New Marco Rubio Faces Key Test
That's the impression I got after interviewing him at length on immigration and U.S.-Latin American relations last week.
During the interview, Rubio -- who, if picked to be on the ballot in November would become the first Hispanic on a presidential ticket -- stayed a prudent distance from the most extreme foreign policy stands of his hard-line Republican colleagues in
On immigration, Rubio, opposes President
Asked whether Romney hasn't alienated Latinos by wholeheartedly embracing
He said that Romney's statements on immigration during the primaries "reflect the legitimate frustration with a runaway immigration problem," and added that the media have not placed enough attention on Romney's "robust support for legal immigration."
When pressed on the Republicans' anti-immigrant stands, Rubio admitted that "there are minority voices within the Republican party that have used a very negative rhetoric." He added that his alternative Dream Act proposal "is a great opportunity for the
Rubio is expected to present his alternative Dream Act around June, at about the time when he comes out with an autobiographical book, and before Romney is expected to make his decision on a running mate.
Right now, Romney has a big problem with Latino voters, which has helped fuel speculation about Rubio's vice-presidential nomination. Obama leads Romney by a whopping 67 percent to 27 percent among Latino voters in the most recent Pew Research Poll.
Asked whether he agrees with a recent proposal by his conservative Republican colleagues in the House calling for adoption of "counterinsurgency tactics" to combat an alleged "terrorist insurgency" in
On a similar bill by House conservative Republicans to cut by 20 percent the U.S. funding to the 34-country
Asked about his House conservative colleagues' call to have the
He explained that
My opinion: Rubio is a smart, charming and smooth politician who has embraced horrendous positions on immigration and other issues in the past. Now, he is trying to become a Hispanic politician with national appeal who can help Romney solve his problem with Latino voters, and is shifting somewhat to the center.
That's great. But before I conclude that I like the new Rubio much better, I would like to see whether -- in addition to using a more compassionate rhetoric on immigration -- he can sway a significant number of Republicans into voting for a meaningful Dream Act bill.
If he can break the current congressional deadlock on immigration, Rubio will be much more than a charmer. He will become a game changer, and a
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New Marco Rubio Faces Key Test | Politics
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