- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Democrats are going to struggle to convince Americans they’re part of a movement about the future, as he continues to fine-tune his pitch for a “new generation of leadership” in the country.

“I believe Hillary Clinton and her whole party, for the most part, is going to struggle to convince Americans that they are a movement about the future,” Mr. Rubio, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said Thursday on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” program.

Asked if he thought Mrs. Clinton, 67, is too old to be president, Mr. Rubio, 44, said it doesn’t have anything to do with a person’s age, but rather “the age of their ideas.”

“So we have all these people out there today struggling to get ahead — the answer cannot be ‘we’re going to raise the minimum wage by a couple bucks,’” he said. “Ten dollars and 10 cents doesn’t solve the problem for someone.

“We need to figure out how can we help people that are making nine dollars an hour to make 30 dollars an hour?” he continued. “And the only way that’s going to happen is if you have an economy that produces that $30-an-hour job and that person has the skills that that job requires. And the answer to both of those questions today is no.”

In a videotaped message earlier in the week to an economic forum hosted by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Mr. Rubio had criticized “outdated leaders” and said the time has come for a “new generation of leaders.”

Other 40-somethings who are either running for president or are seriously considering runs on the Republican side include Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, 44, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, 47, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, 43.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is running, is 52, as is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is laying the groundwork for a possible bid.

One of Mr. Rubio’s top GOP rivals could be former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 62, who spoke in person at the forum and said he didn’t think the comments were directed at him.

“It’s kind of hard to imagine that my good friend Marco would be critical of his good friend Jeb,” Mr. Bush told reporters with a smile, according to the New York Times.

Mr. Rubio, for his part, also offered praise for the GOP field, which grew larger Thursday with the addition of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

“I always tell people as a Republican, I’m glad that we have so many good candidates. The Democrats are struggling to come up with one,” Mr. Rubio said. “So I think it’s great that we have so many good candidates — I believe this field is going to produce the next president, potentially the next vice president, maybe a future president, and cabinet officers. And we’re going to have a vibrant, spirited primary where that … competition is going to drive excellence and ultimately give us a stronger nominee.”

“These are quality people that are going to be well-financed and have a good message — we agree on a lot of issues; we have some differences. We’ll talk about those. But I think from a competitive process like this, you get a better nominee — someone who’s been tested, someone who’s had to spend time working with people to fine-tune both their ideas and their delivery and I think competition drives excellence, so it’s a good thing,” he said.

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