Sen. Marco Rubio, who will introduce presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention, tells Newsmax that the election is not just a choice between two parties but a choice about “what kind of country we want to have.”
The Florida Republican also outlines the party’s immigration stance, saying “we’re not going to deport” the 10 million illegal immigrants in America, but we’re not going to grant them amnesty either.
And he states that anyone who favors leaving Medicare the way it is “favors bankrupting it.”
Rubio was elected in 2010 in a three-way race that included then-Gov. Charlie Crist, and is considered a key figure in the tea party movement. His new book is “An American Son: A Memoir.”
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV in Tampa, Rubio discusses his big role at the GOP convention: introducing presumptive nominee Romney on Thursday night.
“It’s a great honor to do it, and to be able to do it in my home state is an even bigger honor,” he says.
Watch our exclusive interview. Story continues below.
“But two things I hope people will take away from it: The first is that Mitt Romney’s a special person. Putting politics aside for a second, whether you agree with him on the issues or not, as a father, as a husband, as a grandfather, as a member of his community and of his church, he’s been an extraordinary person and that needs to be understood and celebrated. It’s a role model for younger men like myself and others who are trying to balance work and family.
“The second thing I hope people understand is that this election, at the end of the day, is not just a choice between a Republican and a Democrat. It’s a choice between what kind of country we want to have. It’s a choice about what should government’s role be in our country, and two very different views of that.
“Barack Obama thinks prosperity is created when the government spends money and we believe, because of our history, that the way prosperity is created is when people take their own money and invest it in starting a new business or growing an existing one, and the job of government is to encourage them to do that and to make it easier for them to do that. That’s a big debate and that’s what we’re going to be having this campaign.”
Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, was asked what Romney needs to do to win over more Hispanic voters.
“First of all, on Hispanic voters, let me just say that their hopes and dreams are no different than those of the rest of the population — the desire to leave their children better off than themselves.
“It’s a story that I tell often because it’s my story. It’s the story of two parents who work jobs so that I can have a career, and the party and the political figures and the movement that does the better job of explaining to people why their ideas make that more possible is the one that’s going to win, especially in the long-term.
“And our argument is an easy one to make: The American free enterprise system, which we defend and the Democrats undermine, is the only economic system in the history of the world where dreams like the ones my parents had for me and millions of parents have for their children has ever been possible.
“So we probably need to do a better job of telling that story, but we don’t need to change our principles.”
Addressing President Obama’s plan to allow the children of undocumented parents to remain in the country, Rubio says: “As far as the deferred action on these kids, it’s not their fault that they’re here without documents and certainly most Americans would like to find a way to accommodate them, but do so in a way that doesn’t encourage illegal immigration and isn’t amnesty.
“The way the president did it, in addition to having constitutional problems, undermines the cause because, basically, what he’s done is politicize it.
"He’s once again injected politics into this issue and it’s clear why he did it. He’s going to try to use it to win an election in November as opposed to trying to solve a serious problem that our country has with illegal immigration, and a serious humanitarian problem that these kids have because they were brought here by their parents many years ago through no fault of their own.”
Asked how Republicans can deal with the 10 million undocumented people in this country, Rubio responds: “The first thing we need to remind everybody of is how generous America is on immigration. One million people a year immigrate legally to the United States. No other country even comes close.
“I would follow that up by saying that we are for legal immigration. The Republican Party is the pro-legal immigration party and Gov. Romney’s done a great job of outlining that.
“Look, we’re not going to grant amnesty to 10 million people. We’re not going to round up and deport 10 million people. The reasonable solution that exists is one that begins with enforcing the border, enforcing our laws, having a legal immigration system that’s modern and works, and if you do all of those things, then the issue of what to do with 10 million people becomes easier.
“It will never be easy but it becomes easier and that’s what Gov. Romney has consistently said.”
Medicare will be a huge issue in the campaign in Florida, a crucial swing state. Asked if he feels pressure to help Romney carry the state, Rubio tells Newsmax: “I’ll do everything I can to be helpful. For the people in Florida, this is not an election for judge — they’re going to vote for the president of the United States. They’re going to vote for the candidate they think speaks to their hopes, their dreams and their concerns.
“On the issue of Medicare, it’s one that I care a lot about. Three million people in Florida depend on Medicare. One of them is my mother. And anyone who’s in favor of leaving Medicare the way it is right now is in favor of bankrupting it.
“The only candidates, the only ticket that has a plan to save Medicare, a serious plan, is the ticket of Romney and Ryan. So that’s going to be a strong selling point for us.”
As for the Senate race in Florida between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and GOP challenger Connie Mack, which has become nasty, Rubio observes: “This is what happens in campaigns in the 21st century.
"At the end of the day, Connie offers a very exciting vision for the future. He’s someone I’ve known since our time together in the state legislature. He has a very good track record of being a strong conservative and he’s going to be a very strong candidate in November.”
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