Saturday, December 16, 2017
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
CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

CDC gets list of forbidden words: ‘fetus,’ ‘transgender,’ ‘evidence-based’

Trump administration officials are forbidding officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases - including "fetus" and "transgender" - in any official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.Polic...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

Female congressional candidate leaves race after sexual harassment allegations resurface

A Democratic candidate hoping to flip a hotly contested congressional seat in Kansas has dropped out of the race after allegations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate resurfaced amid her campaign.Andrea Ramsey, 57, who was running to unseat...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a potential solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenter, and use voucher funds to attend a private s...
Published: 12/16/17
Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 9 hours ago
With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

With Rubio, Corker back on board, GOP speeds ahead with tax plan

WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers on Friday secured enough votes to pass the most sweeping tax overhaul in decades, putting them on the cusp of their first significant legislative victory this year as party leaders geared up to pass a $1.5 trillion t...
Published: 12/15/17
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Published: 12/15/17
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Published: 12/15/17
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Published: 12/15/17
The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

The meta-soap opera of Omarosa Manigault’s White House exit

WASHINGTON — As the spooling drama of Omarosa Manigault Newman’s White House departure spun into its 36th hour, Washington began asking itself: "Does it actually matter whether Omarosa quit or was fired?"Dumbest story ever," tweeted John Harwood, the...
Published: 12/15/17
Know your candidates: Florida State House | District 58

Know your candidates: Florida State House | District 58

A hard-fought Republican primary ended with the nomination of Lawrence McClure in October during a whirlwind special election cycle to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who is stepping down for health reasons. The GOP winner faces face three less wel...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17