Rubio Comes to St. Pete, Decries Federal Spending
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01/27/10 Kate Bradshaw
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U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio, the former Speaker of the Florida House.


photo by Kate Bradshaw/WMNF

Former State House Speaker Marco Rubio campaigned in Downtown St. Pete today, just ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union address. He brought with him a message that he and his supporters aim to rail against the Obama Administration’s agenda, which he says is characterized by spending of billions of dollars it doesn’t have.

Rubio: "We will be an alternative. We can go to Washington, DC. We will stand up to this agenda. We will offer a clear alternative to it."

Rubio may have been little-known just months ago, but the conservative’s US senate campaign has been gaining steam in the months leading up to the GOP primary in which he will face Governor Charlie Crist.

Rubio: "Our message is growing. A year ago at this time, you know, we were nowhere to be found in this polling, and now, obviously as we get out there our message is growing and I'm fully cognizant that it's not about me."

He says he believes excess federal spending – like the stimulus dollars President Obama is expected to announce he will use to fund rail during his town hall meeting in Tampa tomorrow. But Rubio said that it is not rail, in and of itself, that he opposes.

Rubio: "Rail is a different component from how you pay for it. I've long believed that there is a great promise for rail in Florida as part of our overall transportation schematic. Really the issue is not that. The issue is, whether...you know, how you fund it. In a tough economic time, in particular, if you're using federal dollars, that's really borrowed money and is growing the national deficit. That's a concern."

Today, Charlie Crist said he was counting on federal funding to help ease the state’s budget woes. When WMNF asked Rubio if he saw this as a good way to deal with limited resources, he said that it was a temporary solution at best.

Rubio: "These are election year solutions, but they're not long-term solutions for Florida's future. Ultimately, as Americans we should all be troubled by a federal government that's spending money that we don't have. Someone's going to have to pay that. And it's largely going to be my children, and their generation, who will work their whole lives and pay confiscatory tax rates in order to pay of this debt that this generation is leaving for them."

If Rubio is successful in the primary, he will run against Kendrick Meek. He says that if this happens ...

Rubio: "My message is going to be the same in the general as it is in the primary, and that is, I think that we can fix everything that's wrong in this country without abandoning everything that's right in this country. And I don't believe - and congressman Meek supports the agenda of President Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi. I don't. I'm going to offer voters in Florida an alternative to that, and I hope that we'll be successful. I believe that we will be."

Rubio’s campaign has, at this point, not included any major jabs aimed at the governor. But he did say that if he were governor at this moment, he wouldn’t exactly be joining President Obama on stage during his Tampa visit tomorrow afternoon, but that he would have some tough questions for the president.

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