Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio announced his presidential bid framing the elections as a “generational choice” and promising to lead the nation into “another American century.”
“Grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired by the promise of our future, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America,” Rubio said to his cheerful supporters announcing his candidacy in Miami.
The 43-year-old senator is the youngest among the declared presidential candidates and signaled that he is going to use it as a campaign tool.
“The time has come for our generation to lead the way toward a new American century,” Rubio said promoting himself as the choice for young generation.
Rubio also took a swing at Hillary Clinton, who announced her presidential bid from Democratic Party just a day ago.
"Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday," he said referring to Clinton "began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. But yesterday is over, and we are never going back."
The 67-year-old former First Lady will be the oldest presidential candidate from Democratic Party if she could secure a nomination.
Coming from a family of Cuban immigrants, Rubio’s selection of venue for his announcement was also symbolic.
He made his announcement in the Freedom Tower in Miami, which was used as a processing center for incoming Cuban immigrants in 60s and 70s.
“My parents achieved what came to be known as the American Dream,” Rubio said, “But now, too many Americans are starting to doubt whether achieving that dream is still possible,” portraying himself as the person to restore the American dream.
Rubio’s most important accomplishment during his term as a senator was pushing a sweeping bipartisan immigration bill with provisions enabling a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants through the Senate in 2013, although the bill was later killed in the Republican controlled House of Representatives.
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rubio proposed a hawkish stance promising America will accept “the mantle of global leadership” if he becomes president.
He also criticized President Barack Obama’s foreign policy citing “dangerous concessions to Iran” and “hostility” toward Israel.
Rubio is the third senator from the Republican Party to announce his presidential campaign after Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, another candidate with Cuban origins.
However, the strongest challenger to his possible nomination is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is expected to announce his own presidential bid in the near future.
At the beginning of his political career, Rubio was considered as the prodigy of Bush, and served as the speaker of Florida House of Representatives during Bush’s governorship.
A presidential run by Bush would make it very difficult to find donors for Rubio as they will fight for the same pool and former governor has an advantage as son of a former president and brother of another, and his already existing connections.
“I live in an exceptional country where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege,” Rubio said during his announcement speech, referencing to contrast between him and Bush.
Rubio is in the middle of the Republican political spectrum as he is neither considered a firebrand conservative like Ted Cruz nor he is seen as too close to Democrats like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is also expected to announce his campaign soon.
He plans to use his position to get support from both conservative and mainstream wings of the party but it may also be dangerous for him if he fails to find a solid base to adhere.
Polls show single digit support numbers for Rubio from republican primary voters among other potential and declared candidates as he trails Jeb Bush and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.
However, his chief of staff Alfredo Ortega said he believes Rubio will overcome the hurdles and win because he is a “phenomenal politician.”