By Morgan Little
2:09 PM PST, February 6, 2013
WASHINGTON – The GOP has picked Marco Rubio to respond to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, giving the Florida senator a chance to trumpet his party’s stances and raise his profile.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch Connell (R-Ky.) announced the decision Wednesday, declaring Rubio to be “a champion of growing the American middle class.”
“I’m honored to have this opportunity to discuss how limited government and free enterprise have helped make my family’s dream come true in America,” Rubio said in a statement.
Rubio has also become, for Republicans looking to moderate their views, a champion for immigration reform. As a member of a bipartisan group of eight senators, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, Rubio has called for comprehensive immigration reform, including the opportunity for citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the country.
And in a nod to the GOP’s growing awareness of its need to appeal to Latino voters, who spurned them in droves during the last election, Rubio will deliver his address in English and Spanish.
“Marco’s own experience as the child of immigrants has always informed his belief in limited government and free enterprise,” McConnell said in a statement.
Rubio also represents, for those already looking toward the next presidential election, a possible candidate for a Republican Party still adjusting its stride after its 2012 presidential defeat.
Rubio joins other Republicans who have provided the GOP response, including former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
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