In Thursday night’s Fox News debate, Sen. Marco Rubio appeared very aware that his time is shrinking to make an impact on Iowa voters, as he focused his performance intently on his faith and less on political attacks.
“The Bible commands us to let our light shine on the world,” Rubio stated, pointing out that America’s “light” and greatness had been diminished by President Obama.
When asked about a TIME magazine cover declaring him the “savior” of the Republican party — he replied that Jesus was the only savior.
“There’s only one Savior, and it’s not me,” he said. “It’s Jesus Christ who came down to earth and died for our sins,” he said. That’s the line he’s been using to dismiss the TIME cover from 2013, hastening to distance himself from the political “messiah” talking point — as President Obama once was.
At another point in the debate, Rubio declined to take a shot at Governor Chris Christie, choosing instead to talk more about his faith and the Judeo-Christian values that founded America.
“I think if you do not understand our Judeo-Christian values are one of the reasons America is such a special country, you don’t understand our history,” he said. “We are influenced by Judeo-Christian values that teach us to care for the less fortunate, reach out to the needy, to love our neighbor.”
He then explained why he would be a president who was influenced by his faith:
You should hope that our next president is someone that is influenced by their faith because, if your faith causes you to care for the less fortunate, it is something you want to see in your public figures. And when I’m president, I can tell you this, my faith will not just influence the way I’ll govern as president, it will influence the way I live my life because, in the end, my goal is not simply to live on this earth for 80 years, but to live an eternity with my Creator. I will always allow my faith to influence everything I do.
Rubio’s emphasis on his faith did not go unnoticed — according to Google Trends, of the Fox News debate, it was his highest scoring moment of the evening.
Rubio’s intent focus on his faith hasn’t gone unnoticed by reporters as he makes his final argument in Iowa. One of his latest campaign ads in the state also focuses heavily on his belief in God and his personal faith. Even the Rubio campaign has been clipping footage of Rubio talking about his faith in town hall meetings, which have been well received online.
The Florida senator has also been polling better in the state as the caucuses draw closer, in spite of Ted Cruz’s attacks on his position on immigration.