Sunday, June 24, 2018
Politics

Sen. Marco Rubio, in Tampa, says controversies have 'shaken' him

TAMPA — Sen. Marco Rubio's efforts to reform immigration may be drawing skepticism from many conservatives. But scandals facing the White House have allowed him to shift his message back to the one that made him a star in the first place: The threat to America posed by excessive government.

Rubio captivated more than 700 people at the Hillsborough GOP's annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday night with a familiar speech that resonated more strongly than ever amid revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups, the U.S. Department of Justice spied on Associated Press reporters, and administration staff carefully calibrated their explanations of the Benghazi attack.

"What we've seen in the last seven or eight days have really shaken me," Rubio said. "History teaches us that when government is too large and too powerful, no matter who's in charge, it will lead to abuses."

He alluded to the IRS, AP and Benghazi controversies, but in a departure from his recent blistering public criticism of the Obama administration and IRS, Rubio spoke mostly in broad strokes about the unique nature of America and how no one should take it for granted.

He said the Obama administration "created a culture of politics that led to this" by demonizing people with whom it disagrees, painting them as not just wrong but bad.

"When you create that culture in your government, it's going to impact the people that work in it," Rubio said.

Florida's junior senator has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of the administration over the IRS controversy. That message has helped him shift attention, at least temporarily, away from immigration reform, something that had damaged his image with some conservatives.

Rubio told guests at the Hillsborough GOP dinner he had intended to discuss immigration at length, but decided to shift gears given the recent developments in Washington.

The speech differed little from his standard 2010 stump speech, when he defied the odds to win his U.S. Senate seat and in the process knock Gov. Charlie Crist out of the Republican Party.

The audience loved it nonetheless.

"We are watching the growth of the greatest messenger that American exceptionalism has ever known," said Hillsborough Republican Chairman and state Sen. Tom Lee.

"Marco is moving from being a Republican leader to an American leader," gushed Republican consultant Adam Goodman of Tampa.

Adam C. Smith can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six local candidates across Tampa Bay — all county commissioners and city council members — effectively won their elections Friday by default: No one qualified to run against them.The rest still have a fight.Some will square off in an Aug. 28 primary...
Published: 06/22/18
Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

TAMPA — A Democrat has officially joined the race for Hillsborough County sheriff.Gary Pruitt, a 50-year-old former Tampa police corporal who now works as director of security at a local mall, qualified Friday to challenge Republican Sheriff Chad Chr...
Published: 06/22/18
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

Hotel renovator approved by council to restore New Port Richey’s Hacienda Hotel

NEW PORT RICHEY — A seasoned historic hotel renovator and operator is going to take a crack at getting New Port Richey’s city-owned Hacienda Hotel back into action. New Port Richey City Council members, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, u...
Published: 06/20/18
Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

Pope Francis criticizes Trump’s family-separation policy on migrants, says ‘populism is not the solution’

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis stepped into a growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, criticizing the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border and saying that "populism" and "creating psychosis" are not t...
Published: 06/20/18
Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Raburn out in State House 57 race. Now who’s in?

Well, that didn’t last long.U.S. Army veteran Michael Sean McCoy filed to run as the Republican candidate in the State House, District 57 race just hours after incumbent State Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, announced he was stepping down.McCoy, who live...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Published: 06/19/18
‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

‘Don’t leave me, Mom’: Detainee tells of separation from son

SEATTLE — The call came at mealtime — an anonymous threat demanding $5,000 or her son’s life. So Blanca Orantes-Lopez, her 8-year-old boy and his father packed up and left the Pacific surfing town of Puerto La Libertad in El Salvador and headed for t...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

Trump defiant as border crisis escalates, prepares to lobby House GOP on immigration bills

WASHINGTON - As he prepared to visit Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued to insist that Congress produce comprehensive immigration legislation, while anxious Republicans explored a narrower fix to the administration policy of se...
Published: 06/19/18
Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

Trump, GOP to huddle as outrage builds over border policy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill for the Trump administration to end the separation of families at the southern border ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss legislation.Trump’s meeting late Tuesday afternoon with...
Published: 06/19/18