"As far as national security, let me just say, I, obviously, am not happy about the events that happened last week in Paris, but I think it's a positive development that it suddenly has cast — forced Americans to confront more carefully the issue of national security, because it is the most important thing a president will do and that is the most important function of the federal government," Rubio said.
He continued: "And I hope that we focus on that more, not just for political advantage, but because the world has become a very dangerous place. It's not just radical jihad. It’s the Chinese military buildup, it’s Russian aggression, it’s North Korea’s dozens of nuclear warheads, it’s Iran's desire to acquire a nuclear weapon capability. These are all very real risks, and we are eviscerating our military capabilities at a time when the world is growing more dangerous."
Democrats quickly criticized Rubio's remarks and posted a clip of the exchange online.
"That he had to go back and explain that the terror attacks merited greater attention ‘not just for political advantage’ reinforces how disrespectful and irresponsible his comments were. This is why Marco Rubio is no foreign policy expert," Democratic National Committee spokesman Luis Miranda said in a statement.
Rubio spokesman Alex Conant responded to Miranda's comments by saying, "The DNC is so obviously terrified of the generational choice offered by Marco, they're not letting the truth get in the way of their attacks. The DNC's obsession with Marco must mean we're doing something right."
Rubio released his first television ad of the campaign on Sunday, a 30-second commercial in which he warns: "What happened in Paris could happen here. There is no middle ground. These aren't disgruntled or dis-empowered people. These are radical terrorists who want to kill us because we let women drive, because we let girls go to school."