Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

At CPAC, Sen. Marco Rubio presses for assertive U.S. foreign policy

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Sen. Marco Rubio called for an assertive U.S. foreign policy during a speech to conservative activists Thursday, sticking to a topic that has recently brought him new prominence and helped rebuild his image with the GOP base.

"Quite frankly, we would much rather just focus on our lives here," the Florida Republican said at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington, D.C. "But we cannot ignore the reality of who we are. We cannot ignore the global importance of this nation. And we cannot ignore the implications to our future if we fail to step up to this call."

Painting a grim picture of world developments from a more bullish China to rocket development in North Korea to unrest in Venezuela, Rubio said the United States has an obligation to remain engaged.

"There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the spread of totalitarianism," he said.

But Rubio, whose hawkish views stand in contrast to a resurgent isolationist strain in his party, added: "That doesn't mean that we're going to be involved in 15 wars, or that American foreign policy needs to involve armed conflict at every corner of the planet."

He mocked President Barack Obama, saying that the president thought he could shape global events "by the sheer force of his personality."

The well-received speech comes as Rubio, 42, has worked to recover from his involvement in comprehensive immigration reform. Conservatives turned against him last year and Rubio has distanced himself from the bill he helped write, focusing on other issues, including ideas aimed at the poor.

New challenges involving foreign policy have given Rubio the best footing. The violence in Venezuela and the crisis in Ukraine have allowed Rubio to strike a hawkish posture, and he has regained some standing with conservatives, who are searching for a standout presidential candidate in 2016.

"He's a key player, no doubt about it," said Thomas Novelly, 18, a student at Hillsdale College in Michigan, who attended the conference. "Every time I hear him, he makes me proud to be a conservative."

But Novelly, and his friend, Conner Dwinell, said they were disappointed with Rubio on immigration.

"It has the ability to rear its ugly head again," Dwinell said.

Rubio closed his speech by talking about his 2010 Senate race against Charlie Crist (who was mentioned by speakers several times Thursday, drawing requisite booing) and told of how his father, a Cuban immigrant who died of cancer during the election, represented the American dream.

In another time, Rubio would have used his family story as an argument for immigration reform. But he made no mention of the issue Thursday.

"I wish he wouldn't have gotten involved in immigration," said Kim Grant, 58, of Cincinnati, adding she teared up with Rubio's closing. "But let's face it: It's an issue. We can't judge them for taking a stand if they do it for the right reasons. I'm going to look at the whole picture."

At CPAC, Sen. Marco Rubio presses for assertive U.S. foreign policy 03/06/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 6, 2014 8:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Video: Loggerhead sea turtle found in Islamorada resident's pool

    Wildlife

    An adult female loggerhead sea turtle, discovered in an oceanside residential pool in Islamorada on Monday, has been rescued and released off the Florida Keys.

    An adult female loggerhead sea turtle, discovered in an oceanside residential pool in Islamorada on June 22, 2017, has been rescued and released off the Florida Keys. [Photo from video]

  2. What Wilson Ramos will mean to the Rays lineup, pitching

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer was stumping for all-star votes for Corey Dickerson during a live interview Wednesday morning on the MLB Network when he lifted the right earpiece on his headset and said, "I hear a buffalo coming."

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos (40) waves to the crowd after being presented with the Silver Slugger Award before the start of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.
  3. Deon Cain, Duke Dawson, Derrick Nnadi among SI's top 100 players

    Blogs

    Sports Illustrated's countdown of the top 100 players in college football continues with three more local players.

  4. She doesn't care if you accept her, as long as you respect her

    Human Interest

    Mary Jane Taylor finds strength walking quietly among the dead.

    Mary Jane Taylor,18, visits Oaklawn Cemetery in downtown Tampa when she is feeling low. "When I hit my low points in life I go the the graveyard," she says. "people are afraid of the graveyard. I love the graveyard." The transgender teen recently graduated from Jefferson High School. She is  enrolled in summer classes at Santa Fe College in Gainesville studying international business. She plans to transfer to the University of Florida, attend law school and become a civil rights lawyer. (JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   Times)
  5. Few new details in state investigation of Tarpon Springs officer-involved shooting of Nick Provenza

    Public Safety

    TARPON SPRINGS — An investigative report, released this week by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, into the officer-involved shooting that killed 25-year-old Nick Provenza included largely the same narrative prosecutors released this month that ruled the shooting a "justifiable homicide."

    Stopping while riding by on his bike Michael Prater, 15, hangs his head after looking at the memorial at Safford and Tarpon avenues for Nick Provenza, a 25-year-old who was shot and killed there during a car show Saturday by a Tarpon Springs police officer. Investigators said Provenza pulled a knife on the cop who shot him. Friends find it hard to believe a man they described as a peaceful vegan and musician would be capable of such an act. Prater didn't know the victim but was at the car show.