- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a first-term senator who is considering a run for president, says he’s no President Obama, who famously left in the middle of his first term in the chamber for the White House.

“We have very talented governors that are thinking about running for president. As a Republican, I’m glad that our party has such a deep bench of individuals potentially prepared to lead our country,” Mr. Rubio told Fox News host Neil Cavuto this week. “The Democrats can’t even come up with one good candidate. We have six or seven. That’s a good thing.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for one, has said the U.S. isn’t going to want to choose another young, untested U.S. senator in 2016 after electing Mr. Obama in 2008. Along with Mr. Rubio, first-term Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas are also considering presidential runs on the Republican side.

“I would say that my experience has been quite different than President Obama’s. He was a backbencher in the state legislature in Illinois; I was in leadership all nine years that I served there, including two as Speaker of the House,” Mr. Rubio said of his time in the Florida legislature.

“He basically served two uneventful years in the U.S. Senate before starting to run for president. For the better part of four years, not only have I served in the Senate and achieved some things, but [I] have been very engaged in both foreign policy issues and intelligence issues, given my role on those committees, and I think foreign policy’s [going to] have a big part of our debate in 2016,” he said.

Mr. Rubio said while a governor can read about and learn about foreign policy, it’s not something they deal with in a state capital, and that foreign policy challenges to the country are significant and complicated.

“And beyond that, I would argue that it is the primary obligation of the federal government,” Mr. Rubio said.

Education and the economy are certainly issues to be discussed, but education is largely a state and local function and the federal government shouldn’t run the economy, he said.

“The one thing the federal government and only the federal government can do is provide for our national security, and I do think that needs to become a bigger part of our debate, and as someone who’s engaged in that debate on a daily basis, I do think it’s advantageous,” Mr. Rubio said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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