2016 Presidential Candidates: Marco Rubio Emerges as Frontrunner After Iowa Fundraiser

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) attended an Iowa Republican fundraiser on Saturday, prompting speculation about a potential 2016 presidential run. 

The Cuban-American senator, who along with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal criticized 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's comments that president Obama won reelection because of the "gifts" he offered minorities, was invited to the event by Governor Terry Brandstad.

On the heels of Romney's November 6 defeat, Iowa Republicans agreed on the need to "turn the page" and "look to the future," which now includes distancing oneself from Romney's divisive sore loser comments.

Rubio, the event's featured speaker, pretty much delineated a conservative political platform by stressing the importance of both family and economic growth as critical for the success of the middle class as well as the country's fiscal situation. 

The young senator then tied this idea to foreign policy by highlighting how strengthening America's middle class and putting our fiscal house in order was paramount to the country's place in the world. He added that American exceptionalism was important not only to the U.S. but also to the world. 

Rubio went on with nice-sounding talking points such as, “the way to turn our economy around is not by making rich people poorer; it’s by making poor people richer.” He also commented on the contentious issue of immigration, calling for the need of improving the country's immigration system and developing a path to citizenship "for some illegal immigrants." 

Rubio sprinkled the speech with his compelling personal story as a first generation American son of Cuban exiles who were able to provide a better lifestyle for their children than the one they had back at home. 

“I just think he’s the future [of the GOP],” Brandstad said. “He’s the kind of leadership that we need, and I think he’s a very intelligent, articulate, and he is a great example of the American dream, and that’s exactly what we have to make available for more and more people," the Iowa governor added.

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