing the same wrong things and expect a different result. There is nothing about Rubio that strikes him apart from Romney. He just doesn't get it. The only difference between Romney and Rubio in 2016 is their name. Their game is the same.

    November 18, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. dc

    The win doesn't mean the Dems are RIGHT. Only the resulting history can do that. For the good of our country, I pray the Dems are as smart as they think they are...... because if they are wrong, it will make them the dumbest (and most easily duped) majority in the history of the planet!

    November 18, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. jakib

    Wow Rubio hasn't learned a thing from this last election. That's a shame. The young up and coming members of the GOP like Ryan and Rubio have a real chance if they would stop enabling the behavior and rhetoric of the old Republican Guard like Grove, Roche brothers, Trump, and other McCarthy radicals. The rich may control alot of this country, but the regular citizen controls the polls at voting time. America doesn't go for class separation, racist views, hate mongering, and radical religion in our government. Take a lesson from the history books Rubio and you might just make it to the higher office.

    November 18, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. Howie76

    He was a hack of an attorney with little money. Then he went into politics and is a millionaire. The guy is the worst thing that ever happened to Florida next to Rick Scott.

    November 18, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. DougNJ

    At a Republican primary debate Mitt and the other candidates raised their hands to show they do NOT believe in evolution. Why would we want a person that does not believe in science running the country? As Peter Clarke says, Repubs are so desperate for the Evangelical approval. 'Why, them Republicans say the darnedest thangs' [Bachman, Murdock, etc].

    November 18, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  16. Brad

    'democrats: I don't have anything and want the government to give it to me. i want to take it from those who have worked to earn it. Conservatives want to conserve while democrats are great at spending other peoples money. That's how Obama got reelected. Those who are needy are more than those who are not.

    November 18, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. manuel J.

    dc is so right.... Lot's of Lib's crowing about how smart they are. In reality, they are only showing their ignorance and/or silliness. Look up the word "silly"... it's not very flattering.

    In any case, government handouts for all!! That's how we will prosper, handouts for all AND no work involved.... only a fool or a Liberal believes that!!!!

    November 18, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Yolie Scott

    Marco Rubio sounds like the rest of the rich who don't want to have higher taxes brought against them – but hey let's just throw our money away trying to buy Romney the Presidency which didn't work. As Rubio said don;t make the rich poor but the poor richer – excuse me but this man is insane with his ideas.

    November 18, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. Debby

    Well I agree with Rubio and people will soon find out he is right in the next 4 years.

    November 18, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. John Spencer

    Seems to me Cuba has nothing but problems. Maybe he should promote his pie in the sky rhetoric in Havana
    where he belongs.

    November 18, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. BigSir

    Give it a rest! Campaigning 4 years ahead of the election makes electioneering an ongoing process and works
    against what we need; the parties working with each other in government. What Rubio is doing is really what is wrong
    with our political system.

    November 18, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Donkey Party

    Ok right-wingers, if you think you're so smart, then surely you know that 70% of those taking "handouts" and "gifts" are poor white Republicans and the elderly? Oh wait, I forgot, there's also the oil companies and big banks that get their freebies too. The truth is, Democrats are far more intelligent than any right-winger, it's a proven fact, and to be quite honest, we're tired of subsidizing red states whose freeloaders are too lazy and too ignorant to find decent employment.

    November 18, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. JohnBrown

    I read these posts and shake my head. Maybe I don’t get it, from what I read, if you want to blame the republicans for the financial collapse of 2008 then the democrats should be blamed for any crisis today, on the other hand, if you want to blame the republicans for the crisis today then blame the democrats for 2008. Too many of our elective leader forget, they represent the people and the best interest of the people not special interest groups.

    November 18, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Cleigh

    I think Rubio has some skeletons in his closet. Otherwise Mitt Romney would have chosen him for a VP. Think about it, Romney would have won Florida with Rubio and 29 delegates.

    November 18, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Getoverit

    Don't worry, lefties. He's way too smart, so the MSM will bury him like they did Ron Paul.

    November 18, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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