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How Rubio tried to personalize his tax reform pitch in Detroit on Thursday

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, tours the Iowa State Fair. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)
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Marco Rubio sought to personalize his tax reform pitch during a speech before the Detroit Economic Club on Thursday by explaining how his plan would impact a hypothetical single mother and a small business owner working in the automotive industry.

The Republican presidential hopeful, whose speech came in the midst of a Midwest campaign swing, also continued his attacks against Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. And said that both Democrats and Republicans in Washington are to blame for the struggles of middle-class Americans.

Rubio talked about how his tax plan would impact "David," a fictional auto service shop owner, and "Danielle," a fictional single mother working at the shop's front desk.

"While their names may be fiction, their stories are all too real," Rubio said. "People like David and Danielle have no lobbyists in Washington. Both parties have let them down in the past. But history is going judge us by what we do next."

Rubio, a Florida senator who has criticized the 2008 and 2009 auto bailout, also sought to highlight the city where he delivered his remarks, and the struggles it has endured. Democrats hit Mitt Romney hard over his opposition to the auto bailout in the 2012 campaign and they are prepared to make a similar case against Rubio.

Together with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rubio has released a tax reform plan that would slash the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent, expand the child tax credit to as much as $2,500 and create two personal income tax brackets, 15 percent and 35 percent. The Wall Street Journal editorial board has expressed skepticism about the plan.

Rubio argued that his plan would enable David to increase Danielle's wages and Danielle to keep more of her earnings.

"If we continue to cling to an outdated tax code, a failing higher education system, and numerous policies that make it harder for businesses to grow and opportunities to flourish, then we will be the first generation in our history to pass a weaker America on to our children," Rubio said. "But if we embrace The New American Economy, we will put David and Danielle and million of people like them in control of their own destinies, and within reach of their American Dreams."

Rubio also singled out Clinton in his ongoing quest to draw a generational contrast with the former secretary of state, saying she "believes the way to win the race for the future is to drive in reverse -- to revert back to more regulations, higher taxes, and bigger government."

Democrats quickly criticized Rubio's plan for David and Danielle.

"They could have to pay more in taxes, could lose their health care, and might not be able to help their children pay for college," said Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Christina Freundlich in a statement. "The burden would be shifted to them. David and Danielle’s jobs could have been at risk if Rubio had his way and let Detroit go bankrupt."

Rubio is fresh off a two-day campaign swing through Iowa. He will campaign in Ohio on Friday and Saturday.