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MSNBC: Marco Rubio, the "GOP's Barack Obama"

Here's how MSNBC's Carlos Watson introduced Marco Rubio: "And now I'd like to introduce you to a man who might be the answer to the GOP's problems. Meet Marco Rubio.

"He's young. He's attractive. He easily connects with crowds. Remind you of anyone we know? Ten-to-one, this guy will soon be labeled the GOP's Barack Obama," Watson declared.

"Another thing he's got in common with the president, Marco Rubio rose from humble roots. He's the son of Cuban exiles who came to the U.S. penniless in the 1950s. His father worked as a bartender, his mother as a hotel maid. He went to college on a football scholarship, then got himself elected to the Florida House before his 30th birthday. He was named House speaker just a few years later. All that, plus he's a creator of one of the catchiest political gimmicks of the century: 100 innovative ideas for Florida's future.

And now, Marco Rubio is about to take on Florida's wildly popular governor in the fight for Mel Martinez's soon to be vacant Senate seat. This makes him today's rising star."

Rest of interview below.

Marco, very nice to meet you.

RUBIO: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

WATSON: Not at all. So Marco, how did you decide to get into politics? It sounds like there were a lot of other considerations along the way, other options. Why did you decide to run and run so young?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, it's hard to be apolitical when you're -- when you grow up in a community of exiles whose entire life has been shaped by the political experiences, in my case, of Cuba. So certainly, I'm -- I'm deeply committed to the notion of liberty and what it means to have that because I've been raised by people who lost that. And so, there's no doubt that that's had a tremendous impact on my life and on my view of government and -- and our involvement in it.

WATSON: So -- so, now, you decide -- you decided to run for the Senate, Mel Martinez's vacant seat. You think you have it kind of largely to yourself, and out of nowhere, here comes a popular governor with 70 percent approval ratings who says, "You know what? I kind of want that seat, too." Have you considered pulling out of the race? And if not, why not?

RUBIO: I have not. I'm not going to pull out of this race for a very simple reason, and that is my children are members of the first generation of Americans who are on the verge of inheriting a country worse off than that of their parents. We have a federal government that is basically funding its operations -- its increasingly growing operations -- by borrowing money from foreign investors and by printing money that's only backed by the full faith and credit of our government. I'm deeply concerned about what that means for the future of our country. I fear that my kids, if we don't change course quickly, will be members of a generation that will inherit a country less free, with less liberty and less prosperity, than the one I was left with. That's not fair.

WATSON: Marco, how do you think about President Barack Obama and the job he's done so far?
Because I know when you were in Florida, you obviously had to work with a lot of Democrats. Are there things that you admire about the president, our 44th commander-in-chief?

RUBIO: Well, you know what? He's bold. There's no doubt about -- you can't accuse him of being a do-nothing president. I mean, he's clearly pushing his agenda fast and in a bold and big way, and -- and I think that's a style of leadership that -- that I like.Unfortunately, I wish it was from a conservative perspective, from a limited government perspective. I wish that instead of an $800 billion stimulus package, he would have used the power of the presidency to push through meaningful tax reform, that would have made America once again a place where small business entrepreneurs had as good a chance as anywhere in the world to make things work. So his style is not my problem, but certainly his policies, however, I think are taking our country in a direction I don't agree with.

WATSON: Marco Rubio, as one South Floridian to another, I wish you well.

RUBIO: Thank you, Carlos. Thank you.

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