Florida’s Senator and rising GOP star Marco Rubio ripped President Obama for promoting a big government agenda in the official Republican rebuttal to the State of the Union.
Rubio began his speech talking about his parents’ story, a classic immigrant tale of moving to the United States and working hard to provide childrenwith a middle class upbringing. “This opportunity–to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life –it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington.” he said “It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business.”
“More government isn’t going to help you get ahead,” he said. “It’s going to hold you back.”
In a counter argument to Obama’s call to grow the economy from the middle class out, Rubio said, “Hard-working middle class Americans who don’t need us to come up with a plan to grow the government. They want a plan to grow the middle class.”
The lack of fresh ideas was evident in Rubio’s possible reference to the traditional (and largely discredited) GOP model of trickle-down economics: “Economic growth is the best way to help the middle class.”
One of the more memorable and awkward parts of the speech came as Rubio was criticizing the president over “false choices.” In the middle of the line, Rubio reached down to grab a bottle of water from which he quickly sipped.
The sip everyone’s still talking about vine.co/v/bv3jaZjtDDM
— PoliticsNation (@PoliticsNation) February 13, 2013
He then continued with his attacks on the president’s tax policy, saying, “We don’t have to raise taxes to avoid the president’s devastating cuts to our military.”
Rubio criticized the president for his “obsession” with raising taxes, complaining that “there’s no realistic tax increase that could lower our deficits by almost $4 trillion.” The president has pushed for a balanced plan to reduce the deficit that involves both spending cuts and closing tax loopholes.
In a speech that focused primarily on the economy, many topics remained untouched. Rubio mentioned immigration only three times, twice in reference to his own family and a third time in the context of the economy–but with no indication of how his party wants to change immigration policy.
He failed to explain his party’s policy on gun violence either, mentioning the “recent tragedy in Connecticut” and vowing to “deal with the rise of violence in our country” while protecting the second amendment, but never mentioning the word gun or firearm once.
Rubio did not point to or rebut any specific policies the president spoke of in his State of the Union, instead referencing long-standing GOP talking points on first term issues like Obamacare.
Check out Rev. Sharpton’s reaction to Rubio’s rebuttal. (Spoiler alert: the words “amateur hour” might apply.)