Entries in Marco Rubio (4)


Rubio, McCain Criticize Administration’s Calling Libya Attack â€˜Spontaneous'

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Republicans said that the White House’s delay in calling the assault on the consulate in Libya an act of terrorism set back efforts to truly confront the attack.

“On Sunday, to hear Ambassador Rice talk about how somehow this was all the result of a YouTube video, I think that is increasingly being debunked, and quite frankly I think that sets us back in our efforts to confront what this really is about,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said to cameras, referring to Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Rubio’s comments came after the full Senate received a one-hour briefing on the attack in Benghazi from Secretary of State Clinton Thursday evening.

The administration has said -- repeated as recently as Sunday -- the attack was a spontaneous reaction to the protests over the anti-Muslim video. But for the first time Thursday White House press secretary Jay Carney publicly characterized the deadly assault a “terrorist attack.”

“It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,”  Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Florida. “Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that’s self-evident.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Thursday said he is “stunned” that the administration ever thought the attack was spontaneous.

“It shows the level of -- abysmal level of their knowledge about fundamental aspects of terrorist attacks and militant operations which had mortars, heavy equipment and rocket-propelled grenades, not exactly a spontaneous demonstration.”

McCain said that he “learned nothing” from the briefing by Clinton Thursday and still has many more questions for the administration.

“Why is it that we believe that this video is a problem?” McCain asked, ticking through his questions for the Obama administration. “What was the security of the embassy? Are there al Qaeda elements involved? Was this organization that’s been reported to be operating in Benghazi al Qaeda-affiliated and involved in the attack? There are 20 more questions that I have.”

The House of Representatives received a similar briefing from Clinton Thursday as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Marco Rubio Warns of Failure in Iranian Nuclear Talks

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Marco Rubio, R- Fla., predicted Thursday that nuclear talks with Iran ultimately will fail and said he would sanction a military strike before tolerating a nuclear Iran, warning that the United States should begin to prepare the country for that situation.

“This is nothing but a stall tactic and I wish I was wrong, to the depths of my heart I wish that I was wrong,” Rubio said of the talks during an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.  “You would have to be blind not to see what’s happening here.  This is nothing but a delay tactic and a stall tactic, and they now openly brag about their ability to move the red lines.”

“Sadly, I believe everything else probably will fail, certainly the negotiation component,” Rubio said. “Then we have to ask ourselves are we prepared to live with a nuclear Iran and what that means for the region and for the world.  And I think, universally, not just in the United States but almost any society in the world the answer to that question is ‘no.’  Then at that point there’s only one country in the world that can do anything about it, and that’s us.”

A round of talks between Iran and a six-nation group, including the United States, ended in Baghdad last week with an agreement to continue negotiations in Moscow from June 18-19.

Rubio stressed that the United States should not sugar coat the situation with Iran and be upfront with the country about the potential for failed negotiations and what actions the United States may have to pursue in response.

“I think we need to begin to prepare the people of the country and the people of the world to the reality that negotiations are probably not going to work and ultimately sanctions may not work,” Rubio said. “I don’t want to come across as some saber-rattling person because I am not, but I think I am in line with what the administration has said, which is ultimately military options may be necessary if everything else fails.  And by the way, everything else should fail before we get to that stage.”

Rubio said he could not envision what a strike would embody but argued that the decision would be left to the commander-in-chief and military planners.

“Well, I’m not a military planner and I certainly wouldn’t pretend to be one so I can’t tell you logistically what a military strike would look like,” Rubio said. “I’m not rooting for that.  I am hoping that sanctions would embolden, that there’s somebody in that government that’s saying, ‘Guys, we don’t have to do this, there’s a different way for us to be influential in the region and the world and having a weapon doesn’t necessarily have to be the outcome.'"

In regard to Syria, Rubio said the loss of President Bashar al-Assad would be “devastating” to the regional ambitions of Iran and argued that the United States must be more aggressive in its efforts to remove him.

“I think there’s no doubt that he can no longer be there, and now the question is ‘What is America’s role in hastening that and making that happen?’” Rubio said.  “I do believe that there are things we should have done in the past that weren’t done that would have perhaps accelerated the downfall of Assad. But I’m also understanding that there’s no point in looking back. I mean it’s time to act now.”

Rubio expanded the conversation beyond just the Middle East.  The Florida senator said the United States plays a role in speaking out on behalf of liberty and defending human rights in countries like China, but also advised that despite differing on these issues, the United States will have to work with China in the future in order to maintain peace in the world.

Rubio repeatedly categorized foreign policy as a “bipartisan” issue and said it is not a topic that is “always neatly Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal.”

Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has tried to elevate his foreign policy gravitas in recent months.  He traveled to Colombia last month for the Summit of the Americas, which was also attended by President Obama, and delivered a red-meat foreign policy speech to the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Earlier this week, he toured the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, his first ever trip to the island from which his parents emigrated in 1956.

While he maintains one of the heaviest schedules of any VP contender, fueling speculation about his ambitions, Rubio has refused to answer recent questions about whether he would like to join Mitt Romney on the GOP ticket this year. Rubio skirted around the question when it arose Thursday afternoon.

“How does Vice President Rubio sound to you?” Time managing editor Richard Stengel, who moderated the event, asked.

“It doesn’t,” Rubio responded.

“It has kind of a ring to it,” Stengel said.

“No, and I appreciate you trying to work that in there,” Rubio said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio 


Bipartisan Group of Senators Push for Chen Guangcheng's Safety

State Department photo/ Public Domain(WASHINGTON) -- In a letter written directly to Chinese President Hu Jintao, a bipartisan group of five senators urges the Chinese government to take steps to protect the safety and well-being of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, his family and associates. Guangcheng captured international headlines earlier this month after escaping house arrest and seeking refuge at the U.S. embassy in Beijing.
“We strongly urge your government to take all necessary measures to cease the harassment of Mr. Chen, his relatives and associates,” the letter says, “and to guarantee their safety and security while respecting their right to travel freely within and outside China.”
The letter was penned by Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Jim DeMint, R-S.C., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

[View the full text of the signed letter, sent to President Hu Jintao Tuesday, here.]

But, Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential contender to be Romney’s vice president candidate, took the lead, his office says -- a move potentially intended to beef up the junior senator’s foreign policy chops and leadership in the Senate.
Rubio argued earlier this month on Fox News Sunday that the incident shows the administration’s “unwillingness to forcefully assert America’s values.”
“This crisis is a reminder of what we’re dealing with in China, and we hope that there are reformers in that government that are pushing for a more open system, but what we know for a fact we’re dealing with now are people who are paranoid and are control freaks in a totalitarian system,” he said earlier this month.
Earlier Tuesday, Guangcheng called into a congressional hearing Tuesday to tell the American people, “I am not a hero.”

It’s the second time that Chen, who was arrested in 2005 for condemning China’s one child per couple law, has called into a hearing in the past two weeks after he phoned into a Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing May 3.

“I want to extend my gratitude and thankfulness to all those who care and love my family and myself, and our situation, especially the American people who show their care about the quality of justice as a universal value and I’m very grateful to all of you,” Chen, 41, said on the call Tuesday. “I am not a hero. I’m just doing what my conscience asks me to do. I cannot be silent when facing these evils against women and children.”

After hiding out in the U.S. embassy for a few days, Chen eventually sought medical treatment at Chaoyang Hospital in Beijing after being told that Chinese officials would have killed his wife if he had remained at the embassy.

Chen is still awaiting an exit permit to study in the United States after accepting an invitation from New York University. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that visas for Chen and his family have already been approved and the hang-up is apparently in the hands of the Chinese.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Libyan Revolution Hailed by Four Visiting GOP Senators

ABC News(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- A quartet of Republican Senators visited Tripoli Thursday to meet with members of the Transitional National Council, the new leaders of Libya.

Speaking for the group, Arizona Sen. John McCain told reporters, "The Libyan people have inspired the world....We believe strongly that the people of Libya today are inspiring the people in Tehran, in Damascus and even in Beijing and Moscow."

McCain, who was in Libya's capital with Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Marco Rubio of Florida, also held talks with Libya's military commanders, who are directing rebels in their fight against forces still loyal to ousted dictator, Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

While the TNC now virtually controls nearly all of Libya, McCain also spoke of another serious crisis -- that of thousands of unaccounted pieces of Gadhafi's arsenal that include conventional and biological and chemical weapons.

The Arizona lawmaker, who supported U.S. and NATO efforts to back the rebels, said, "It's essential to continue working together to secure the many weapons and dangerous materials that the Gadhafi regime proliferated around this country."

McCain asserted that more is being done to find these arsenals before they wind up in the hands of Gadhafi's forces or Islamic militants who could transport them to other countries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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