Sen. Marco Rubio said he's already decided he can raise the money to run for president.
"I feel confident that we’re going to meet that number and exceed it, I do and I wouldn’t run for president if I didn’t think we could. So for me that decisions been made," Rubio said this afternoon on FOX News' Your World with Neil Cavuto. "To me the decision that I’d love to make is where’s the best place for me to serve this country that I owe so much to. Is it to continue in the Senate? Or is it to run for president? And if I decided it’s to run for president, I’m confident we can put together the kind of credible campaign that will allow us to win.”
He did not explicity address the $50 million floated by Cavuto, but Rubio said it was in the range.
Rubio also continued his argument that he is better positioned than governors to be president due to national security issues. And he tried to knock down talk that he's like another sweet-talking first-term Senator.
“Well, I think a governor certainly isn’t dealing with foreign policy in a state capital. It’s an issue that can read a lot about and meet with people and become more informed about but I would also point out that the foreign policy challenges to our country are most significant and complicated – much more so than during the Cold War for example and beyond that I would argue it is the primary obligation of the federal government. You know, education should be an issue we discuss, but that’s largely a state and local function. The economy’s an issue we discuss but the federal government shouldn’t run the economy, it’s job is to create the conditions for economic growth and prosperity. The one thing the federal government and only the federal government can do is provide for our national security and I do think that needs to become a bigger part of our debate and as someone who’s engaged in that debate on a daily basis – I do think it’s advantageous.”
On those that say he would be the perfect running mate:
“Well, I don’t think you can run to be a running mate and if I run for president, it’s cause I want to serve as president and that will be my goal, obviously.”
On the Republican party and Hispanic voters:
“Well, I wouldn’t say that the Republican party has failed to attract Hispanic voters cause they’re Hispanic, we fail to attract them because they are predominantly working class voters who feel that the Republican party doesn’t care about people like them or understand people like them. It’s unfair, it’s not true – but that’s the perception that’s been driven by the left.”
On whether the Republican’s immigration stance is a factor in the lack of Hispanic voters:
“Look it’s a factor, I wouldn’t say it’s a determinative factor; it’s a factor but ultimately that goes back to our national security issues. Our immigration policies in our country should not be built on politics – they should be built on what’s good for America. But I do think that the bigger issue is that you have millions of Americans who are struggling and have been convinced by mass media and the Democrats on the left that the Republican Party doesn’t understand or care about people like them; that we are only here to fight on behalf of the people who are trying to make it and we need to do a better a job of explaining not only is that not true, but the direct opposite is true. The big government helps the politically connected, the big government helps the people who can afford to hire accountants to do their taxes or lobbyists to find loopholes. It’s the people who are trying to make it – the person who’s job will never be created because of big regulations, the entrepreneur trying to start a business out of the spare bedroom in their home. They’re the ones that can’t deal with big government."
On whether his more pragmatic stance on illegal immigration has a negative effect on his chances:
“I don’t – look I think there are some people that are extremely frustrated, they feel they’ve been lied to about immigration over the last two decades and are frustrated by it but I think the vast majority of people in America and in the conservative movement understand that we have to address the mistakes that were made in the past, that have left us with 12 million people here – but they’re not prepared to have that conversation until first they see not that they’re told that they see that immigration laws are going to be enforced and if they believe and if they see that future illegal immigration is going to be under control, then I think they are willing to have a very serious conversation about what do you do with the people that are here illegally for a long time, but have not otherwise violated our laws, and how do we reform our legal immigration system so that it’s merit based not simply family based. But I’ve learned over the last year that you’re not going to be able to have that conversation until you first show people, not tell people, show people that illegal immigration in the future will be under control.”
On his new tax plan:
“My argument is this tax plan is not designed to benefit any single individual. It is designed to benefit the American economy by doing two things – being pro-growth and being pro-family. On the pro-growth side, we want to make America the best place in the world for businesses to take their profits and reinvest it in creating new jobs, new factories, buying new machines, etc. And the way you do that is you tell them the more money you invest in America, the less you’ll owe in taxes. That’s why we eliminate the capital gains tax, that’s why we eliminate taxes on dividends, that’s why we lower the corporate tax rate to a globally competitive 25%, that’s why we create parity between small business operated as S-corporations and big businesses often operated as C-corporations. You do these things you’re going to have rapid economic growth that’s going to create millions of better paying jobs for all Americans. On the personal side, we simplify the tax rate to 2 simple rates – 35 and 15 percent. 80% of Americans will be paying on the 15% rate that’s a tax cut for them. we also increase the per-child tax credit applicable to both your income taxes and also your payroll taxes to support families with the cost of raising their children that will benefit millions of middle class, hardworking Americans. You do these two things something that empowers individuals and families combined with a pro-growth tax rate and you’re going to see a dramatic growth in our economy, dramatic growth in wages, dramatic growth in productivity.”
“At the end of the day, what hard working Americans need is better paying jobs and the only way you’re going to create better paying jobs is by making America the best place in the world to create them and our tax code as it stands today is an impediment to that.”
“The only way you’re going to deal with debt in America is the combination of rapid economic growth and fiscal discipline.”
On critics saying Sen. Rubio put this plan forward because he is a friend of the “super rich”:
“Well, I always laugh because the majority of people that accuse me of that happen to be millionaires and they are lecturing me, the son of a bartender and a maid, about the plight of the middle class.”
On whether Sen. Rubio would raise the debt limit as president:
“Well, I don’t want to say that I would have a debt default, but I would use the leadership of the presidency to move forward on a debate on entitlement reform in combination with economic growth and regulatory reform. And the argument I would make is we cannot fulfill our full potential, if we don’t have a competitive tax code that makes America the best place in the world to invest and innovate, if we remove regulations that make us uncompetitive in the global marketplace and if we don’t bring our national debt under control. And on that third point, we cannot bring our long term debt under control if we do not reform and save Medicare and Social Security. The ideas are there to do that. It just takes the political will to do it.”
On whether he would means test Social Security:
“I think that could be a component of it especially in terms of how we index the benefit.”
On Boko Haram and ISIS linking up:
“First of all, you have to understand, ISIS is operating in three concentric circles. It’s core is still in Iraq and in Syria and a little bit in Lebanon. Then it has an outer ring that is trying to develop and that is in places like Libya, as you’ve seen with North Africa, but also in Afghanistan, that’s not been discussed enough and what they’re looking there is to absorb existing groups into their fold basically, they call them provinces, but basically outlying groups that pledge allegiance to them. The third ring by the way is in the west both in Europe and ultimately in the United States in trying to aspire lone wolf, you know home grown violent extremist type attacks, but this is part of that second ring where they are looking to absorb existing groups in Afghanistan they’re trying to convince groups to break from the Taliban and al-Qaeda and move towards them and then in North Africa groups like Boko Haram that they absorb.”
On how he would handle the ISIS situation if he were president:
“I think the main thing you have to do is target the inner core, because without the inner core that second ring is irrelevant and you can break that second ring apart and the inner core still is in Syria and in Iraq and as I’ve argued the United States should use its position of leadership to pull together a Sunni army, a Sunni ground force, made up of Egyptians and Jordanians and Saudis and other kingdoms to go in on the ground and confront Sunni terrorists.”
On whether the United States needs boots on the ground to defeat ISIS:
“Well, we would probably need some special operations forces for logistical support and targeting. We would need significant US air support for such an effort, but I think it’s critical that there be Sunni fighters on the ground confronting a Sunni extremist movement. If we fail to do that, we’ve basically outsourced the entire operation to Shia militias under the complete control of the Iranian revolutionary guard and in essence we’re creating a pattern where even after ISIS is defeated Iraq is going to become a sectarian battle ground for decades to come creating future ISIS problems or ISIS type problems but also creating a node of complete influence for the Iranian regime.”
On how the U.S. will know who its allies are:
“Well, on the Sunni side it goes back to having that Sunni army on the ground and that’s why it’s so critical that it be a Sunni oriented group so that these Sunni communities feel protected, they don’t feel that this is their conquering Shia army or conquering Western army because that creates long term problems. There will be a U.S. element to it and I’m not arguing to you that the future for Iraq is going to be neat – but I can tell you that in the absence of some sort of an inclusive government in Iraq that has spaces for the Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shia – you may see that country break apart or you may see it under the complete dominance of a Shia puppet state for Iran.”