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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio: God still believes in America



WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio gave a well-received speech at the Values Voter Summit in Washington this morning, defending his Christian values and telling the crowd that God still believes in America.

"Today we see a rising tide of intolerance in America, intolerance towards those who cherish these values," Rubio said. He later declared, "I believe Jesus Christ is God," drawing protracted applause.

The Florida Republican and potential 2016 presidential candidate struck to broad themes, weaving in an out of his American Dream narrative. He talked about school choice and reforming safety net programs to encourage people to work.

"This special place that we call home, it is worth saving," Rubio said. "And I want you to know something: Despite everything that is going wrong in our country today, I believe with all my heart that God is not done with America yet. I believe with all my heart that God still destines for us an even better future and the opportunity to continue to serve as an inspiration to the world."

Rubio did not talk about Obamacare or abortion, and passed up an opportunity to talk about immigration reform. No surprise there; the issue is deeply unpopular with conservatives. Still, Evangelical leaders are helping push the issue to the fore, arguing that it is a Christian issue to tackle.

Rubio followed Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, who loudly denounced the health care law, and Sen. Rand Paul. Ben Carson, the former surgeon and now popular conservative figure, said Obamacare is the "worst thing since slavery."

[Last modified: Friday, October 11, 2013 2:20pm]


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