Speaking at the Jesse Helms Center in Wingate, North Carolina, Rubio recalled how in 1976 Helms and Ronald Reagan forced passage of a “morality in foreign policy” plank to the Republican Party platform which declared that “The goal of Republican foreign policy is the achievement of liberty under law and a just and lasting peace in the world.” This same principle, Rubio said, should animate the Republican Party’s foreign policy today. Rubio declared:

I am mindful of Ronald Reagan’s example—and of Jesse Helms’. I am guided by their understanding that America’s strength lies in its ideals, and that if we are to make this century another American century, we must be prepared to fight for those ideals…. If we refuse to play our rightful role and shrink from the world, America and the entire world will pay a terrible price. And it is our responsibility to clearly outline to the American people what our proper role in the world is and what American interests are at stake when we engage abroad.

Rubio then went on to do just that — explaining his vision of America’s interests and our role from the Middle East to Latin America. Now it is time for the GOP candidates to do the same.

It’s what we should have heard from the presidential debate stage Monday night, but didn’t.

You can watch Rubio’s full speech here:

And read it here.