Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will deliver the Republican response to the president’s State of the Union address this upcoming Tuesday.
NPR’s Tamara Keith filed this report for our Newscast unit:
“Rubio is a rising star of the Republican party, who was elected as part of the Tea Party wave in 2010.
“He’s the son of Cuban immigrants and is part of a bipartisan group of senators working on immigration reform legislation. He’ll deliver the response in both English and Spanish.
“It’s likely President Obama will discuss immigration in his State of the Union address, which makes Rubio a natural choice for the response. In a statement, Rubio said he plans to talk about how limited government and free enterprise have helped his family’s dreams come true in America.”
Rubio, if you remember, was a contender to become Mitt Romney’s running mate and now there is speculation that he’s eyeing a presidential run of his own.
In a statement, Speaker John Boehner said Rubio is one of the party’s “most dynamic and inspiring” leaders.
“His family’s story is a testament to the promise and greatness of America,” said Speaker Boehner.
This news comes just a day after Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor attempted to present a softer version of the Republican party in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.
“He embraced offering illegal immigrants brought to the country as children a path to citizenship, a policy he once opposed,” The New York Times reported. “And though he has in the past endorsed proposals to turn Medicare into a system that offers seniors a fixed subsidy to buy private health insurance, Mr. Cantor on Tuesday embraced simpler approaches to cutting health care costs.
The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza says that for a party trying to reposition itself after a bruising general election loss, putting Rubio in this kind of spotlight is a no brainer.
“It’s not secret that Rubio is the single most marketable product in the Republican party today; he’s young (41 years old), Hispanic and conservative without being frightening to voters outside of the party base. He is also, without question, the most gifted communicator in the party — a natural ability that evokes, dare we write it, Barack Obama. (For more on Rubio’s abilities, check out the piece we wrote following his speech at the Republican National Convention speech.)
“Rubio is, to be blunt, the obvious choice — particularly with his recent leadership on a compromise immigration reform measure, a piece of legislation that is of massive import to the GOP’s future political prospects.”