U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is a rising star on foreign policy issues, according to some of the most formidable foreign policy experts on both sides of the aisle in the Senate.
In a lengthy profile of his foreign policy acumen in the Miami Herald,
Rubio was complimented by fellow Senate workhorses like Joe Lieberman and John Kerry. They praised what was described as Rubio's mastery of issues confronting the United States around the world, from the Middle East to the Caribbean.
Rubio travelled to Tripoli in September, before dictator Moammar Gadhafi was killed, with Sens. John McCain and Lieberman. They also accompanied Rubio in February to Munich and Spain, where they met Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey.
“When it got to Marco he began engaging in conversation with the prime minister in Spanish,” Lieberman told the Herald. “I was impressed.”
“Months later, in April, Lieberman introduced Rubio in his foreign-policy coming-out speech at the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution — a perfect forum for the freshman senator to stoke speculation about a vice-presidential bid, while showcasing his foreign policy chops and his bipartisan bonafides,” the Herald reported.
Lieberman said he was blown away by Rubio’s ability to opine thoughtfully on affairs from Haiti to Iran to Afghanistan.
“This wasn’t someone just reading a speech,” he said. “He knew the subject matter.”
Lieberman said he sees Rubio rapidly becoming part of a new “deep bench” of foreign policy experts in the Republican caucus, especially after it lost Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar, who was just ousted in a primary tea-party rout. Lieberman said Rubio is “unique.”
After the Brookings speech, Rubio joined with Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania to author a resolution condemning the atrocities in Syria. Rubio, Lieberman said, helped overcome Republican objections. Case said in a written statement that he was happy with the “bipartisan effort” against Syria and Iran.
“While we disagree on many issues,” Casey, a fellow foreign relations committee member, said, “he has welcomed the opportunity to work together in a bipartisan way on these critical national security issues.”
Kerry, meanwhile, was no less effusive.
“I’ve been impressed by his thinking — doing the homework necessary to earn the credibility with respect to your approach to things. I think that’s constructive,” Kerry said.
“A lot of the colleagues around here, obviously, are interested in substance and interested in people who do the work and are not impressed by people who are prone to play the political end of something and hold a press conference and not do the work,” Kerry said.
“They want to see someone buckle down and learn the ropes. And I think he’s clearly been doing that in a very positive way.”
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