Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio launched his 2016 presidential bid Tuesday night by giving the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address. Unfortunately for Rubio, the speech will be remembered for what has been dubbed by social media as “Watergate” rather than for the speech itself.
Midway through the speech, Rubio reached for a bottle of water and took a drink. The bottle was too far away causing Rubio to make an awkward reach. He looked foolish and Tweeted after the speech that he was giving up Poland Springs for Lent
Rubio looked more foolish for what he said. It seemed like he did not listen to the president’s address he was responding to. Since Rubio failed to make the GOP case, Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor were forced to give yet another response Wednesday morning.
Rubio talks about himself
As was the case with Governor Bobby Jindal’s response a few years ago, Rubio’s speech was more about him than the Republican Party. His comments were focused on attacks on President Obama not the Republican vision for the nation.
Rubio used the spotlight to contrast himself with Mitt Romney. He defined himself as the son of poor immigrants. He said his dad worked as a bartender and his mother as a cashier just to “make it into the middle class.” He said he inherited nothing and bragged that he still lives in the “middle class neighborhood” in which he was born. “My neighbors are not millionaires” he said.
Rubio’s “big government” charge off base
There is evidence that Rubio delivered a speech written long before the actual address. For example, the bedrock of his response was an attack on the president over the size of government even thought Obama did not call for bigger government.
President Obama: “The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem... It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”
Rubio: “But President Obama?...he believes...the economic downturn happened because our government didn't tax enough, spend enough and control enough. And, therefore, as you heard tonight, his solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more. This idea - that our problems were caused by a government that was too small - it's just not true.”
Rubio’s charge is not true either.
Rubio’s charge on energy proves he did not hear the speech
Rubio blasted the president on energy while saying the same thing the president said. He didn’t listen to the speech.
President Obama: “We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. ... the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. That’s why my Administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.”
Rubio: “But God also blessed America with abundant coal, oil and natural gas. Instead of wasting more taxpayer money on so-called "clean energy" companies like Solyndra, let's open up more federal lands for safe and responsible exploration... And let's reform our energy regulations so that they're reasonable and based on common sense.”
Rubio blasts “big government” then praised government programs
Rubio recited Republican talking points on big government acting as though it was an invention of President Obama. Government grew less under Obama than under Reagan or Bush.
Rubio cited a long list of government programs he and his family took advantage of to “make it in to the middle class.” Apparently Rubio is for government programs if they benefit him, but he opposes them for everyone else.
Rubio said that he used federal student loans to get a college education. He said that his parents depended on Social Security and Medicare to enjoy their retirement without being thrown into poverty. The Tea Party Senator made a point on how a good education helped him, but then he blasted the spending required for good schools.
Had Rubio actually listened to the speech and rebutted the policies the president proposed it might have been more effective. Instead, it was seen by most viewers as a rerun of the Romney plan that was rejected in November. So, Rubio will be known for the “reach,” not reaching Americans.
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