Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Video and transcripts of Marco Rubio and Rand Paul’s responses to Obama’s SOTU speech

Marco Rubio:

Full text of Marco Rubio’s response is here.

Rand Paul:

Full text of Rand Paul’s response is here.

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Senator Marco Rubio’s speech at the conservative CPAC 2012 conference

If I had to choose one Republican who gives great speeches on what it means to be a conservative, I would pick Marco Rubio. (25 minutes)

Here’s an article from Human Events about the speech, for those who can’t watch it or listen to it.


Rubio ranked the strength of the American people alongside the importance of economic and military strength, for it is our people – not our government – who have made us great.  He sees critical institutions of society, which contribute to the strength of citizens and families, under assault by the Obama Administration.  “We have a President who, just a few days ago, issued a mandate ordering religious institutions to follow his ideals… telling religious-based organizations that they must, by mandate of the federal government, pay for things that religion teaches is wrong.  You may not agree with that religion’s teachings, but that’s not the point.  The point is that the First Amendment still applies.  Religious freedom still exists.”

He confessed he isn’t sure what the foreign constitutions Justice Ginsburg admires might have to say on the matter, but he knows what the United States Constitution says: “The federal government does not have the power to force religious organizations to pay for things that organization thinks is wrong!”

On the scale of history, only a “moment” has passed since world wars were fought against totalitarian evil.  What followed could hardly be described as “world peace,” and cleaning the blood from the edge of the statist hammer has not softened its essential nature.  “Today millions of people around the world are part of the middle class because of the rise of democracy and free enterprise.  Did that happen on its own?  Is that the natural state of man?”  Rubio suggested a study of humanity’s long history beneath the boots of oppressors answers that question.

Democracy and free enterprise spread, not because they are humanity’s default condition, but because “the most powerful nation in the world believed in these things, fought for these things, spoke out for these things… and most importantly, was an example of these things.”  The power of the American example transcends military and political force, because “all around the world, there are people who know there is someone just like them, living here, doing things they cannot.”

“What happens if we diminish, because we can no longer afford to be the leader of the free world?” Rubio asked.  “What happens if we diminish because our leaders decide they don’twant to be the leaders of the free world anymore?  What happens if we retreat?  What happens is that we’ll leave a space, and that space will be filled by someone else.”  The likely candidates for our successor as global hyperpower are totalitarian states like Russia and China… whose measure Rubio took by noting that they’ve vetoed United Nations efforts to rein in Syria’s dictator, Bashar Assad, because they reserve the right to use such brutal tactics against their own people.

Rubio understands that the clash of civilizations cannot be won from an easy chair, or a death bed.  “The greatest thing we can do for the people of the world is be America,” he concluded.  “That’s what’s at stake here.  That’s what November will be about.”

It would be a shame if all the people who flee to America, to escape from socialist decay and totalitarian repression, found the very things they fled awaiting them on our shores.  It pays to take a moment and see our exceptional nation through the eyes of those tired, poor, huddled masses, as Marco Rubio has done.

You can listen to an MP3 of the speech here. (12 Mb)

He’s only 40 years old. We have a deep, deep bullpen.

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Marco Rubio’s finest speech yet… at the Reagan Forum

Greatness. He is everything that America has always been. (45 minutes)

Excerpt from the transcript: (scroll down)

And so, if defining the proper role of government was one of the central issues of the Reagan era, it remains that now. The truth is that people are going around saying that, well, we’re worried about – let me just add something to this because I think this is an important forum for candor.

I know that it is popular in my party to blame the president, the current president. But the truth is the only thing this president has done is accelerate policies that were already in place and were doomed to fail. All he is doing through his policies is making the day of reckoning come faster, but it was coming nonetheless.

What we have now is not sustainable. The role of government and the role that government plays now in America cannot be sustained the way it is. Now some are worried about how it has to change, we have to change it. The good news is it is going to change. It has to change. That’s not the issue.

The issue is not whether the role that government now plays in America will change. The question is how will it change. Will it change because we make the changes necessary? Or, will it change because our creditors force us to make these changes?

And over the next few moments I hope to advocate to you –- I don’t think that I have to given the make up of the crowd –- but I hope to advocate to you that, in fact, what we have before us is a golden opportunity afforded to few Americans.

We have the opportunity –- within our lifetime –- to actually craft a proper role for government in our nation that will allow us to come closer than any Americans have ever come to our collective vision of a nation where both prosperity and compassion exist side-by-side.

To do that, we must begin by embracing certain principles that are absolutely true. Number one: the free enterprise system does not create poverty. The free enterprise system does not leave people behind.

People are poor and people are left behind because they do not have access to the free enterprise system because something in their lives or in their community has denied them access to the free enterprise system. All over the world this truism is expressing itself every single day. Every nation on the Earth that embraces market economics and the free enterprise system is pulling millions of its people out of poverty. The free enterprise system creates prosperity, not denies it.

The second truism that we must understand is that poverty does not create our social problems, our social problems create our poverty. Let me give you an example. All across this country, at this very moment, there are children who are born into and are living with five strikes against them, already, through no fault of their own.

They’re born into substandard housing in dangerous neighborhoods, to broken families, being raised by their grandmothers because they never knew their father and their mom is either working two jobs to make ends meet or just not home. These kids are going to struggle to succeed unless something dramatic happens in their life.

These truisms are important because they lead the public policies that define the proper role of government. On the prosperity side, the number one objective of our economic policy, in fact the singular objective of our economic policy from a government perspective is simple — it’s growth. It’s not distribution of wealth; it’s not picking winners and losers.

The goal of our public policy should be growth. Growth in our economy, the creation of jobs and of opportunity, of equality of opportunity through our governmental policies.

And the most gripping part of the speech:

To me, this is extremely special, and I’ll tell you why. During the ’80s, politically especially, there were two people that deeply influenced me. One clearly was Ronald Reagan, the other was my grandfather, who lived with us most of the time in our home.

We lived part of our life, especially the key years, ’80-’84, in Las Vegas, Nev. And my grandfather loved to sit on the porch of our home and smoke cigars. He was Cuban. Three cigars a day, he lived to be 84. This is not an advertisement for cigar smoking, I’m just saying to you that …

He loved to talk about politics. My grandfather was born in 1899. He was born to an agricultural family in Cuba. He was stricken with polio when he was a very young man, he couldn’t work the fields, so they sent him to school. He was the only member of his family that could read. And because he could read, he got a job at the local cigar rolling factory.

They didn’t have radio or television, so they would hire someone to sit at the front of the cigar factory and read to the workers while they worked. So, the first thing he would read every day, of course, was the daily newspaper. Then he would read some novel to entertain them.

And then, when he was done reading things he actually went out and rolled the cigars because he needed the extra money. But through all of those years of reading, he became extremely knowledgeable about history, not to mention all the classics.

He loved to talk about history. My grandfather loved being Cuban. He loved being from Cuba. He never would have left Cuba if he didn’t have to. But he knew America was special. He knew that without America, Cuba would still be a Spanish colony. He knew that without America, the Nazis and Imperial Japan would have won World War II. When he was born in 1899 there weren’t even airplanes. By the time I was born, an American had walked on the surface of the moon.

And he knew something else. He knew that he had lost his country. And that the only thing from preventing other people in the world from losing theirs to communism was this country – this nation.

It is easy for us who are born here –- like me –- and so many of you, to take for granted how special and unique this place is. But when you come from somewhere else, when what you always knew and loved, you lost, you don’t have that luxury.

My grandfather didn’t know America was exceptional because he read about it in a book. He knew about it because he lived it and saw it with his eyes. That powerful lesson is the story of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. It’s our legacy as a people. And it’s who we have a chance to be again. And I think that’s important for all of us because being an American is not just a blessing, it’s a responsibility.

As we were commanded to do long ago, “Let your light shine before men” …

[PAUSE – he is overcome by emotion]

…“that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Well, as we gather here today in this place, that pays homage and tribute to the greatest American of the twentieth century, we are reminded that for him and for our nation, being a light to the world, that’s not just our common history, it remains our common destiny.

I cried at the part in bold above.

Here’s the verse he cited – Matthew 5:16 – in context: [NASB]

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;

15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

I notice that he cites the NASB, which is my favorite translation – the translation closest to the original Greek.

On my Facebook page, I have Matthew 5:13, which is the verse that comforts me when things look bad in my life – when my plans haven’t worked out the way I hoped they would. Things look bad for us right now as a nation. Maybe we need to reconsider these words.

This speech is being well-received everywhere. Permit me just one reaction from the UK Telegraph, which is still punch-drunk from socialism-induced rioting caused by the anti-marriage, anti-family, anti-father policies of the secular left Labour Party.


Two of the brightest rising young stars in American conservatism today are Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio. Neither are running for president in 2012, but both will be strong contenders for the vice presidential running mate slot, whoever wins the Republican nomination. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ryan or Rubio eventually sitting in the Oval Office itself at some stage in the future. After all, Congressman Ryan of Wisconsin is only 41, and Senator Rubio of Florida is just 40; they have decades of public life ahead of them. They are both deeply principled politicians in the Reagan mould who grew up during the late Cold War years, and share a profound belief in American exceptionalism and the need for the United States to maintain its position as the world’s leading power.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Congressman’s Ryan’s superb speech on foreign policy to the Alexander Hamilton Society in Washington, remarks which outlined in stark terms the challenges the United States faces if it is to avoid decline. Ryan’s address, which I attended, was probably one of the most important statements by a US politician on American leadership this year.

Senator Rubio’s speech yesterday at the Reagan Presidential Library in the presence of Nancy Reagan, was another key address by a Member of Congress that deserves to be widely read, both at home and abroad. Like Ryan, Rubio offers a powerful rejection of the Big Government approach that has crippled America’s economy, and outlines a firm defence of the free market, championed by Ronald Reagan.

There is something very different and special about America. And Marco Rubio reminds us all what it is in this speech. A speech heard ’round the world! A reminder of our principles – of our role – and of our responsibility to the world.

On a side note, Marco Rubio also rescued Nancy Reagan from a fall by alertly grabbing her arm when she slipped.

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On “Face the Nation”: Marco Rubio says the President has no plan

Marco Rubio takes on Obama spokesman Bob Schieffer on CBS’ “Face the Nation”. (H/T Mariangela)

In this speech on the floor of the Senate, he lays the whole debt problem and the solutions.

I just wish that the voters would compare Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric and his performance on job create with Marco Rubio’s clear explanation of the incentives and motives of job creators. We don’t need redistribution of wealth, we need people to have jobs. When people have jobs, they feel comfortable to investing or spend money.

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FL senator Marco Rubio: “We need more taxpayers, not more taxes”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

If there is anyone I like almost as much as Michele Bachmann, it’s Marco Rubio. And boy, can this guy do an interview.

On the Sean Hannity show: (7 minutes)

And on the Rush Limbaugh radio show: (11 minutes)

He’s William Lane Craig-esque. He just talks about the issues without one hem or haw. Not an uh or an ah to be heard. It’s uncanny. Hmmn. Look at that picture up there. He looks very intense. Do you think he might be some sort of conservative super-android designed by the U.S. Military in a secret base under a mountain in Colorado? I’m not sure.

I actually heard him interviewed on the Hugh Hewitt show on Tuesday night. Hugh played the interview back-to-back in two consecutive hours, and then his producer Duane Patterson posted the full transcript. This one was the best interview of all. Hugh does a great interview, and he was blown away by Marco Rubio.


HH: Now the President is betting, obviously, that he can turn a conservative message into a toxic one for 2012. Your old colleague from the Florida House, Adam Hasner, is running for Senate down there, a lot like Josh Mandel in Ohio, and Ted Cruz in Texas, they’re running as real conservatives with very much a Rubio-like message from 2010. Will that work in this environment of demagoguery from the White House?

MR: Yeah, it will work, because the common sense of the American people is powerful, and I think that too many people here in Washington walk around thinking well, we can spin it this way, or we can use our allies in the media to confuse people and make them not believe their own eyes. But the truth is that we’re way past that today. The ability of people to get information from multiple sources in real time, the ability of us to communicate directly to our constituents, to go on programs such as yours and talk about the reality of what we’re facing, is something that wasn’t around not that long ago, and it’s incumbent upon us who feel passionate about this to go out there and make clear to the people what our choices are. And this is not a complicated issue. It’s very, very simple. The United States spends more money than it takes in, and it’s not generating enough revenue for its government to pay down the debt. So we have to figure out how do we stop spending more money than we take in? We need a balanced budget amendment. We need a spending cap. And we need real reductions in spending starting right now. And what do we do to get more revenue in the hands of government so it can pay down its debt and not grow its government? Well, you’re not going to do that through tax increases. You’re going to do that through new taxpayers, that is getting people back to work, getting people hired and working, so these people will pay taxes, and then we can use that revenue to pay down the debt. That’s what we need. And you’re not going to create new taxpayers, you’re not going to create economic growth and jobs in America if you’re running around threatening to raise taxes.

HH: Do you think the President understands the underlying economics, Senator Rubio, and is just demagoguing it? Or is he fundamentally misinformed about how capitalism works?

MR: I think there are three things going on here. Number one, I think he’s a prisoner to extremist elements in his own base who not only, they don’t care that the taxes don’t solve any problems. They want their pound of flesh. They want to punish somebody, they want class warfare. That’s what they believe in. And this is their chance to do it, and they’re putting pressure on him to do that. So I think that’s his first problem. His second problem is that I think he’s surrounded by a bunch of people who philosophically do not believe fully in the free enterprise system, and in fact, they’d like to see government play a greater role. And they see this downturn in the economy, and crisis such as this, as an opportunity to exert more government involvement in our economy. And that’s the second problem. And his third problem is a level of incompetence. I think the President, quite frankly, is not up to the job. And if you look at every measure of quality of life in America today, unemployment is higher. The debt is higher. The only thing lower is the value of your home. If you look at every measurable economic thing in America today, they are all worse than they were the day he took over. Two and a half years into his presidency, things continue to get worse, not better, and it’s because the President is incompetent in his job as president. He is not, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

I think he’s going to be President one day. And I agree with him on Obama’s competence. The man is not qualified in any way, shape or form to run a lemonade stand, much less to be the President of the most powerful country on the planet. I would like to see a Marco Rubio/Allen West ticket in 2020, after the two Michele Bachmann terms are done.


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