Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) brought his presidential campaign message Wednesday to a conservative think tank in Washington, where he argued that the country is at a pivotal moment that may be as tumultuous as the Industrial Revolution.
"I would argue to you that we are now living through a period as rapid, as dynamic and as impactful and perhaps more disruptive than the Industrial Revolution," Rubio said.
He used the example of self-checkout systems at grocery stores to explain his point.
"It reminds you that a job has been replaced by a machine," said Rubio. "But it should also remind you that someone had to install that machine. Someone had to design it, someone had to build it, someone has to maintain it and someone needs to be working to replace that machine. We need to be the economy that does those things."
The Florida Republican, who announced his campaign Monday on the theme of guiding the country in a "New American Century," is back in Washington for the early part of this week, with the Senate back in session after a two-week recess. He drew a similar parallel to the Industrial Age in his kickoff speech. (A simple Google search of "Marco Rubio Industrial Revolution" yields more examples.)
This is how Rubio is trying to set himself apart from what is expected to be a packed Republican field in which he starts as a decided underdog.
Rubio made his latest remarks during a Tax Day event at the Heritage Foundation. Rubio and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) made the latest push for their tax reform plan during the program, a proposal they say would simplify the tax code and help middle-class Americans.
But as The Washington Post's Jim Tankersley noted Monday, a key part of Rubio's plan would disproportionately help wealthy Americans. That could make it difficult for him to defend it, especially in a general election in which Democrats would be likely to attack the plan. Here's what Tankersley wrote:
The latest version of Rubio's tax plan, which he released with fellow Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in March, shrinks the income tax down to two rates, lowering the top rate in the process, and includes new tax breaks for working families. It also eliminates all taxes on dividends and capital gains. That's where rich taxpayers cash in. They are overwhelmingly the ones in the economy who draw income from capital, such as holdings and sales of stocks.
Rubio will head to New York and Boston to raise money on Thursday. Then, he is off to New Hampshire, a critical early nominating state, for events on Friday.
In his remarks, Rubio challenged the suggestion that the United States is in a prolonged decline, laying blame for the country's problems squarely at the feet of President Obama.
"America is not in decline," said Rubio. "We just happen to have a period of time where we have a bad president. But we're going to overcome that."