As Sen. Marco Rubio readies for a likely presidential bid, he is talking about how to take out the Islamic State (ISIS) and reform the tax code.
Appearing Monday on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto,"
the Florida Republican said the only way to take out the Islamic State group (ISIS) is to take out its inner core, and that means hitting them in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS is three-ringed, he said, with its core in Iraq and Syria. The second ring is in outlying places such as Libya, Afghanistan and in Nigeria, where Boko Haram has just pledged allegiance to the group.
The last ring is in the United States and Europe, where the group seeks to inspire lone-wolf attacks.
"The main thing you have to do is target the inner core, because without the inner core that second ring is irrelevant," Rubio told Cavuto.
The United States should use its position of leadership to pull together a Sunni ground force made up of Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis and other kingdoms to confront the Sunni terrorists of ISIS, he said. Otherwise, the Shias of Iran gain influence in the region, and a sectarian war continues even after ISIS is defeated.
The United States should contribute special operations forces on the ground and air support, Rubio said.
"I'm not arguing that the future for Iraq will be neat, but I can tell you that in the absence of some sort of an inclusive government in Iraq that has spaces for the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shia, you may see that country break apart or you may see it under the dominance of a Shia puppet state for Iran," he said.
Turning to domestic policy, Rubio focused on the tax plan he and Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee have put forth.
The plan essentially establishes two tax rates — 35 percent and 15 percent — with about 80 percent of Americans paying the lower rate, Rubio said.
"That's a tax cut for them," he said.
The plan also increases the per-child tax credit.
Cavuto pointed out that critics will say his plan helps the wealthy, since it removes capital gains taxes on individuals, a major source of income for the super rich.
"The majority of people who accuse me of that happen to be millionaires, and they're lecturing me," Rubio said.
He argues that his plan, which includes cutting corporate taxes to 25 percent, will bring money back from overseas and put it into the American economy to create jobs regardless of whether companies use the money to reinvest or spend it.
But he believes most will opt to expand their operations.
"We cannot fulfill our full potential if don't have a competitive tax code that makes America the best place in the world to invest and innovate," Rubio said.
Rubio also advocates for changes to Social Security and Medicare. He says those already collecting the benefits or who are close to retirement should not see changes, but those 55 and younger are going to see a difference in how the systems works.
He said he prefers changes be made now before the system is in crisis.
Turning to his possible run in 2016, Rubio said he will have enough money raised to be a serious contender should he decide to through his hat in the ring.
But he was complimentary of the field, which includes several governors and senators. Democrats, he said, have been unable to field even a single governor.
Asked whether President Barack Obama's time in the White House has hurt other senators who want to run, Rubio argued that his own career has been far more productive than Obama's was before he ran in 2008.
Obama was a "backbencher" in the Illinois state Senate, Rubio said, while Rubio's nine years in the Florida Legislature included a stint as speaker of the House.
Obama also served "two uneventful years" in the U.S. Senate, Rubio said, contrasting it with his own service on committees dealing with foreign policy and intelligence.
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