Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said the country will be “left behind” if voters keep promoting the leaders of the past.
“This election will not be about the past. This election is and must be about the future,” he said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to the Majority conference. “Today because of our outdated leaders America’s wheels are spinning and while Hillary Clinton, I will confess, has a plan to get us moving again, it’s a plan unfortunately that will get us moving in reverse. But no one has ever won a race and no one has ever won the future by running backwards.”
He also addressed critics who suggest he lacks the experience for the presidency.
“There are those who say, ‘well, we like Marco but we support someone else because now is not his time, but he has a great future,’ they said. Well, that’s good news because this election is in the future. More importantly this election is about the future,” Rubio said.
Fellow Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) recently said there is “no question” he has more experience than Rubio but called him a “real talent.”
Rubio said Republicans in Washington and Florida tried to discourage him from running for Senate in 2009.
“Now, when I announced, some suggested instead of running for president I need to wait my turn. Well, I’ve heard that before. They said the same thing in 2009 when I ran for the Senate against the then-sitting Republican governor who now happens to be a Democrat. Well, don’t laugh. He was an independent in between,” Rubio said as the crowd laughed.
“But he was beating me in the polls by 60 points. He was outraising me 10-1. The entire Republican establishment in Washington and in Florida was aligned with him. The truth is in the early days of that race the only people who thought I could win all lived in my house. Four of them were under the age of 10. But then as I do now, I chose to run because for America the future is now and if we keep promoting the same leaders we will be left behind and we will lose the race for the 21st century,” he added.
Rubio also addressed the New York Times’ reporting that described his family’s financial situation.
“The New York Times recently said I was not rich enough to be president,” he said. “We were able to buy a luxury speedboat cleverly disgusted as a family fishing boat and on the 5th of every month, Jeanette and I send a check to pay for the mortgage on our family home but the biggest debt I have isn’t to a bank, the biggest debt I have is to America because this is not just the country I was born in. This is the country that changed the history of my family.”
Rubio said “rich people” are not what makes American special.
“Every country has rich people and we are glad that there are people in America that have been economically successful, we celebrate it, but what makes us special is that here, people who will never be rich and will never be famous, through hard work, sacrifice and perseverance are able to achieve happiness,” he said.
Rubio told the audience his family has been blessed.
“I did not start my career with the advantage of family connections. I don’t have a foundation that raises $2 billion, some of it from foreign entities,” Rubio said, referring to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton’s foundation. “But despite all of that we have been able to invest in our children. Not just by saving for them to go to college one day but by sending them to be able to receive a Christian education.”
Midway through Rubio’s speech, immigration activists interrupted the Florida senator, shouting that he should protect President Obama’s executive action for young illegal immigrants.
“That’s the difference between Cuba and the United States – if you do that in another country, your family’s house would be raided, your family’s business would be shut down,” he said. “In America, people have the right to interrupt speeches. They have the right to be rude. They have the right to be wrong.”
After the protesters were escorted out of the room, the activists told PJ Media they were from various groups including United We Dream, M.E.Ch.A and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) focused on protecting religious liberty in his speech at the conference.
“The modern Democratic Party has decided that their commitment to mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states trumps any willingness to defend the First Amendment,” Cruz said.
He stressed the importance of motivating evangelical Christians to vote in the 2016 presidential election.
“It’s a real simple formula,” Cruz told the conference. “If people of faith show up, if we stand for our faith and our liberty and the Constitution, we will win and turn the country around.”
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he entered the race to take power away from the federal government and give it back to the American people.
Paul said Republicans have to explain their positions on a host of issues to different groups of voters.
“We need to be the party of the entire Bill of Rights,” Paul said, mentioning the right to privacy.
“I’ve tried to champion that I’m all for looking at the records of terrorists but I want to do it with a warrant with a judge’s name on it.”