Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Election 2010 | rubio | crist | reid | hispanic | immigration

Rubio Slams Reid Over Hispanic Remarks

By John Rossomando   |   Monday, 16 Aug 2010 04:16 PM

Democrats can’t win on the issues, so they resort to class and racial politics, says Marco Rubio, the GOP’s presumptive nominee for U.S. Senate from Florida.

During an exclusive Newsmax interview, Rubio upbraided Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for his recent comment that he does not “know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican.”

“It’s part of a concerted effort to get away from the issues and get into identity politics because they can’t win on the issues,” says Rubio, whose parents and grandparents came to the United States from Cuba. “So they want things to be about things like class warfare and identity politics."

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“It’s very simple: The dominant issue in the Hispanic community and with the American people is economic empowerment — people want to leave their children better off than themselves.”

The Democrats’ policies thwart that desire, says Rubio, who is running neck and neck with Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist in the see-saw Senate race just days before the Aug. 24 primary.

Growing dissatisfaction with the Obama agenda and support from the tea party juggernaut pushed Rubio from being an unknown into national prominence. His momentum led to Crist’s decision to bolt the GOP and run as an independent.

Rubio, former speaker of the Florida House, contends that Crist represents the Obama agenda, which he says is why Democrats such as high-powered fundraiser Mark Penn decided to raise money for the governor.

“Having Obama operatives supporting him is a clear indication [that] what they care about is holding onto power,” Rubio says. “They’ve tried forever to implement their ideas about what they want America to be, and this is their last chance to do it in their minds to preserve that, and I think Charlie Crist is part of that strategy.”

Regarding the volatile issue of illegal immigration, Rubio has shied away from endorsing a proposed Florida law that would go further than Arizona’s controversial law by imposing a 20-day jail sentence on immigrants who travel without proper documentation.

“Had the federal government done its job, there wouldn’t have been an Arizona law,” Rubio says. “I want Arizona not to serve as a model for the other states, but as a wakeup call to the federal government to finally do its job.”

Improving border security will stem the tide of illegal immigration and make measures such as repealing the 14th Amendment’s grant of birthright citizenship to the children of illegals unnecessary, he says.

Border security should be followed by a comprehensive reform of the nation’s immigration laws to allow for things such as a guest worker program, Rubio says.

The GOP candidate made headlines in Florida last week when he called for the repeal of the healthcare reform law during an address to the Florida Health Association.

He has devised a 10-point campaign platform calling to replace Obama’s healthcare plan with several new measures. These include allowing consumers to shop for health insurance across state lines, tort reform, and establishing electronic medical records among others.

“Each of these things will allow us to insure a lot more people for a lot less money,” Rubio says.

As for weighing in on another contentious Florida contest, Rubio declined comment When Newsmax.TV asked whom he favors in the gubernatorial race between Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and businessman Rick Scott.

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