Rubio tapped to deliver GOP SOTU response
The media is going to accuse Republicans of shamelessly catering to Hispanics by choosing Florida Senator Marco Rubio to deliver the GOP response to the president's State of the Union address.
They're right, of course. The problem is the double standard - the press never calls out the Democrats when they shamelessly pander to minorities.
Identity politics is a fact of life, but Rubio brings a little more to the table than just his ethnic heritage. He's smart, committed, and can communicate with the voters. I'm sure just about anyone with a passing interest in Republican party politics - the Tea Party and Karl Rove included - are anxious to see how Rubio does.
Rubio's response will be delivered in both English and Spanish, according to Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office.
"Marco Rubio is one of our party's most dynamic and inspiring leaders. He carries our party's banner of freedom, opportunity and prosperity in a way few others can. His family's story is a testament to the promise and greatness of America," Boehner said in a statement on Wednesday.
"He'll deliver a GOP address that speaks from the heart to the hopes and dreams of the middle class; to our party's commitment to life and liberty; and to the unlimited potential of America when government is limited and effective," added Boehner.
Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, said he would discuss limited government in his response.
"I'm honored to have this opportunity to discuss how limited government and free enterprise have helped make my family's dreams come true in America," said Rubio.
According to a Rubio aide, the response will focus on policies to aid the middle class. The Cuban-American lawmaker is also likely to discuss immigration.
"It's worth noting that his speech will focus on the Republican Party's agenda to grow the middle class," the aide said. "Immigration will likely be mentioned as one way to grow the economy, but the speech really is about the Republican Party's commitment to limited government as the best way to help the middle class, and how it differs from the president's plans for bigger government."
Rubio's selection to deliver the GOP response is the latest sign of the freshman senator's increasing prominence within the Republican Party. The junior senator is viewed as key to attracting more Hispanic voters to the GOP and is at the center of speculation as a potential 2016 presidential contender.
Here's video of Rubio at the convention.
It was a good speech, not great, and he seemed to connect with the audience of Republicans. But recall Bobby Jindal who had a similar turn in responding to President Obama's 2009 SOTU address and made a painfull national debut. The speech wasn't too bad, but Jindal's halting, uncertain delivery overshadowed any substance contained in the address. The fact is, he was a bust and it took several years for him to recover.
No such failings are expected from Rubio who is taking a prominent role in the immigration reform debate and is increasingly seen as a solid party leader. For a freshman Senator, he has risen quickly. This SOTU response should cement his position as an up and comer for 2016.