In an attempt to broaden the Republican Party’s appeal to minorities, particularly Hispanics, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday in both English and Spanish.
In announcing Rubio’s selection, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Rubio’s “family’s story is a testament to the promise and greatness of America,” and “he’ll deliver a GOP address that speaks from the heart to the hopes and dreams of the middle class; to our party’s commitment to life and liberty; and to the unlimited potential of America when government is limited and effective.”
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Rubio was a “natural choice.”
“Marco’s own experience as the child of immigrants has always informed his belief in limited government and free enterprise, which is why he has helped lead the fight against out-of-control spending and job-destroying tax hikes that continue to hold our economy back and stifle opportunity for millions,” McConnell said.
Rubio said he would discuss in his response how “limited government and free enterprise have helped make my family’s dreams come true in America” and lay out the “Republican case of how our ideas can help people close the gap between their dreams and the opportunities to realize them.”
“Limited government and free enterprise are the very foundation of what makes America special and separates us from the world, particularly through our strong middle class,” Rubio said.
In the 2012 elections, Republicans got demolished at the polls in minority communities. President Barack Obama received over 90% of the black vote, but 71% of Hispanics also voted for Obama, as did an astounding 73% of Asians.
Republicans have been trying to make inroads in minority communities; for instance, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will meet with prominent black leaders in Atlanta on Thursday.
Rubio’s address certainly is a prominent attempt at and symbol of both outreach and inclusion.
In the past, Republicans have had two speakers (one in English, the other in Spanish) responding to the State of the Union address. Since Rubio is bilingual, he is able to give both.
The press release announcing Rubio’s selection to give the State of the Union response was also in Spanish. The Spanish part of the release was titled, “SENADOR MARCO RUBIO PRONUNCIARÁ DISCURSO REPUBLICANO A LA NACIÓN EL 12 DE FEBRERO.”