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Marco Rubio in Huntsville: Vows to rebuild military, space program


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marco-rubio-in-huntsville-vows-to.htmlInterstellar News:

From taking the stage to "Sweet Home Alabama" to promising to restore American prominence in national defense and the space program, Marco Rubio cast a wide net for votes at a campaign rally in Huntsville on Saturday.


The Republican presidential hopeful, stumping in the Rocket City three days before the Super Tuesday primary, fired salvos at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and talked about preserving the American dream.


"When you elect me president, we are going to undertake a Reagan-style rebuilding of the military," said Rubio, speaking to a crowd his campaign estimated at 3,000 people. "And that includes the space program. The space program is a key part of our national security. There is a reason the Chinese is practicing blowing up our satellites.


"Great nations do great things. We are going back to space."


Rubio arrived about 5:40 p.m. at the rally after participating in a candidate forum in Birmingham earlier in the day. He was scheduled to attend a private fundraiser in Huntsville following the rally.


Unlike a campaign stop in Guntersville in December, Rubio held nothing back when it came to Trump – the GOP frontrunner who will hold his own rally in Madison on Sunday. The Florida senator paced across the stage, his voice rising to drive his point home.


"He is preying on people who are vulnerable and struggling paycheck to paycheck," Rubio said of Trump, "people who have worked as hard as they can and feel like they are running in place."


In fact, Rubio took the stage at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and almost immediately went after Trump.

"He is pulling a con game on the conservative movement and the Republican Party," Rubio said.


As for Clinton, Rubio said the former Secretary of State is "unqualified" and "disqualified" from being president because of using a private server for State Department emails as well as her handling of Benghazi, where four Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya.


"She told their families they died because of a movie but she knew they died because of a terrorist attack," Rubio said. "Anyone who lies to the families of those who lost lives in the service of their country can never be commander-and-chief of the United States of America."


Rubio also touted his chances of defeating Clinton, if she wins the Democratic nomination, in the general election in November.


"Hillary Clinton doesn't want to run against me but I can't wait to run against her," he said.


At separate times in his speech, Rubio asked veterans in the audience to raise their hands along with police officers and firefighters, thanking them for their service. He said many stories in the media negatively portray the work done by police officers and firefighters.


"I want to thank them for keeping us safe," he said.


Among the crowd were families who brought their children to hear Rubio speak. Brandon Miller's three children held posters that spelled out: "OUR FUTURE @ STAKE."


"In the end, it's all about them," Miller said of his children Isabella, Gabriel and Madison before the rally began. "This affects their future way more than ours."


Rubio repeatedly invoked the "American dream" phrase in his speech, telling what's become the familiar story of his parents emigrating from Cuba to the U.S. to build a better life for their children.


"My parents didn't achieve financial success and didn't become famous but they were successful," said Rubio, citing the success he and his siblings have found in the U.S.


"The American dream is not about how much money you make. It's about the God-given right to life liberty and to pursue happiness. If we lose the American dream, if we ever become like one of those countries whose future depends on who your parents are, then we stop being a special country."


At another point, Rubio said that the American dream should not be considered "a given."


"If we stay on the road that we're on, we will lose the American dream," he said. "We will lose what makes us special. We must act now. The American dream that makes us special, it was not an accident. It was a special country because of the people who came before us.


"Each generation did what needed to be done. They confronted their challenges. They embraced their opportunities. For 200 years, we have been a country where parents have left this country better for their kids."

Arthur Abrantes brought his wife and four children to hear Rubio speak, saying that he seems to check just about every box for a conservative candidate.


"He's a respectful person," Abrantes said before Rubio arrived. "His life story is very inspiring."


Rubio also promised to repeal all of President Obama's "illegal" executive actions.


"We're going to have a lot of work to do after eight years of damage, after years of changing the United States to be more like the rest of the world," Rubio said.


And as he wrapped up his speech and made a final plea for votes, he circled back around to Trump.

"Friends do not let friends vote for a con artist," Rubio said.

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