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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio takes on big government during Reagan Library speech



rubioreagan.jpgHeralded as “perhaps a new great communicator,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a speech before an adoring crowd Tuesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Library in California.

The 40-year-old Republican, who escorted former First Lady Nancy Reagan into the room, focused on what he views as the proper role of government and blamed both parties for turning it into a behemoth that threatens the greatness of the country.

“I know that it’s popular in my party to blame the current president,” Rubio said. “But the truth is that the only thing this president has done is accelerate policies that were already in place and were doomed to fail. All he is doing through his policies is making the day of reckoning come faster ... What we have now is not sustainable.”

He drew applause for calling for a fairer, more predictable tax code and less regulation. “We do need a safety net,” Rubio said, “but it cannot be a way of life.”

Rubio was not totally anti-government. He said one role would be to provide children with the educational opportunities to compete on a global stage -- a position often espoused by President Barack Obama. 

He paid homage his grandfather, who came to the U.S. from Cuba. “My grandfather didn’t know that America was exceptional because he read about in a book. He knew about it because he lived it and saw it with his eyes. That powerful lesson is the story of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. It’s our legacy as a people. And it’s who we have  chance to be again.”

During a Q&A session, Rubio was asked (as he often is) if he will run for vice president. “I love being in the U.S. Senate,” he said. “I’m not going to be the vice presidential nominee.”

Even the stage seemed to be feeding into the hype surrounding the young Republican. Rubio spoke from a podium with a presidential-like seal and was flanked by four American flags.

Photo: In this screenshot, former First Lady Nancy Reagan is seated next to Rubio's wife, Jeanette.rubioreagan2.jpg

Rubio is doing fundraising while he's in California, both for his campaign and the NRSC.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 9:31am]


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