Sen. Marco Rubio, 43, of Florida says he’s running for president in 2016 and feels “uniquely qualified” to pitch the GOP as a defender of the American Dream as he dinged Democratic frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as a “leader from yesterday.”
Mr. Rubio, who is to become the third major Republican presidential candidate in the race, told donors on a conference call Monday that the coming presidential campaign is a choice between the past and the future, The Associated Press reported.
“The Republican party, for the first time in a long time, has a chance in this election to be the party of the future,” Mr. Rubio reportedly told his donors. “Just yesterday, we heard from a leader from yesterday who wants to take us back to yesterday, but I feel that this country has always been about tomorrow.”
Mr. Rubio, first elected in 2010, is planning a formal announcement later Monday at a rally in Miami. On Sunday, Mrs. Clinton became the first major candidate to jump into the 2016 race for the White House on the Democratic side.
Propelled to victory in 2010 in part by the tea party movement, Mr. Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has emerged as a leading voice against the Obama administration’s overseas policies in the Middle East.
As a first-generation American whose parents left Cuba, he has criticized the administration’s reconfiguring of relations with the communist island.
Mr. Rubio lost favor with some conservatives for embracing a comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013 before he later backed away from it.
He joins fellow freshman Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who recently announced presidential bids of their own, in the race and could also be squaring off against fellow Floridian and former Gov. Jeb Bush in the contest for the GOP nomination.