Tuesday, February 23, 2016 Presidential candidate Marco Rubio held a rally at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency. An estimated 1600 enthusiastic supporters cheered when former Minnesota gubernatorial candidate and “Team Rubio Minnesota” campaign chairman Jeff Johnson introduced the Florida Senator to the crowd. Calling Rubio “unique” and an “embodiment of the American Dream” with the “remarkable ability to inspire Americans of every background and every station in life,” and “who can unite Republicans and inspire Americans,” Johnson welcomed Rubio to the stage.
The supporters’ jovial mood was evidenced by the willingness of many in the crowd to call out comments and encouragement to Rubio, which caused the Senator to laugh, “This is a rowdy crowd! Holy smokes!” Rubio engaged with the crowd several times during the event: chatting with children (“Do you have a job yet?”); and asking former and current service members to raise their hands and thanking them for their service.
During criticism of Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Rubio commented that most politicians run away from the title “Socialist,” but, “Bernie Sanders puts it in his commercials.” He went on to say that he used to claim that “Bernie would make a great president…of Sweden…” until he was chastised by people from Sweden in Iowa for it. Instead he tried “Norway, but there are a lot of Norwegians in Minnesota…How about Luxembourg? Anyone here from Luxembourg?” and was caught by surprise when an attendee claimed to hail from that country, which caused another round of laughter from the crowd.
Rubio declared Hillary Clinton “disqualified from being Commander-in-Chief” because she knew the attack on Americans in Benghazi was a terrorist attack, but she told the families of the fallen service members that the attack resulted from a protest over a movie: “Anyone who lies to the families of people who have lost their lives in the service of this country can never be Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America.”
In classically optimistic Rubio style, peppered with personal anecdotes and other Americans’ stories, he presented how he can win (“by uniting and growing the Republican Party”) along with what Americans would get in a President Rubio, “for the first time in seven or eight years you will have a President who…”: follows the Constitution; protects Second Amendment Rights; believes in limited government and the Free Enterprise system; doesn’t believe that education should be dictated by Washington DC; fixes the tax code, and roles back regulations to save Social Security and Medicare. He went on to claim as president he would balance the budget and repeal and replace Obamacare.
Rubio was critical of Obama, promising to “repeal every one of Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders” on his first day of office. He went on to explain how a President Rubio would differ from President Obama. Pointing out that the main role of Federal Government is to “keep us safe,” Rubio outlined the dangers facing the U.S., naming ISIS; “the lunatic…son of a dictator” leading North Korea, and a (potentially) nuclear-armed Iran (“I will cancel the Iran Deal”). And how he would handle those challenges as Commander-in-Chief: Follow a Reagan-style rebuild of the military; engage in an aggressive War on Terror; retain Guantanamo for captured terrorists; rebuild relationships with America’s allies – especially Israel, and “take care of the veterans” by fixing the VA system.
Still comparing himself with Obama, Rubio said, “this president ran on ‘hope and change’ but has governed by ‘divide and conquer.'” Promising that if he is elected president, he will never “ask you to be angry with another group of Americans, just so you vote for me…” And, talking about people who disagree with his policies or criticize his presidency, he promised, “I will cut their taxes, too.”
Rubio wrapped up his speech with his view of the future if the people support him for president:
Here’s what history will say of us: It will say we lived at a very difficult time…and it will say we almost got it wrong; that we almost failed to do our part, but then in 2016 we remembered who we are and we embraced our challenges and we solved our problems. And because we did, we became the freest and most prosperous Americans that ever lived. And the American Dream changed more lives than ever before…and we were the authors of the greatest story of America…
After using a cadence of speech that brought cheers from the crowd, the senator ended with, “Thank you, Michigan!” caught his mistake, and quickly said, “Thank you, Minnesota!”
Rubio went on to take second place behind Donald Trump in the Nevada caucuses Tuesday evening.
Minnesota will hold its caucuses on Tuesday, March 1. To find your caucus location, click here.
Full rally video by NorthStarOasis