In presidential pitch to conservatives, Marco Rubio previews a ‘new American century’

“The truth is, Sean, I don’t want to be in politics my whole life.”

If that statement alone hasn’t sold you on Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign, he’s prepared a rather powerful presidential pitch that covers just about all the bases.

If you missed Rubio’s CPAC speech on Friday and his subsequent grilling by Sean Hannity, take 22 minutes to watch the whole thing.

Rubio’s compelling biography, his ability to capture the increasingly hawkish sensibilities of the Republican grassroots, and his unique facility as a communicator all serve to demonstrate to the talking class that it would be unwise to write him off as a presidential candidate just yet.

Just prior to Rubio’s speech, The Washington Examiner’s David Drucker published a lengthy interview with the Florida senator in which Rubio’s agenda for his first 100 days in the Oval Office was spelled out (a level of specificity on policy to which none of the other prospective candidates have committed themselves).

Rubio would immediately balance against a resurgent Russia by demonstrating America’s military commitment to containing Moscow in Europe, starting with the reintroduction of a deal Obama abandoned in 2009 that would have provided Poland and the Czech Republic with radar installations and interceptor missiles. He added that his presidency would reject the liberal internationalist premise that American disengagement is the solution to many of the world’s vexing security challenges.

Rubio declined to reveal to Drucker the specifics of his plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but said that he has a “blueprint” that would do away with the health care reform law and implement market-based solutions. Rubio noted that many who are currently insured by ACA-related plans would volunteer to migrate into market-based plans on their own as it becomes increasingly clear that Obamacare coverage is more trouble than it’s worth.

Where Rubio will encounter resistance from conservatives will in convincing them to trust his judgment on issues relating to reforming the nation’s immigration system. More still will be concerned that Rubio, like Obama, lacks the requisite experience to serve as a capable commander-in-chief.

In his interview with Hannity, Rubio noted that “40 percent of illegal immigrants come legally and overstay their visas.” He said that there is no way to track them, nor is there a system in place that can prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining employment in the United States like E-Verify. “There are at least three sectors of the border, one in particular, that are just completely unsecure,” he added. Finally, Rubio insisted that America’s generous immigration system is entirely based on whether or not the prospective immigrant has a family member in the United States. “And it can’t continue to be based on family alone, it’s got to be based on some sort of merit and economic contribution,” Rubio said of the nation’s immigration system. He concluded, however, by noting that “the single biggest lesson of the last two years” is that none of these reforms will become law until American voters are convinced that the inflow of illegal immigrants has been curtailed.

As for Rubio’s limited experience in Washington, he told Drucker that his background is nothing like President Obama’s.

“The reason why President Obama is a bad president isn’t because he’s young or because he’s a senator, it’s because his ideas don’t work,” Rubio said. “I have a record of making judgments on issues like foreign policy. So if I decide to run for president of the United States, I’m prepared to make that argument, as I would be if I ran for Senate.”

Both these interviews are worth consuming in their entirety. Rubio makes a compelling case for his candidacy, and it seems likely that he intends to see just how far he can go in the race for the White House.

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