Rubio: Political fighting threatens American way of life
May 23rd, 2012
04:53 PM ET
10 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. Steve

    Mr. Rubio has become the problem he identifies in this rant.

    May 23, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. Elizabeth

    He says this after unleashing his venum at President Obama.

    May 23, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    If you're so concerned, Marco, then why doesn't your party stop with the lies, fear, hatred and division that has become your go-to tactic for dealing with everything?

    Oh, that's right: It's all you got, because all of the GOP's economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    May 23, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  4. ThinkAgain

    Rubio: "What you have today is nothing less than a wholesale effort to pit one group of Americans against each other on issue after issue."

    Folks, this is what's called "transference": accusing the other person of your own bad behavior. The GOP has perfected it, repeats it day after day from their propagandist machines (Fox, Limbaugh, etc.), in the hopes of convincing their ignorant, foolish base to once again vote against their own self-interest.

    You'd think Republican voters would get tired of being played ...

    May 23, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |

    He should talk to his own republican bafoon party if he deals that way because that's their values .

    May 23, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. Former Republican for President Obama

    Rubio is Cuban and looks down on any Latino that is not. We all know Cubans are given favorable treatment to enter our country.

    May 23, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  7. Dan5404

    Nothing but bull. He himself is a part of that partisan rhetoric and obstruction practiced by the GOP since Obama was elected. They started the hyper-partisanship and with the advent of the Tea Party, ultra-right evangelists, Norquist, the unlimited pac decision, and birthers, they have raised it to a rabid fever pitch. The GOP agenda would carry us so far backward, the country will indeed be in the second great depression.

    May 23, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  8. Jewels

    I can't stand Rubio!! He's one to speak about "trash talking"!

    May 23, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. CRAIG

    Rubio is the divisive figure here, of course he's very young & inexperienced but you know, Romney is old & inexperienced so they make a good team.

    May 23, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. Blindersoff

    Is the whole republican leadership and base crazy or just short of basic accountability, do to a short attention span? They are the ones who orchestrated the division among the people further separating and creating this class war . . . the republican decided, way before Obama took office, to undermined this president by obstruction every good and productive idea, even if it originated from the conservative right. Rubio is a bad seed, that if left alone, will grow, spread and choke the entire garden. Beware America, beware.

    May 23, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. arale norimaki

    Why keep trotting out this Marco Rubio=Anchor Baby character? He has
    nothing to say and basically no one gives =Running on Empty aka joke.

    Marco Rubio is an anchor baby who family came here fleeing economic hardships EXACTLY like the Mexican illegals he screams about.

    As an Anchor Baby, can Marco Rubio be selected to be on the GOP POTUS ticket as the VP candidate?

    Sen. Rubio's grand father was an illegal immigrant. The Republicans not only don't have problem with that but call anyone who questions it names. If a Mexican was here illegally these same people would be screaming to kick him out of the country. Why two sets of rules?

    May 23, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. dnick47

    This climate of partisan polarizing began by the Republicans when Bush I was seeking the White House in 1988. His compaign flayed Dukosiss alive with biting insuling remarks, unproven inneundos, out right distortations, and flat out lies. Bush's compaign manager was so ashamed of it after he was diagnosed with cancer and on his way out that he actually apologized to Michael Dukosis and asked his forgiveness (its in the news tapes if their are any real journalist left out there) then he pleaded with holier-than-thou Bush to stop it; but GHWB remained smug and refused. Finally the man died, at least he tried but the GOP was, is and always will be the Party of descension, falsehoods and lies.

    May 23, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    I have very little respect for a political party who has spent so much time lying ... yes lying ... about the current President of the United States. Actually, it sickens me.

    I have very little respect for a media that allows the lying ... yes lying ... about the President of the United States to continue unabated. Actually, it sickens me.

    I have very little respect for a potential President of the United States to continue lying ... yes lying ... about the current President of the United States. Mitt Romney sickens me with his lies.

    I question whether Mitt Romney would ever come close to becoming the next President of the United States without the lies he feels are neccessary to gain that position. Apparently he knows that it is only because of his willingness to lie about Barack Obama's record that he himself gains the upper edge. I wish Mitt Romney all the luck in the world in this course of his he has chosen to take - one lie at a time.

    I'll not reward him victory, however. No more than I would reward anyone for lying to get what they desire. And certainly not from a man who by his own account considers himself a man of God doing God's work.

    May 23, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    What a hyporcrite! Not a word of criticism for his own GOBP cult.

    May 23, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  15. Name

    Rubio. Is on the wrong side of history. Latinos are not stupid we remember lot of GOP stands.

    May 23, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. fullclarity

    So, Marco, you and your party take no responsibility for the bitter partisanship now endemic in Washington and the country? That's nonsense, and you know it.

    May 23, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  17. yogi

    This rookie surely has a healthy dosis of arrogance, and what about his statements about the President a few days ago, weren't they divisive ? Republicans are very good at the hating and name calling game, but very poor at being objective and honest.
    Obama 2012!

    May 23, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. Karm99

    Certainly this man is experiencing a split personality disorder.

    Either that or the Chip the right wingers planted in his head is on the fritz....

    May 23, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  19. john

    Pretty sure the problem is people only having conversations with people they agree with. Also, one person posting multiple times shows your little sowing circle is quite small. Go talk to somebody on the other side and find common ground. Maybe read something important enough for print.

    May 23, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  20. Doug from Seattle

    What's your problem Marco? You can dish it out but you can't take it!?

    May 23, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |

    You ever notice that republican clowns like rebio ,use the same key words ,like class warfare ,job creators,and defict spending when in fact they left Obama with a 9trillion dallar defict .

    May 23, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  22. A not-so-stupid former republican

    I would ask Rubio what he has done to create jobs. So far, Rubio's only accomplishment was to lie about how his parents came to this country. I sorry! I forgot that lying is considered a prerequisite to becoming a republican politician.

    May 23, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  23. Ms

    Am I the only one who sees the irony in a rant about partisan fighting immediately followed up with a partisan attack?

    May 23, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. Richard "BONEHEAD" Cheney

    Rubio's statement about political fighting is probably the only thing I'll ever agree with. Maybe if he looked in the mirror it would help him understand where the problem lies.

    May 23, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  25. b

    hey rubio, where is your birth certificate?

    May 23, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
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