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Hello, I’m Marco Rubio, a Senator from Florida. Right now all eyes are focused on my home state ahead of next week’s Republican presidential primary. It’s an exciting contest and I know that passions are high. So I wanted to take a moment to explain to the rest of the country why Republicans in Florida are so excited about this primary: Because we believe our country is in big trouble.
As you know, earlier this week, President Obama delivered his fourth annual address to Congress. It was an opportunity for the President to talk about his accomplishments over the last three years and to lay out his plans for the year ahead.
And he missed on both counts.
You didn’t hear much talk about the success of his Administration—and that’s because there isn’t much.
Yes, this President inherited a significant national debt, but over the last three years he’s made it worse. Our national debt has grown by nearly 50 percent since he took over, and now, for the first time since World War II, our national debt is larger than our country’s economy.
Yes, this President inherited an economy where unemployment was too high, but over the last three years he’s made it worse. Today our unemployment rate is higher than the day he took office. In fact, since he took over, it’s been stuck over 8 percent every single month.
This President didn’t talk about his record for one simple reason; he doesn’t want you to know about it. But you do know about it, because you feel the failure of his leadership every single day of your life.
The bottom line is this President inherited a country with serious problems. He asked the Congress to give him the stimulus and Obamacare to fix it. The Democrats in Congress gave it to him. And not only did it not work, it made everything worse.
President Obama has a year left in the White House. So what are his plans now to make things better? What does he plan to do now, that he didn’t do before? Well we got our answer Tuesday night. He plans to divide us against each other. To pit Americans against other Americans in the hopes of generating enough votes to get re-elected.
He tells Americans worried about their jobs that the way to help them is to raise their bosses’ taxes.
He tells those who are hurting that the only way they can be better off, is for others to be worse off.
He tells all of us that the only way for some of us to climb up the economic ladder is for others to be pulled down.
This divisive rhetoric, this effort to gain political support by convincing some that they will be better off if we punish others, this stuff has never worked anywhere it’s been tried.
People end up fleeing countries who adopt economic policies based on these flawed principles. And more often than not, they come here.
They come here because this is not who we are.
Americans have always believed that all of us can succeed.
That those who have made it fairly, can stay there. And those who are trying to make it will have a real chance to join them.
This is what has made us different. This is what has made us prosperous. This is what makes us exceptional.
And now, for the first time in my adult life, we have a President who’s asking us to abandon our economic heritage.
To become like the countries people come here to get away from.
To become like everybody else.
Yes, people are hurting. Yes, there is a growing gap between the rich and the poor.
But the way to solve it is not to embrace the ‘trickle up poverty’ economics of other nations.
The way to solve it is to embrace the American Free Enterprise system.
No economic system is perfect. But the American Free Enterprise system has empowered millions of people in the past. I know, because I saw it with my own eyes.
My father was a bartender. And I thank God every night that there was someone willing to risk their money to build a hotel on Miami Beach and later in Las Vegas where he could work.
I thank God that there was enough prosperity in America so people could go on vacation to Miami or Las Vegas. Where people felt prosperous enough to have weddings or Bar Mitzvahs and, by the way, could leave tips in my Dad’s little tip jar. Because with that money he raised us. And he gave me the opportunity to do things he never had a chance to do.
Now, we had help along the way. I had student loans and grants from the government to help me get my education. And I went to our public school system.
That’s an important role for government to play. And so I also thank God that we had an economy prosperous enough to afford to pay for these things as well.
So, I’ll just close by saying, I hope this year will be the beginning of our work towards a new and prosperous American century.
Because I know that this idea of a nation where anyone from anywhere can accomplish anything, it’s not just something I read about in history books. I’ve seen it in my own life. And there’s no reason why we cannot continue it here, if only we do the right things.May God bless all of you, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.