United States Sen. Marco Rubio is running for the White House next year with a call to Americans to make a “generational choice” for new leadership.
Rubio, 43, a Republican from Florida, presented himself as a fresh face who could find new approaches needed to solve US challenges and compete in a global economy, Reuters reported Tuesday.
He criticized Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton as a leader stuck in “yesterday”.
“The time has come for our generation to lead the way to a new American century,” Rubio told a cheering crowd at Miami’s Freedom Tower, where thousands of Cuban exiles fleeing the Communist-run island in the 1960s were first registered by US authorities.
Rubio, a son of Cuban immigrants who rode the anti-establishment Tea Party wave of 2010 to national prominence, said voters could not choose leaders who were stuck in the ideas of the past.
“We must change the decisions we are making by changing the people who are making them,” he said. “This election is not just about what laws we will pass. It is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be.”
Without naming Clinton, who announced her candidacy on Sunday, Rubio made reference to “a leader from yesterday” who had “announced her campaign yesterday.”
“But yesterday is over, and we are never going back,” he said. “We Americans are proud of our history, but our country has always been about the future.”
Rubio’s relative youth contrasts with Clinton, who is 67 and has been on the national political scene for more than 20 years, initially as first lady and later as a US senator and then secretary of state.
Rubio’s call for new leadership also could be seen as an attempt to step out of the shadows of his political mentor, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the son and brother of former presidents.
Rubio is likely to compete for donors and endorsements with Bush, who has been lining up support for a White House bid but has not yet formally entered the race.
Rubio will be the third Republican to formally announce a White House bid after senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Rubio’s support registers in single digits in opinion polls of the likely contenders in a Republican presidential field.
But aides believe Rubio, who was on 2012 nominee Mitt Romney’s short list for vice president, will rise when voters take a closer look at him.
Rubio will be competing for the limelight with Clinton, who grabbed worldwide attention with the declaration of her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Sunday.
Clinton will hit the campaign trail in Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday. Iowa holds the kickoff contest in the parties’ presidential nominating process early next year.
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