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Rubio to Newsmax: 'Long List' of Conservatives Were Targeted by Obama, IRS

By Melanie Batley and John Bachman   |   Thursday, 16 May 2013 02:02 PM

Sen. Marco Rubio says the mushrooming controversies surrounding the Obama administration reflect a "culture of intimidation" created by President Barack Obama.

In an exclusive interview Thursday with Newsmax TV, the Florida Republican explained: "You have a president and an administration and a political apparatus around him that has decided the way to win the political battles of the day is to destroy your political opponents, to basically impugn their motives, to talk bad about them, to convince people that they're bad people, and that they're doing things for bad reasons."

That take-no-prisoners attitude, he said, "permeates throughout their entire organization."

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On Thursday, the president said he had no warning about an inspector general's report on the Internal Revenue Service's selective scrutiny of small-government advocacy groups. The report details how IRS staffers targeted for scrutiny conservative groups that had applied for nonprofit status. News reports have detailed that liberal and progressive groups often got a pass.

Obama stressed during a news conference that "whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, you should be outraged."

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But Rubio believes the IRS scandal is only the tip of the iceberg. He highlighted the recent revelation that a Romney donor became the subject of two IRS audits just weeks after the Obama campaign publicly attacked him. He added that there are "everyday Americans who were simply exercising their constitutional rights to participate in the political process" who were targeted for their views by a range of government departments.

Rubio also cited a National Labor Relations Board decision against Boeing.

"That's the culture of intimidation that permeates throughout this administration and that trickles down to these agencies. We have a long list of people that say the EPA is targeting them, the National Labor Relations Board is targeting them, the IRS we know is targeting them, the Labor Department is targeting them.

"When you have a White House that's all about politics, all about demonizing your opponents, this is what you're going to get from the people that work underneath you," he added.

Rubio said the scandals have undermined people's fundamental trust in government, a problem, he argued, which could stall progress on other big issues, such as proposals for immigration reform currently being debated in Congress. Rubio is part of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" in the Senate pushing the immigration reform package.

Rubio says his efforts are being undermined by the IRS debacle and other scandals surrounding the administration.

"In the last few days we've seen not one but two Democrats in the Senate come forward who say they're not voting for the [immigration] bill unless the border security measures are stronger, and so what that tells you is that people just don't trust the federal government to secure the border.

"They want it ironclad, and of course, when you see stories about the IRS and the government subpoenaing the records of The Associated Press and things like that, it further undermines people's trust in the government."

Rubio, a proponent of establishing a path to citizenship for the nation's 11 million undocumented workers, said that despite the disputed claims by the Heritage Foundation about the costs of immigration reform, the bill before the Senate will not cost the government anything.

"I can tell you that the bill that we have will actually not cost the government any money, but, in fact, help the economy grow and save us money."

He said there are costs to keeping the current system in place, and that some of the costs identified by the Heritage study would exist with or without immigration reform.

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"One of the costs, for example, that are built into the Heritage study is 4.5 million U.S. citizen children born to folks who are here illegally. They're going to be here with or without immigration reform," Rubio said. "They're entitled to whatever a U.S. citizen is entitled to."

"On the other hand, we know that these folks, about 40 to 50 percent of the people illegally here, are not paying Social Security and Medicare taxes. If we pass immigration reform, they will be paying Social Security and Medicare taxes, but they won't be allowed to take anything out of the federal government. So there's a cost right there. That runs in the hundreds of billions."

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Sen. Marco Rubio says the mushrooming controversies surrounding the Obama administration reflect a "culture of intimidation" created by President Barack Obama.

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