Sen. Marco Rubio says the recent scandals in Washington, D.C. have left him "shaken."
"History teaches us that when government is too large and too powerful, no matter who's in charge, it will lead to abuses," Rubio, R-Fla., said during a GOP event in Tampa on Saturday.
The speech was a return to the warnings against government excess that marked Rubio's successful campaign for Senate, the Tampa Bay Times noted.
The freshman senator has been a GOP darling, but his reputation with the base has taken hits in the past few weeks as he joined the Gang of 8 Senators – four Republicans and four Democrats – pushing for immigration reform.
Rubio spoke about the three controversies bedeviling the White House the past two weeks: the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups, the Department of Justice's looking at Associated Press reporters' phone records and the Obama administration working to craft an explanation for the Benghazi attack.
Rubio accused the White House of creating "a culture of politics that led to this." The administration demonizes people who disagree with it, he said.
Rubio told the crowd of 700 that he had intended to discuss immigration, but decided to focus instead on the recent developments in D.C. The Times said his words differed little from his stump speech, but still was popular with the crowd.
"We are watching the growth of the greatest messenger that American exceptionalism has ever known," Hillsborough Republican Chairman and state Sen. Tom Lee told the Times.
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