Consider this Rubio riff at 6:15 a.m.: “... children that are born into broken families, living in substandard housing in dangerous neighborhoods, with no access to healthcare, with a difficulty accessing good schools — these kids have five strikes against them. They are going to struggle to make it.”
Rubio also turned the argument on Obamacare against liberals. He said that, like most “big government" programs, Obamacare isn’t a problem for corporations who can hire lawyers and lobbyists to game the system. It hurts the little guy, Rubio said.
Another benefit for Rubio: far-right conservatives were cheering him for standing with Cruz and speaking so well. It was a good way for Rubio to put more time and distance between himself and the bipartisan immigration bill he helped pass and that cost him tea-party points.
On the Senate floor, Rubio addressed the importance of health insurance to immigrants and, especially, Hispanics. It’s an important issue in a state like Florida where as many as 35 percent of Hispanics (who account for 23 percent of the population and 14 percent of the voter rolls) are uninsured.
Rubio noted that pro-Obamacare ads are running on Spanish-language TV.
"It’s enticing," he said of ads that promise cheap and nearly free insurance. "But that’s not what going to happen." He said workers will get their hours cut and they’ll get poor insurance.
"Not only are they going to be upset," Rubio said. "They’re going to be livid."
For Miami viewers (assuming they were up at 6 a.m. watching C-SPAN), the speeches of Rubio and, especially, Cruz were remarkable for another reason: Both are sons of Cuban exiles. Along with Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, Cuban-Americans are the only Hispanics in the U.S. Senate.
Said Cruz to Rubio: "You inspire me."
But if they run against each other for president, will that still be true?