Florida Sen. Marco Rubio made a strong case for American military might in a sweeping speech Monday at the University of Louisville that was in stark contrast to fellow GOP Sen. Rand Paul’s own views on America’s role abroad.
Rubio, speaking in Kentucky on Paul’s home turf, insisted the United States cannot “retreat” from conflicts overseas and must continue to spend money to boost the nation’s image around the world, Politico reported.
His comments came, Politico noted, at the same time Paul has been trying to reduce federal spending on foreign aid while pushing for a “less aggressive” U.S. role internationally.
Both men, considered potential rivals in the 2016 presidential race, have been vocal in laying out their political visions for the country and the GOP. While Paul has called for clamping down on foreign aid at a time when Washington faces a huge budget deficit, Rubio told his Kentucky audience that “the alternative to U.S. [engagement] on the global stage is chaos,” Politico reported.
“Every single time this nation has retreated from the world, we have paid for it in the long run,” added Rubio. “We have paid for it dearly.”
The Florida senator was in the Bluegrass State as part of a lecture series sponsored by the university’s McConnell Center, named after college alum and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Republican leader was at Rubio’s speech and Rubio reportedly attended a top-dollar fundraiser for McConnell, who is expected to face a contentious re-election bid in 2014.
But Rubio’s remarks carried the tones of a campaign stump speech, as he addressed issues ranging from lower taxes and fewer regulations to immigration reform and student loans. One thing he did not discuss directly, though, was a possible White House run.
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