Marco Rubio's speech to Iowa business leaders has hints of 2016

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Marco Rubio is the man of the hour, with speculation swarming around the potential of him joining the GOP presidential ticket. There is no doubt that Rubio is building a strong brand for himself, but is he looking to join in the race for this November, or November 2016?

Several scheduled public appearances have speculators buzzing about the senator’s intentions.

Thursday, Rubio spent time on Capitol Hill speaking to a group of influential Iowa business people who were there on a visit. Rubio’s speech was characterized as passionate and engaging—a marked improvement over attempts by many Republicans campaigning in the state last fall.

Next notable stop for the Florida senator is the Silver Elephant Dinner in Columbia, SC, where he will speak to an audience in another important early voting state.

Recently, Rubio themed a speech on American exceptionalism, telling the story of his parents emigrating from Cuba, seeking a better life in America. His audience was te Greater Des Moines Partnership.

“The American example is powerful, and as I stand before you today there’s still nothing to replace it. If America declines, there’s no one to take our place,” said Rubio. “There’s no other country on this planet prepared to be what we once were. If we decline, who rises?”

Rubio was not on-the-nose about his intentions, but some sensed many campaign traits in the speech. Also, Rubio’s introduction by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley put a finer point on things.

“Somebody might ask him whether or not he’s going to run for vice president. I don’t know what the answer is, but let me tell you this, let me tell you what I know about Sen. Rubio,” said Grassley. “If he decides a call, it’s not going to be based upon the Republican candidate for president making that call. It’s not going to be based on doing something good for the Republican Party. I know Sen. Rubio, that he’s only going to do it because America calls.”

Formally Rubio deflects all conversations surround the potential of him running as VP for the GOP. He maintains that he is focused on his job as a senator for Florida. Rubio also talks about his intentions in the coming months to introduce an alternative to the DREAM Act, which is an immigration reform bill that failed to garner bipartisan support.

Rubio also has made comments of weariness regarding election year politics possibly serving as a roadblock for his efforts regarding immigration reform. He addressed a pointed question about immigration reform from an Iowan:

“The White House has been intending to use this issue as a wedge issue in the election.  And so they have actively met with many of the kids, advocates, who have pushed for the DREAM Act, and asked them not to work with us,” said Rubio. “So far that hasn’t worked.”

Rubio also has expressed that he feels pressure from the GOP on the issue as well, many of whom view the top priority for immigration reform to be securing America’s borders.

Rubio, indeed, is at the to of many speculative VP short-lists, and his recent speaking engagements have certainly added fuel to that fire not to mention the book he has scheduled for release in June of this year.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.