Sen. Marco Rubio to give GOP response to Obama speech

3:16 PM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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Marco Rubio. Credit: AP/file.

By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union Address next Tuesday.

Rubio, a rising GOP star who is taking a lead role in his party on overhauling the nation's immigration system, was elected in 2010 with Tea Party support.

He was considered by Mitt Romney to be the GOP vice presidential pick last year, and has been frequently mentioned as a 2016 presidential candidate.

Rubio's speech duty was announced Wednesday by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Rubio is no stranger to speaking in the spotlight. The Florida senator delivered a prime-time address on Romney's behalf during the Republican National Convention, and he has been doing many TV and radio interviews in recent days on behalf of a bipartisan Senate plan to revamp the nation's immigration laws.

Obama has made immigration one of his top legislative priorities in his second term. The issue poses political challenges for both parties, particularly Republicans as they try to improve their standing with Latino voters.

The Senate framework that Rubio supports includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the U.S. - which Republicans such as Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas have criticized as amnesty. The Senate guidelines, which still must be written into legislation, call for stronger border security and improved ways for employers to verify the legal status of workers before the status of illegal immigrants can be address.

Boehner said Rubio's remarks will speak "from the heart to the hopes and dreams of the middle class; to our party's commitment to life and liberty; and to the unlimited potential of America when government is limited and effective."



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