U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio took some time out Wednesday to talk to reporters after he did a brief walk-through of his speech scheduled for the final night of the convention to introduce Republican Mitt Romney.
“This election is about the choice the country has about the role government should play in this election,’’ he said. “It’s not a choice between a Republican or Democrat. It’s about much more than that. My job is to introduce the next president of the United States, and to do so in a way that makes it clear to people the choices.”
When asked what makes this different from the many other speeches he has given over his career, he said, “I don’t know, 39 million people probably.”
“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to give this speech in my home state in front of a lot of family and friends who have been involved with me on a personal level. I hope for my mom, who’s watching from home, and my dad, wherever he’s watching from, it will be affirmation that their lives mattered.”
He said that each night of the convention will “have a purpose” and while Tuesday night was about “Mitt Romney the person” and about leadership. “Tonight that will be reinforced when America gets to meet Paul Ryan, someone who’s in politics to do something, to make a difference.”
When asked if voters should hear more substance, as opposed to biography, from the candidates, Rubio said: “I think they’re be plenty of that” and “I can guarantee you will get some substance any time Paul Ryan speaks.”
Rubio dismissed the concern about the outreach to Hispanic voters, noting that “the campaign has been limited in the amount of resources it can spend until it gets to the nominee phase,’’ he said, a reference to the party rules that constrain party spending on issue advertising in a primary.
“I think we’re certainly looking forward to going out there and press the case that free enterprise is the best way for people to accomplish their economic hopes and dreams,’’ he said.
Rubio, who has talked often about “American exceptionalism,” said that sometimes when people are born and raised in this country, “it’s easy to take that for granted.”
“We also have to talk about the policies that make us different from the rest of the world in this economy and hopefully we will do that in the next two days,’’ he said.
He said that one of the takeaways from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s speech on Tuesday was “that we need more leaders who are willing to identify the issues that we face, identify the solutions and then pursue those solutions – irrespective of what the short term political consequences or impact may be. We need more of that.
“Tonight that’ll be reinforced when we hear from Paul Ryan, someone who has done that in a city full of people that are there to be someone, Paul Ryan stands out as someone who will do something. I guarantee you that by 11 p.m. eastern time tonight, more people will know that about him than ever before.”
He said he hasn’t read the details of the Republican platform on immigration but repeated his call that the Republican Party become “the party of the legal immigration party, not the illegal immigration party, and that begins by recognizing that about 1 million people year immigrate to the United States – legally, permanently. No other country is close. Now we do have a broken legal immigration system and it needs to be improved.
“We do have a humanitarian problem here. We have millions of people, human beings, who do not documents and we’ve got to find some balanced approach to it.
“We’re not going to do amnesty. We’re not going ot give amnesty to 12 million people. We’re not going to round up and deport 12 million people. Somewhere between those two ideas is a solution but we’re never going to get there as long as it is a politicized issue that both parties attack each other on to raise money and to win elections. So I hope to be a part of that in my time in the Senate as my part of the Dream Act and I hope that we’ll be successful in a President Romney to sign that.”
He said tonight’s speeches will help to elucidate Romney’s opinions on policy. “Here’s what I know for a fact,’’ he said. “Mitt Romney knows how prosperity’s created. It’s created when people take their own money and invest it in a business. They employ more people. Those people take their money and spend it in the economy, creating jobs for others. Barack Obama believes prosperity’s created when the government spends money or creates a new program. That’s what this is about.”