clear
Sunday August 2nd, 2015 4:18AM

Rubio makes first post-election trip to Iowa

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) -- Sen. Marco Rubio said the way to turn around the nation's struggling economy is not to raise taxes on the wealthiest individuals, but rather to make "poor people richer" as he visited this politically important state in a trip certain to stoke speculation about Rubio's plans.

Ostensibly, Rubio's visit to this early nominating state was for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's birthday party. But the political implications of Rubio's visit were clear from the start as the Republican Party looks ahead to 2016's presidential contest.

"For Gov. Branstad's birthday, his 66th," Rubio said, flashing a grin when asked what he was doing in the state.

But his birthday wishes for Branstad were more like a roadmap for his party looking for a new direction and an argument for a Rubio presidential campaign.

Lower taxes to spur economic growth. A compassionate immigration overhaul to help those who want to become Americans. Reduced regulation to let small businesses grow. Stronger families to give children more stability at home.

In a 24-minute, campaign-style pitch to fellow Republicans, Rubio ticked through conservative goals while urging his party not to lose hope in the wake of Mitt Romney's loss on Election Day. He said the results should not be taken as a rejection of Republicans' views.

"We need to do a better job of going out and convincing our fellow Americans who perhaps don't see things the way we do," Rubio said.

At the center of that sales pitch: higher take-home pay for all Americans.

"The way to turn our economy around is not by making rich people poorer, it's by making poor people richer," Rubio said, criticizing President Barack Obama's insistence that taxes for those making more than $250,000 increase as part of a deal to avoid pending automatic budget cuts and tax hikes.

Rubio also blamed Congress for that looming threat.

"Look at this fiscal cliff. I don't know if any of you have heard about this," Rubio said to chuckles. "You know who created that? Congress."

Rubio, once considered a possible Romney running mate, is seen as a rising star among Republicans. Charismatic and youthful, the 41-year-old stands in sharp contrast to the 65-year-old Romney, who struggled to connect with voters.

"I've been sensing a lot of folks are just trying to figure out what this all means in this new era, with this election having passed," Rubio told reporters.

"I think we're all going to move on and move forward," Rubio said.

That doesn't mean trading principles for votes, he cautioned, and he was careful to defend Romney.

"We wish him all the best and hope his voice stays involved in the American political process," Rubio told the crowd.

Branstad was more blunt. He said the party was ready to "turn the page" on the Romney candidacy and praised Rubio as the "kind of inspirational leader that's going to help point us in the right direction."

In the less than two weeks since Romney's loss, Republican officials have been plotting a comeback for the party and many have urged a shift in the way leaders sell the GOP's message to voters - especially Hispanic and younger voters.

Among the one in 10 voters who were Hispanic, Obama carried 71 percent of them, according to exit polls. And among the 19 percent of voters under the age of 30, Obama carried 60 percent.

Rubio, a Cuban-American who has criticized his party at times on immigration policy, could help Republicans make inroads with the growing demographic group of Hispanics.

"People understand that we need to do something to address those issues and they want to do that in a reasonable and responsible way," Rubio told reporters.

The visit - so soon after Election Day - is among the first hints of a field of contenders for 2016. It was roughly this time four years ago that Romney started pushing his national profile ahead of a second presidential bid; his New York Times op-ed "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" was published on Nov. 18, 2008.

Of course, none of the potential candidates are anywhere close to deciding on a White House run, let alone announcing it. But early trips like this one start to introduce the politicians to the local activists and volunteers that fuel the early nominating states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Rubio joked he was surprised "people so far from Florida even care what I have to say."
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 2 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Ga. ethics legislation could end free tickets
General Assembly approval next year of a proposed ethics reform measure could endanger an important fall tradition for Georgia lawmakers - free football tickets.
6:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Abortion restrictions, tax changes loom in Ga.
Tax breaks for manufacturers and higher unemployment taxes for employers take effect with the new year in Georgia, but it remains to be seen whether the state's newest abortion restrictions will be enforced.
6:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Budget battle sends mixed signals on health care
Confused about the federal budget struggle? So are doctors, hospital administrators and other medical professionals who serve the 100 million Americans covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
6:20PM ( 2 years ago )
Politics
Atlanta airport again leads in number of guns found in bags
Atlanta's airport once again leads the nation in the number of guns found in carry-on bags.
By The Associated Press
6:49PM ( 9 hours ago )
Judge blocks release of new recordings by anti-abortion group
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge on Friday blocked the release of any recordings made at meetings of an abortion providers' association by an anti-abortion group that previously revealed secretly...
8:30AM ( 19 hours ago )
Firefighter killed battling blaze in California forest
ALTURAS, Calif. (AP) — A U.S. Forest Service firefighter from South Dakota has been killed battling one of more than a dozen wildfires raging across California, Forest Service officials said Friday ni...
12:31AM ( 1 day ago )
'Gut-wrenching' decision: Search for teens suspended
OPA-LOCKA, Fla. (AP) — After hundreds of rescue workers fanned out across a massive swath of the Atlantic for a full week, the Coast Guard's search for two teenage fishermen ended Friday, a heart-rend...
10:42PM ( 1 day ago )
Clinton releases tax, health records on busy Friday
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband paid close to $44 million in federal taxes since 2007 and she is in "excellent physical condition" — two facts that emerged Friday in a flood o...
7:59PM ( 1 day ago )