Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida will be delivering his party's rebuttal to the president's State of the Union address tonight. Advance speech excerpts released by Rubio situate him as a descendent of Cuban-American immigrants -- one who still lives where he's from, and one who carries his community's commitment to the American free enterprise system close to heart. That makes sense, as his is a community he often brings up in remarks in a way that makes him sound both more regional and more grounded than the average U.S. Senator bursting onto the national stage. The excerpts:
This opportunity - to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life - it isn't bestowed on us from Washington. It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs. Presidents in both parties - from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan - have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity. But President Obama? He believes it's the cause of our problems.
Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren't millionaires. They're retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They're workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They're immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy. The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose will hurt middle class families. It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs. And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security. So Mr. President, I don't oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.