In an attempt to reclaim Republican support following a deep party divide over immigration reform, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is attempting to reshape his image to that of a policy wonk, Bloomberg Businessweek
The tea party, which helped propel Rubio from anonymity to the junior U.S. senator in the fourth most populous state, turned on him when he supported amnesty to illegal immigrants, according to Businessweek.
So he's taking a different tack, the magazine said, and has "recast himself as a policy wonk."
He's begun delivering speeches filled with fine points and particulars, Businessweek said, such as one at Google Inc.'s Washington offices this month where he suggested "auctioning off 200 megahertz of government wireless spectrum to corporations; constructing an interstate energy pipeline system; promoting cooperation between the private sector and NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Defense to commercialize public research; thwarting United Nations efforts to regulate the Internet through legislation he'll soon introduce."
The New York Times
said that Rubio wants to be seen as a foreign policy expert by highlighting his more hawkish views with current tea party favorite Rand Paul.
"There are forces within our party, there have always been in American politics, that basically say, 'Who cares what happens everywhere else? Just mind our own business,'" Rubio told The Times. "There are consequences and repercussions" to such an outlook.
According to Businessweek, Rubio isn't narrowing his expertise to foreign policy. He is tackling issues such as the War on Poverty and education reform with ideas such as:
• Consolidating dozens of federal programs into a single agency to handle federal disbursements to states;
• Creating federal wage subsidies for the working poor;
• Offering accreditation for free online college courses;
• Allowing private investors to finance students' tuition in exchange for a portion of their future income.
If Rubio stays on track, he will return to favored status within the GOP, Townhall Managing Editor Conn Carroll told The Times.
"As long as he stays away from immigration he'll be a force in 2016," Carroll said.
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