WASHINGTON — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will deliver the nationally televised Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday, a high-profile assignment adding to the 2016 presidential speculation around him.
The address will be delivered in English and Spanish, a first.
"I'm honored to have this opportunity to discuss how limited government and free enterprise have helped make my family's dreams come true in America," Rubio said in a statement. "Limited government and free enterprise are the very foundation of what makes America special and separates us from the world, particularly through our strong middle class. I look forward to laying out the Republican case of how our ideas can help people close the gap between their dreams and the opportunities to realize them."
Rubio, 41, won't likely go deep into immigration reform, an issue he finds himself at odds with among some in the GOP. "His speech will focus on the Republican Party's agenda to grow the middle class," his office said.
Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist, said on CNN that Rubio is an "outstanding choice" because he can push the GOP to the middle. (So far, the first-term lawmaker has made a home comfortably on the right.)
Republican commentator Alex Castellanos said Rubio could present fresh alternatives. "Republicans have had only one thing to say: No," he said, summing up the party response to Obama's tenure.