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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio drops Obamacare fight, for now, for 'real crisis'



Sen. Marco Rubio just wrapped up a speech on the Senate floor that dwelled on his favorite topic: the American Dream.

What he did not mention – not once – was Obamacare. And the Florida Republican made only passing mention of the government shutdown, triggered by a fight over the health care law.

The subtext here is that the government shutdown has begun to weigh on Republicans who ignored warnings to make Obamacare the focus of a budget fight. Rubio for weeks joined Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and voices in the House spoiling for a showdown and casting Obamacare as a danger to the core of America.

But now, with the shutdown in its second week and polls showing Republicans shouldering more of the blame, Rubio has moved off that front. He’s focusing on the debt ceiling and his opposition to raising the borrowing limit without addressing long-term issues such as Medicare and Social Security.

“The American Dream is under assault. That is the real crisis,” he said today.

He then pivoted to optimism. “Despite how ugly Washington looks right now,” he said, I have hope we can save that dream.

Rubio's team was quick to say that he's not moving off Obamacare -- and who would expect him to drop his opposition to the law? -- but that the more immediate focus is on the debt limit. Many Republicans have begun to talk less and less about the health care law as the impasse wears on.


[Last modified: Thursday, October 10, 2013 9:35pm]


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