Rubio to Conservatives: We’ll Support the Nominee
(WASHINGTON) -- Marco Rubio stepped onto the stage at CPAC knowing that part of his job was to jolt conservatives while telling them that they’ll have to support the Republican nominee for president -- even if it’s not exactly who they want.
The sprawling ballroom at the Marriott in northwest Washington, D.C., had filled up to hear the hero of the conservative movement speak. He was introduced by someone who called him a future president. He got a standing ovation before he even said a word.
“He is a terrible president,” Rubio said of President Obama as the crowd erupted in cheers. “He cannot run on his record,” and he “has decided to pit Americans against each other,” the Florida senator said.
Noting that the Republican candidates have tried to portray themselves as the most like Ronald Reagan, Rubio jabbed that, “the Democrats never fight over who’s more like Jimmy Carter.”
Rubio said he loves the GOP primary, and he told the people at the Conservative Political Action Conference not to “let the media convince you” that the process will divide the Republican Party. Instead, he said, all Republicans will come together behind the nominee.
Despite Rubio’s plea to the conservative movement, it’s unclear whether the message got through. When one of the first speakers at CPAC ran through the list of candidates, Romney got only tepid applause, while Rick Santorum’s name brought about whoops and cheers.
Rubio, who has been on observers’ short lists as a nominee for vice president, spent most of his speech lambasting Obama on Medicare, energy, his cuts in the military and the White House’s recent contraception mandate.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio