Sen. Marco Rubio is launching a new campaign to fight against poverty in an attempt to shift the focus from his role in immigration reform last year.
The Florida Republican took heat from some in the GOP for helping to pass a comprehensive immigration bill in the Senate and is trying to restore his image,reports The Hill
, noting that Rubio plans to deliver a major speech on Wednesday afternoon.
"This is an all-out effort for Sen. Rubio to re-establish himself on the national stage and turn the page from the immigration debate, which was handled horribly," Republican strategist Alex Patton told the publication.
"His first step-out on policy was not extremely successful so I don't want to call it a rebranding, because I think it's too strong of a word, but I do think this is a reposition of the senator. This is an issue that he can solely own," he said.
Rubio's supporters say the speech will echo a theme the senator has often addressed.
"If you go back and listen to the speeches Marco Rubio gave when he was a Senate candidate in Florida, expanding access to the American dream was at the core of his message. It is vitally important, in his mind, to break the cycle of poverty and create additional upward social and economic mobility," Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, told The Hill.
In a video Rubio released over the weekend
, he criticized former President Lyndon Johnson's attempt to end poverty through his Great Society programs.
"For millions of Americans living in poverty, the American dream does not seem reachable—and that's unacceptable," he stated. "After 50 years, isn't it time to declare big government's war on poverty a failure?"
Story continues below video.
Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, said in the video it was time for a new social agenda aimed at helping Americans help themselves, a proposal he described as sort of a new "opportunity society." But aside from calling for the repeal of Obamacare, he offered no specific legislation or solutions of his own to remedy the problem. The details, according to The Hill, will be spelled out in the coming months.
Still, the senator, often mentioned as a possible 2016 presidential candidate, said his agenda "would create an economy with more good-paying middle class jobs and a government with less debt."
"It would repeal Obamacare," he added, "and it would replace it with more affordable healthcare options. It would save and strengthen our retirement programs for future generations."
Rubio's speech Wednesday, to be delivered in the Capitol Building's Lyndon Baines Johnson Room, falls, perhaps not coincidentally, on the 50th anniversary of Johnson's 1964 State of the Union address in which he declared an "unconditional war on poverty in America."
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