Sen. Marco Rubio tells Newsmax.TV that President Barack Obama can’t run on his record and instead intends to “absolutely eviscerate” his Republican opponent before the November election.
The Florida Republican also predicts that Obama plans to pander to his extreme left base and seek to divide Americans along economic lines, asserts that the way to reduce the budget deficit is with more taxpayers instead of more taxes, and says the field of GOP presidential candidates is “underrated.”
Rubio was elected in 2010 in a three-way race that included then-Gov. Charlie Crist. Before that, Rubio was speaker of the Florida House, and he now is considered a key figure in the tea party movement.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV and chief Washington correspondent Ronald Kessler, Rubio comments on Obama’s call to raise taxes on wealthy Americans.
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“I think the president’s policies are wrong for America on a number of fronts,” Rubio says.
“First and foremost, I think the president’s made the deliberate decision that he wants to divide Americans against each other.
“He’s in search of 50 percent plus one. He’s counting electoral votes and he’s made the decision that the way to do that is number one, feed red meat to his base, the most extreme elements of his party on the left, and number two, to divide and pit Americans against each other, to convince people out there who are hurting. They’ve lost their jobs, they’ve lost their homes, they’re working harder and making less — that the reason those things are happening to them is because other people are doing too well, and to convince them to vote for him and give him the power to come in with government and fix that to equalize the playing field.
“The problem with that is that it has never worked anywhere in the world where they’ve tried it. In fact, people desperately flee countries that try that.”
If Obama is re-elected, “I think that’s the position he’ll be trapped into taking, because once you go down that road, it becomes almost impossible to make a U-turn and get out of it.
“If you look at the policies the president has pursued, they haven’t worked. This president does not want this election to be a referendum on the job he has done or on his record because if it is, he’s not going to win.
“President Obama inherited an economy that wasn’t doing well. Then his party took control of Congress. He got anything he wanted. What he wanted was the stimulus and Obamacare. They gave it to him and it made everything worse. He made it worse faster than any president has in American history, and now for the first time since World War II our debt is larger than our economy. So he can’t run on that.
“Instead, what you’re going to see is a campaign that’s going to do two things: absolutely eviscerate and smear on a personal level the people he’s running against, and, the second thing, is to run a campaign of dividing Americans against each other, trying to get 51 percent of Americans to buy into the notion that they’ll be better off if they give him the power to make other people worse off.
“What does work is the American free enterprise system, and the president seems to be making the argument that the American free enterprise system is not appropriate for the 21st century, that the things that made us prosperous and different from the rest of the world no longer function and we must embrace a stronger government.
“There are so many countries around the world that have that kind of system, and if that’s what you want to live under you should go over there.”
Asked what he would look for in the ideal GOP presidential candidate, Rubio says: “Most importantly, someone who can show a clear contrast in the direction they would take our country, someone who can make a compelling argument for why this president is taking us in the wrong direction and what a better direction would be instead. And if we can do that, Barack Obama is not going to be president in November of 2012.”
Rubio declines to name his favorite among the current Republican White House candidates, but he tells Newsmax: “All of these candidates bring particular strengths. The one thing I’ve been saying is that this field is underrated, and I think if you look at the candidates that remain, they are all so much better today than they were 12 months ago.
“I know it’s uncomfortable sometimes to go through heated primaries where some unfortunate things are said. But I think we’re going to have a stronger candidate because of it.
“And the stuff you are seeing today in the primaries is child’s play compared to the kind of negative attacks that we can expect from the left, the radical elements of the Democratic Party and the president’s own campaign apparatus, who have openly admitted that one of their campaign strategies is to personally disqualify whoever is the Republican nominee.
“So buckle in. It’s going to be quite a ride. But I’m confident we’re going to have a very strong nominee and a very compelling alternative to the direction that Barack Obama wants to take our country.”
Asked how the Republicans can attract more voters in the Hispanic community, Rubio, who is Cuban-American, responds: “Ultimately, Americans of Hispanic descent have the same hopes and dreams as the entire country, and there is no more prevalent feeling in America than the desire to accomplish your own dreams and to leave your children better off than yourselves. My parents were obsessed with this.”
Many of the Hispanics in America “came here from countries that have big government. They know firsthand that big government doesn’t work.
“In America, it doesn’t matter how poor you were when you were born. If you have a good idea and you’re willing to work hard, you can make it happen. That’s the argument we need to make in that community.”
On the immigration issue, Rubio says, “you start by saying we’re the pro-legal immigration party. We believe in legal immigration. But we can’t be the only country in the history of the world that doesn’t have immigration laws and doesn’t enforce them.”
Rubio says he does not support the proposed DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), which would grant permanent residency to some children who came to the United States with undocumented parents, because “it goes too far. With 11 million people you can’t grant blanket amnesty. If you do, you are encouraging illegal immigration in the future and being unfair to the millions of people who are waiting to do it the right way.”
Turning to the economy, Rubio says the “primary drivers” of the federal debt are in the Medicare program. “If we don’t do anything about Medicare, it’s going to go bankrupt. It’s the people like the president who have no plans to save Medicare. In fact, what they’re campaigning for is to bankrupt Medicare.”
Rubio points out that he supports a permanent ban on earmarks and is a co-sponsor of an amendment that would do that.
“And ultimately I’d like to see a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution,” he adds.
“The other thing we need is more revenue. But how do you get more revenue? The Democrats believe you get more revenue by raising taxes. I believe you get more revenue by having more taxpayers, more people working.”
Rubio still insists he is not interested in the vice-presidential post this year, noting: “I have consistently said I’m not going to be the vice president for a number of reasons.
“I understand being vice president is important, but the U.S. Senate is important, too. We need strong voices here to let people know that conservatism is not an ideology, it’s at the core of American exceptionalism. That’s what I want to be, one of those voices, and hopefully joined by a bunch of other voices in this election cycle that will allow us to have a majority so we can actually start turning some of those ideas into public policy.”
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