WASHINGTON - Florida Senator Marco Rubio was the voice of the Republican party Tuesday night, when he responded to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, in both English and Spanish.
After a brief introduction explaining his immigrant roots, Rubio began the speech that criticized the President's second-term agenda. He says it will bring more tax increases and deficit spending and hurt middle-class families at the expense of growth.
Throughout the speech, Rubio targeted the idea of "big government." He said that while the President believes the key to solving the economic downturn is by putting more taxes in place, that is not the solution.
"More government isn't going to get you ahead," Rubio said. "It's going to hold you back." He called on President Obama to simplify the tax code, saying it will make it easier for small businesses to grow.
"We can also help our economy grow if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world's best and brightest," he said. "We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally."
Rubio called for student aid that works for anyone going back to school, whether in the traditional or non-traditional sense.
The junior senator also took a moment to pay tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, calling it a heart-breaking moment for the country. But he warned, the nation's response should not go against the law of the land.
"We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country. But unconstitutionally undermining the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it," he said.
As Rubio wrapped up the speech he seemed hopeful for progress, saying that he prays Republicans and Democrats can come together to solve the nation's problems.
But he noted, the solutions will not come from the White House or the Capitol, but rather the American people.
Though Rubio is said to have been planning for his speech for weeks, it was not the Republicans' policies that seemed to attract the most attention in the social media world. Instead, Twitter lit up about the moment Rubio reached off camera for a water bottle.
Rubio tweeted a photo of the water bottle, with the message "#GOPResponse #SOTU #tcot."
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