- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida says New Hampshire voters can expect many opportunities to engage with him directly in town hall-style events if he makes a bid for the White House.

“If I run for president, we’re going to do as many of those as we possibly can; I enjoy that forum,” Rubio told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Voters will have a chance to ask Rubio questions during a public meeting Monday in Hollis. Rubio also will sign copies of his book, “American Dreams,” in Manchester on Monday and deliver the keynote address at the “Politics & Eggs” forum on Tuesday. It will be Rubio’s first trip to the early voting state of New Hampshire since the midterm elections, when he campaigned with Republican candidates Walt Havenstein, Scott Brown and Marilinda Garcia.

Rubio hasn’t decided on a presidential bid but recently hired Jim Merrill, a former New Hampshire aide to Mitt Romney, to help run his political action committee’s efforts here.

He will face stiff competition in New Hampshire from a crowded field of candidates, including his political mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But Rubio says he won’t get in the race if he doesn’t think he can win.

“Assuming we decide to run for president, we’re going to build a campaign that is competitive,” he said. “If I run for president it won’t be for purposes of being part of a process, it will be to win.”

Rubio, whose parents moved from Cuba to the United States, said he doesn’t believe the country is on a path that will help more people achieve the American dream. He has been traveling the country to promote his book, which highlights some of the ways he hopes to expand and restore opportunity.

But Rubio said he believes foreign policy may emerge as the top issue of the 2016. It’s an area, he said, where he’ll stand out from Republican governors also seeking the nomination.

“I have a history now of making judgments and taking positions on national security issues that voters are going to be able to weigh in making their determination,” he said.

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