(National Harbor, MD) “The question before us in 2016 is what kind of nation we will be,” U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) told those gathered at CPAC 2015. “Sometimes you wouldn’t know we are an exceptional nation if you listen to the President,” he added.
Rubio painted a vision of America’s exceptionalism during his 5th speech at CPAC. He said Americans know they are exceptional. He even noted the world knows that America is exceptional. “When is the last time you’ve seen American refugees lining up to get into some foreign country,” Rubio joked.
Rubio credited God’s blessing as the reason America remains exceptional. He noted that the bad news is that America is in decline, but the good news is that the nation is just one election away from “another American century.”
He noted that he has a debt that he could never repay. His parents came to the United States in 1956 from Cuba he and his siblings were able to experience what he called a nation of “equal opportunity.”
That debt he said is what led him to seek public service and would be part of any decision-making process should he decide to run for Presdient. He pledged that if he would run he would not seek re-election in the Senate as an exit strategy if the presidential campaign didn’t go his way. He said he’s not ready to make a decision yet.
A topic that has hurt Rubio in the past, immigration, Rubio acknowledged the plan he tried to put forth was a mistake. He said it is an issue that needs to be addressed, but he had the wrong approach in 2013.
“You have 10 or 12 million people in this country, many of whom have lived here for longer than a decade, have not otherwise violated our law other than immigration laws, I get all that,” Rubio said. “But what I’ve learned is you can’t even have a conversation about that until people believe and know, not just believe but it’s proven to them that future illegal immigration will be controlled.”
“You can’t just tell people you’re going to secure the border, we’re going to do E-Verify, you have to do that, they have to see it, they have to see it working, and then they’re going to have a reasonable conversation with you about the other parts, but they’re not going to even want to talk about that until that’s done first. And what’s happened over the last two years, the migratory crisis this summer, the two executive orders, that’s even more true than it’s been,” Rubio added.