In GOP address, Rubio rebuts Obama's State of the Union
January 28th, 2012
07:27 AM ET
11 years ago

In GOP address, Rubio rebuts Obama's State of the Union

(CNN) - Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Saturday accused the president of failed leadership during the weekly Republican address as political attention turns to his home state leading up to its primary.

Rubio, who is popular among the GOP presidential contenders, focused on the president's State of the Union address.

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"This president didn't talk about his record for one simple reason; he doesn't want you to know about it," Rubio said, referring to President Barack Obama's address to Congress Tuesday. "But you do know about it, because you feel the failure of his leadership every single day of your life."

Rubio predicted Obama would use politics of division in the upcoming election year to secure his own re-election.

"He tells Americans worried about their jobs that the way to help them is to raise their bosses' taxes, Rubio said. "He tells those who are hurting that the only way they can be better off, is for others to be worse off. He tells all of us that the only way for some of us to climb up the economic ladder is for others to be pulled down."

"This divisive rhetoric, this effort to gain political support by convincing some that they will be better off if we punish others, this stuff has never worked anywhere it's been tried," Rubio added.

Rubio's address comes as political attention turns to his home state Florida, which holds its primary Tuesday. Candidates competing for the GOP nomination have criss-crossed the state over the past week, establishing their positions on issues important to Florida voters, such as immigration, housing and the future of the U.S. space program.

Despite consistently saying he doesn't harbor any vice presidential aspirations, buzz has surrounded Rubio as a potential running mate for months. Political observers have said Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, could help any candidate draw in Latino voters.

In his address Saturday, Rubio alluded to his upbringing, saying his success was linked to America's system of free enterprise.

"No economic system is perfect," Rubio said. "But the American free enterprise system has empowered millions of people in the past. I know, because I saw it with my own eyes. My father was a bartender. And I thank God every night that there was someone willing to risk their money to build a hotel on Miami Beach and later in Las Vegas where he could work."

Rubio has not endorsed a candidate, and his spokesman said he remained "neutral."

That hasn't stopped GOP candidates from singing his praises. At a CNN debate Thursday, candidates were asked which Hispanic politician they would consider appointing to their Cabinets. Rubio's name was the first mentioned.

"I mean I hate to throw one to Florida, but obviously your Sen. Marco Rubio is a pretty impressive guy," former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was even more effusive.

"I actually thought about Marco Rubio on a slightly more dignified and central role, than being in the Cabinet, but that's another conversation," Gingrich said.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, answering third, also commended Rubio.

"Of course, Sen. Marco Rubio is a terrific Hispanic-American," Romney said.

Also see:

Romney: Gingrich debates complaints like 'Goldilocks'

Palin decries GOP 'cannibalism,' defends Gingrich

Romney surrogates shadow Gingrich campaign

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Marco Rubio
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Sorensen

    Poor little Rubio. He will never get a chance to make any big speeches. I wonder why.

    January 28, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. Larry L

    91% of Americans supported every initiative laid out by President Obama in this speech. What are the specific proposals by Republicans? Rubio needs to be "for" something rather than just join the Republican Circus Train – with no specific ideas except being "against" every effort for real solutions.

    January 28, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. judith

    Rubio wants badly to be the next star of the GOP Party, but I don't think he'll play well outside of Florida. He's now lying about the President's record just like he lied about his biography.

    January 28, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. p

    Marco Rubio, illegal immigrant, says what? As the economy and jobs are improving undeniably, the GOPTP remains in denial. They want the country to suffer, so they can come in and "save the day". GOPTP! You are the reason the country was suffering. You're not fooling anybody now.

    January 28, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. diridi

    crazy idiot...o.k,

    January 28, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  6. Bye Bye Tea Party

    Mr Rubio engages the self-fulfilling prophesy. The stated GOP mission coming in: to make Obama a "one term president." That act of arrogance is evidence that they never had any intention of making it easy for his agenda to take root. The GOP has obstructed his agenda at every turn. They have refused to consider tax increases to ease the deficit – insisting that the people most in pain will have to pay with MORE PAIN. They have given him bills that THEY KNOW he wouldn't sign. From this voter's perspective, NO compromises means NOT WORKING FOR ME. No, Mr. Rubio, I believe that the current problem is the current GOP. It is time that they were reduced in numbers in the House so that good servants may do good work.

    January 28, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. gt

    the next vp....

    January 28, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Jilli

    So...Obama is "a failed leader"? What descriptive would apply to GW Bush – you know, the previous president, the one republicans are doing their darnedest to pretend never held office. Complete disaster. "Businessman". It's best to completely ignore possibly the worst president in recent history. Where is their defense of the bush policies? Any republican candidate is going to continue them, it's their engrained ideology. Defend it.

    January 28, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. AK_steve

    I am sick of the GOP telling me how bad my life is. The fact is, we ARE better off now than four years ago. Remember... Bushes tax cuts, two wars and deregulation led the a financial melt down.
    The mess the GOP put us in doesn't get cleaned up over night. But Obama HAS improved things. The GOP just doesn't want you to see it.
    Smoke and mirror my friends... smoke and mirrors.

    January 28, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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