November 17th, 2012
10:05 PM ET
6 years 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. Satberry

    I dare them to run Rubio.The republicans will not have enough garbage collectors to clean up the trash they have on him.

    November 17, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. Dude in Colorado

    Rubio may run for President, but only if he thinks the GOP will choose him not because he's hispanic but because he's the best person for them to run.

    That said, his policy comments sound like the typical GOP cut-taxes and de-regulate mantra that got us in the situation out of which we're only now starting to pull ourselves.

    November 17, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  3. Dee

    We need a break from election rhetoric right now let's savor in the moment and the resuls of this election 2016 is a long time away.

    OBAMA 2012

    November 17, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  4. Flagship, NC

    There is no way this "boy wonder" is go to make it to the big house.

    November 17, 2012 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |

    LOL...give me a break....Hillary 2016........

    November 17, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  6. Patrick

    Rubio will bring hope not poverty like Obama

    November 18, 2012 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  7. Florida Gator Guy

    Seriously??? This guy has such a poor track record guess the only reason why he is being talked about is because of his Hispanic heritage.

    Jeb, Jeb, Jeb!!!

    November 18, 2012 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  8. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    I'm not sure if a Latino Republican could carry most Latinos. Republican are still working under the assumption that Blacks will almost always vote for Blacks, Latinos will vote for anyone with Latin surname and so on. Unfortunately for them it is just not true. Romney is second generation American from Mexico. He did not carry the Latino vote. Romney did not carry any state he claims as a home state (all of them he had a house in). Romney did not even win the majority of the Mormon vote.

    Understand this Republicans. Most of the people who voted against you did so for one reason and one reason only. They think that Republican policies are wrong. I repeat, WRONG. If voting for Republicans benefited Blacks, Latinos Orientals, gays, poor, the middle class or anything other than rich, old white men Republicans would have won the election. They did not. Get over it. Learn from it. Try being more inclusive and stop trying to blame everything except your policies for your humiliation.

    November 18, 2012 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  9. Pete

    Alexithymic Mitt is "extrordinary"? Saying that makes Rubio a pandering fool, especially since the election proved how badly Mitt lost.

    November 18, 2012 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  10. mike

    Can't you people give running for president a rest for a few months? Stop it, do your regular job, and in 2014 start it up.

    November 18, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |

    Rubio and the rest won't talk about the 3 million republicans who let Mitt the twit swing in the wind when they stayed home,effectively voting for President Obama.

    November 18, 2012 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  12. MT

    So not ready for POTUS.

    November 18, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  13. SafeJourney

    Mitt is done. No more Mitt and/or Ann Romney

    November 18, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    The truth is, the election was more about the "grand experiment" NOT FAILING, than anything else! The "politically correct" mentality didn't want their grand experiment to fail, so they made sure they reelected him, to make it appear he was going to eventually succeed, in spite of the high probability, that he will NOT succeed, at all.

    The entire country will pay a high price, for that "political correctness".

    November 18, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  15. Kate

    I heard Rubio talk on NPR. [ The man has a temper.] From what I've heard about his past, and the comments he made during his interview, he will rival Mitt with the number of lies he has to tell to get nominated.

    November 18, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. GonzoinHouston

    Marco Rubio is Cuban-American, which is different from Latinos from Mexico and points south. The Cubans fled to escape an oppressive communist country, so they tend to be Republican with conservative attitudes. Most otherLatinos left their respective countries because of poverty and oppressive autocracies, so they tend to be more liberal Democrats. About the only thing these two groups have in common is the Spanish language, and even then the Cubans speak it with a distinct accent. Rubio won't carry squat outside of Little Havana.

    November 18, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. ST

    I am wondering why Romney did not list the lack of support from his fellow republicans as why he lost the election. Rubio and many others sell themselves during the GOP convention and not Romney, still Rubio is continuing doing the same.

    November 18, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. Jeff Cox

    Rubio would be better served to take that Offensive Coordinator job at Iowa. Unless he's retiring, Karl Rove has the lock on the Republican party's "Offensive" Coordinator job for the foreseeable future.

    November 18, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. Grampa

    Rubio intends to be the Republican Obama. Watch him as he slowly tries to shape public perception of his character over the next four years. Watch for the friendly, smiling demeanor, the self-deprecating humor, the efforts at serious, concerned rhetoric expressing sympathy for the middle class and promoting small-government solutions that will help them. He will try to corral Hispanic votes by embracing tolerance toward immigration reform and seeking high-profile opportunities to be seen addressing and working with Latino groups. It will start slow and build to a sprint in late 2015. Should be interesting.

    November 18, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  20. us_1776

    LMFAO !!

    These Repubs are still talking about "limited government conservatism" when in fact they have not practiced that since the prehistoric days of Richard Nixon.

    The past 30 years of GOP administrations have seen the largest expansion of government in the history of the United States.

    Repubs, we hate to tell you but the Democratic Party of the 21st century IS the fiscal conservative party.


    November 18, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  21. tom wittmann

    If the GOP thinks that it can win elections by posting Cuban-American or nearly black Asian-Anericans as RUBIO and JIMDAL, they are way wrong and (again) diluting themselves. Blacks do not like Asians, Western Latinos dislike Cuban latinos, JINDAL is not an attractive personality, mainly for women.

    And most important: the largely racist segment of the white Republican base would be very little enthusiastic with such candidates, especially because the DEM candidate will be lily white. Such people has voted against Obama because his color, not because they liked Romney.

    So, by relying on the ethnicity of their candidate, the GOP would have no chance tho succeed. unless it presents a less reactionary platform. THE ONLY REASON WHY IN THE RECENT ELECTIONS THE DEMS DID NOT WON BY A LANDSLIDE was because OBAMA is (half) black and the economic situation is far from good, conditions which likely will not be repeated in 2016.

    November 18, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Smiles, jeers and tears

    Not all Hispanics are alike. Rubio is Cuban. Will Mexicans and Puerto RIcans vote for a Cuban?

    November 18, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  23. RickFrmTexas

    The GOP has no idea how to help the poor and middle class, this is why we'll be hearing future GOP candidates saying exactly what Rubio said, with no specifics on how they plan to go about it.

    November 18, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. Now you figure it out?

    In the eyes of those running the republican party, Rick Santorum is their next candidate. He will be picked to show that a true conservative can win the white house. He will talk about how the nation has become more conservative and they long for someone like him. The world laughs, and the democrats bite their tongues trying to to appear overly confident, and the republicans shake their heads after another landslide defeat and declare... Next up... Paul Ryan. Never learning the lesson.

    November 18, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. G Smith

    The GOP will need A LOT MORE than simply "regifting" to the American electorate old policies in Latino wrapping paper...

    November 18, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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