Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) made the case that his background made him well-suited to take on Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton at the beginning of Thursday’s Fox News debate, arguing that she would be unable to play the Democrats’ usual class warfare games against him.
The moderators asked Rubio whether his experience qualified him to be President, especially compared to governors like his fellow Floridian former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL). Many Republican commentators have been openly skeptical of supporting another first-term Senator, after the disastrous years under President Obama’s administration. Rubio has sought to distinguish himself from Obama; on Thursday, he responded that he was proud of his record as Speaker of the Florida House, responsible for a multimillion dollar budget of a large, diverse state.
Rubio then pivoted to how his background compared to Clinton’s, and rejected the idea that the election should be a straight resume competition. “If this election is a resume competition, then Hillary Clinton’s going to be the next president, because she’s been in office and in government longer than anybody else here tonight.”
“This election had better be about the future, not the past,” continued Rubio. “It better be about the issues our nation, and the world, is facing today.”
“This country is facing an economy that has been radically transformed,” he said, mentioning how Amazon, which is now America’s largest retailer, did not have a single brick-and-mortar location. “These changes have been disruptive…and we need someone who understands that as our nominee.”
“If I’m our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? I was raised paycheck to paycheck,” asserted Rubio, whose father worked as a bartender and mother as a maid.
“How is she going to lecture me about student loans? I owed over a hundred thousand dollars just four years ago. If I’m our nominee, we will be the party of the future.”
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