Entries in Marco Rubio (83)


Rubio: President’s Inaction Has Led to ‘Worst Possible Scenario’ in Syria

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- During an exclusive interview on ABC’s This Week, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio criticized President Obama for not intervening sooner in Syria’s civil war, saying the inaction has led to the “worst possible scenario” in the war-torn country.

“It behooved us to kind of identify whether there was elements there within Syria fighting against Assad that we could work with, reasonable people that wouldn’t carry out human rights violations, and could be part of building a new Syria. We failed to do that. This president failed to do that,” Rubio told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

“The fact that it’s taken this White House and this president so long to get a clear and concise policy on Syria has left us with the worst possible scenario right now,” Rubio added.

“So now your options are quite limited. Now the strongest groups fighting against Assad, unfortunately, are al Qaeda-linked elements. That doesn’t mean that they all are, but it certainly — this group has become the most organized, the best armed, the best equipped. Our options are now really narrower than they were a few months ago,” he said.

The United States will provide arms to Syrian rebels after determining this week that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons. President Obama has said the use of such weapons would cross a “red line.

More than 90,000 people have died in Syria since March of 2011 according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, while the Obama administration estimates that 100 to 150 people have died from chemical weapons attacks in the country.

Rubio was also asked by Karl if he supported his own immigration bill, which he helped author with the “Gang of Eight” members in the Senate.

“Obviously I think it’s an excellent starting point and I think 95 — 96 percent of the bill is in perfect shape and ready to go,” Rubio said. “But there are elements that need to be improved,” citing the border security portion of the current bill.

The immigration bill currently in the Senate will need some Republican support in order to overcome a potential filibuster. Many in the GOP want to see the border security measures in the bill strengthened before they would consider supporting it.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio: Immigration Bill Doesn’t ‘Give’ Anything Away

Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Days before a bipartisan immigration bill is scheduled to be presented, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida argued Sunday morning on This Week that a key provision of the bill, the so-called “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented workers, would not give anything away and said it would in fact be cheaper for undocumented workers living in the U.S.  to become citizens if they left the country first and then applied for legal status.

“All we’ve done here is create an alternative to that that they can access, and the alternative we’ve created is going to be longer, more expensive and more difficult to navigate,” Rubio said. “It will actually be cheaper if they went back home, waited 10 years, and applied for a green card.  And so, secondly, we’ve not awarding anything.  All we’re giving people the opportunity to eventually do is gain access to the same legal immigration system, the same legal immigration process that will be available to everybody else.”

Rubio, who is seen as a key figure holding the bipartisan Senate group known as the “Gang of Eight” together, said that some of the undocumented workers currently in the country would not be eligible to seek legal status under the bill.

“I think it’s important to understand it does not give anything.  It allows people access to the legal immigration system,” Rubio said. “Number two, some people won’t qualify.  They haven’t been here long enough; they’ve committed very serious crimes.  They won’t be able to stay.  Number three is all people will get is an opportunity to apply for things, to apply for a legal status, which isn’t awarded on day one … The only thing you are earning here is an opportunity to apply for temporary status, and ultimately, potentially to apply for a green card, the way everybody else does.  And that’s the process that we are outlining.”

ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl also asked the Florida senator about the Senate vote Thursday that overcame a Republican filibuster to allow debate to proceed on possible gun legislation. Rubio slammed a plan being supported by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania that would expand background checks.

“Criminals don’t care about the laws that we pass with regards to guns.  They never follow the law.  That’s why they’re criminals,” Rubio said. “Look, here is the bottom line.  I think everyone is in favor of any law that could effectively keep criminals or dangerous people from getting access to guns.  The problem is that all these laws that people are discussing will not effectively deal with that problem, but will infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. And so, what we need to look for is a compromise that actually accomplishes that, that does not infringe or place additional burdens on law-abiding citizens, and in fact is effective at keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people, and that begins by enforcing it.”

Rubio went on to say that the country has missed a “golden opportunity” to discuss the problem of violence in our society.

“This debate about guns, we are missing a golden opportunity to have the real debate we should be having, and that is a debate about violence,” Rubio said. “Guns are what they’re using to commit the violence, but the problem is violence, and no one is focusing on why this society has become so violent, why young people in America are committing these horrifying acts, and we are missing a golden opportunity to discuss that, and not simply just focus on gun laws that only law-abiding people will follow.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio: Jay-Z Needs to Get Informed on Cuba

STR/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio Sunday morning slammed Jay-Z over his recent trip to Cuba, saying on This Week that the rapper needed to “get informed” and that he missed an opportunity to meet the politically oppressed people that live on the island nation south of Florida.

“I think Jay-Z needs to get informed.  One of his heroes is Che Guevara.  Che Guevara was a racist.  Che Guevara was a racist that wrote extensively about the superiority of white Europeans over people of African descent, so he should inform himself on the guy that he’s propping up,” Rubio said during an interview with ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.

“Secondly, I think if Jay-Z was truly interested in the true state of affairs in Cuba, he would have met people that are being oppressed, including a hip-hop artist in Cuba who is right now being oppressed and persecuted and is undergoing a hunger strike because of his political lyrics,” Rubio added. “And I think he missed an opportunity.  But that’s Jay-Z’s issue.”

After returning from Cuba last week, Jay-Z produced a new rap entitled “Open Letter,” in which he criticized politicians for questioning his trip with his wife Beyoncé to the communist nation. The trip was authorized by the Treasury Department under a licensed program that encourages “meaningful contacts” with the Cuban people.

Rubio, who is of Cuban descent, criticized current U.S. travel policy to the island, which he said was being run by a “tyrannical regime.”

“The bigger point is the travel policies.  The travel policies need to be tightened because they are being abused,” Rubio said. “These are tourist trips, and they are – what they’re doing is providing hard currency and funding so that a tyrannical regime can maintain its grip on the island of Cuba, and I think that’s wrong.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio, Rand Paul Are 'Perfect' Conservatives

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rand Paul may not be perfect together but they are perfect in the eyes of the American Conservative Union.

Rubio from Florida and Paul from Kentucky were given a "perfect 100 percent" score for their voting records, earning them the group's coveted "Defenders of Liberty" designation.

The American Conservative Union, which is sponsoring next month's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) featuring 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, based their ranking on lawmakers' votes regarding fiscal, foreign and social policies.

Rubio and Paul have both been mentioned as possible Republican standard bearers in 2016.  While Rubio has been coy about his long-range intentions, Paul has indicated he might seek the Republican nod.

On the other side of the scale, the American Conservative Union gave Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Al Franken of Minnesota and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a "zero percent" score, designating them as "true liberals."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama Calls Republican Senators on Immigration

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama made his first direct overture to Republicans on immigration Tuesday night, placing calls to the three key GOP players on the issue in the Senate:  John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Marco Rubio (Fla).

The calls followed a remark by Rubio calling a White House immigration plan that leaked over the weekend “half-baked and seriously flawed."

Rubio says he appreciated the call (though he may have been roused from bed to take it; he’s in Israel):

“Senator Rubio appreciated receiving President Obama’s phone call to discuss immigration reform late tonight in Jerusalem,” according to a statement from Rubio’s office. “The Senator told the President that he feels good about the ongoing negotiations in the Senate, and is hopeful the final product is something that can pass the Senate with strong bipartisan support.”

Earlier Tuesday, Rubio's office told reporters there had been no immigration policy discussion between the senator and the White House.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney disputed that, however.

"We have been in contact with everybody involved in this effort on Capitol Hill,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rubio Raises More Than $100,000 Off Water Bottle Incident

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has hauled in some serious cash since his water sipping moment Tuesday during the Republican response to the State of the Union.

Reclaim America, Rubio’s PAC, has raised more than $100,000 by selling more than 3,450 water bottles since Wednesday, a source close to Rubio confirmed to ABC News.  The white water bottles, which bear the name “RUBIO” in bright red letters, come with a minimum donation of $25.

“Send the liberal detractors a message that not only does Marco Rubio inspire you … he hydrates you too,” the donation request read.

Late night comedians have spoofed Rubio’s water sipping incident throughout the week, and “Saturday Night Live” was the latest to contribute to the line of water break jokes.

Rubio has made light of what some have dubbed his “Watergate” moment, and he told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Wednesday morning that the incident reminded him that he is not perfect.

“God has a funny way of reminding us we’re human,” Rubio said on Good Morning America.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rubio PAC Offering ‘Marco Rubio Water Bottle’

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Marco Rubio is turning his mis-timed mid-speech water sip during Tuesday night’s State of the Union Republican response into a fundraising tactic.

Rubio’s PAC, Reclaim America, is now offering a “Marco Rubio Water Bottle” that people can obtain by donating $25 or more to his PAC online.

“Send the liberal detractors a message that not only does Marco Rubio inspire you…he hydrates you too,” the donation request read.

The Florida Republican tweeted a call to purchase the white bottle bearing the name “RUBIO” in red on Wednesday night.

Quench your thirst for conservative leadership? Order a bottle now…#tcot #SOTU #gop

-- Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 14, 2013

Rubio quickly made light of the water grab, which some have dubbed his “Watergate,” by tweeting a photo of the water bottle in question after the speech Tuesday night. Rubio told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos Wednesday morning that the incident reminded him that he is not perfect.

“God has a funny way of reminding us we’re human,” Rubio said on Good Morning America.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sen. Marco Rubio Delivers GOP State of the Union Response

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. used the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday to challenge the president on how to best serve the middle class, arguing that the answer to alleviating the burdens on working class people is not through the president's "obsession" with taxes and spending but by supporting a free enterprise system.

“Tax increases can’t do this. Raising taxes won’t create private sector jobs. And there’s no realistic tax increase that could lower our deficits by almost $4 trillion. That’s why I hope the president will abandon his obsession with raising taxes and instead work with us to achieve real growth in our economy,” Rubio said from the Speaker of the House’s conference room in the U.S. Capitol.

READ the FULL TEXT of Sen. Rubio’s Republican Response

“The idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle class taxpayers -- that’s an old idea that’s failed every time it’s been tried,” said Rubio, 41. “More government isn’t going to help you get ahead.  It’s going to hold you back.  More government isn’t going to create more opportunities.  It’s going to limit them. And more government isn’t going to inspire new ideas, new businesses and new private sector jobs.  It’s going to create uncertainty.”

Rubio’s speech, the first ever bilingual response to the State of the Union, comes at a time when the Republican Party is struggling with how to appeal to a growing constituency, which it lost in last year’s election: Latinos.  Rubio, whose parents immigrated to the United States from Cuba in the 1950′s, is one of the most recognizable Hispanic figures in the Republican Party and is often floated as a potential presidential contender for 2016.

Rubio, who lives in the same Miami, Fla. neighborhood he was raised in, tried to link himself to working class people, saying it is their concerns he has in mind, not the interests of the rich.

“His favorite attack of all is that those who don’t agree with him -- that we only care about rich people,” Rubio said of the president. “Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren’t millionaires. They’re retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They’re workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They’re immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in the countries where the government dominated the economy.”

And these modest people in his neighborhood, argued Rubio, will actually be hurt if taxes rise and government spending isn’t cut.

“The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose will hurt middle class families,” he said of the president. “It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs. And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security,” Rubio said. “So Mr. President, I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.”

Rubio helped craft a bipartisan immigration plan which was introduced last month, but he only briefly mentioned immigration in his speech, saying a legal immigration system would benefit the economy.

“We can also help our economy grow if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world’s best and brightest. We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally. But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws.”

The Florida senator promoted the issues of school choice and access to affordable student loans while also pushing Republicans’ efforts to reform the Medicare system. But Rubio also noted that the power to enact change comes not from politicians but from the American people.

“Our strength has never come from the White House or the Capitol. It’s always come from our people. A people united by the American idea that, if you have a dream and you are willing to work hard, nothing should be impossible,” Rubio said.

Rubio rehearsed his speech Tuesday morning, as can be seen in these photos released by his office, but when it came to the actual delivery of the speech, Rubio hit a snafu.


In the middle of his speech, Rubio stopped speaking and reached off screen to grab a water bottle to take a drink. The Florida senator made light of the moment afterwards, tweeting out a photo of a small Poland Spring water bottle resembling the one he took a swig from in the middle of his speech.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio, Rand Paul to Respond to State of the Union Address

Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images | ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- It'll once again be the old one-two punch against President Obama following his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, considered one of the top contenders for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, will deliver the official Republican Party response.

Meanwhile, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a frequent outspoken critic of the administration, will give the "Tea Party response" from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

It'll be the third go-round for the Tea Party address, with Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain having delivered the previous two responses to Obama's annual speech.

As it happens, Paul has also indicated that he may seek the White House in 2016.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rep. Keith Ellison on GOP’s Softer Rhetoric: ‘Lipstick on a Pig’

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sunday morning on This Week, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., dismissed recent gestures by prominent members of  the GOP suggesting a softening of Republican positions as simply “lipstick on a pig.”

“I think all of this stuff is just surface stuff. It’s like lipstick on a pig,” Ellison said. “I mean, the bottom line is, the Republicans have a core values problem, not a ‘who knows who Tupac Shakur is’ problem.”

Ellison was responding to ABC News political analyst and contributor Nicolle Wallace, who praised Marco Rubio on the roundtable. The Florida senator is seen as a rising star in the GOP and a member of the party that could help Republicans win more Latino support. Rubio recently endorsed a bipartisan senate proposal aimed at reforming America’s immigration system.

Rubio also gave an interview to BuzzFeed this week where he spoke at length about the late hip hop star Tupac’s lyrics.

“He’s everything we need and more. He’s modern. He knows who Tupac is. He is on social media,” Wallace said. “I mean, he’s got the policy.  He’s in touch with, I think, the lives of ordinary people.  And he’s a very accessible guy.  He talks about being a working dad and juggling his own priorities.”  

On the larger issue of the future of the Republican Party, Rep. Tom Cole,R-Okla., expressed support for GOP introspection after Gov. Mitt Romney’s defeat in the 2012 presidential campaign.  He did however say “the idea that this is some existential crisis, I think, is really overdone right now.”

“When you lose an election, you ought to be a little bit reflective and you ought to think back and you ought to begin to say, what do we need to do to do differently?” Cole said. “So I don’t want to be stupid.  But you also need to be principled and consistent in your values, and I think we are.  And, you know, we’ll see what happens in the next year or two.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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