Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was tapped by Republican leaders to give the partyís response, in English and Spanish, to the State of the Union.
Below are Rubioís English remarks as prepared for delivery.
Good evening. Iím Marco Rubio. Iím blessed to represent Florida in the United States Senate. Let me begin by congratulating President Obama on the start of his second term. Tonight, I have the honor of responding to his State of the Union address on behalf of my fellow Republicans. And I am especially honored to be addressing our brave men and women serving in the armed forces and in diplomatic posts around the world. You may be thousands of miles away, but you are always in our prayers.
The State of the Union address is always a reminder of how unique America is. For much of human history, most people were trapped in stagnant societies, where a tiny minority always stayed on top, and no one else even had a chance.
But America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious, and that everyone everywhere has a God-given right to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.
Like most Americans, for me this ideal is personal. My parents immigrated here in pursuit of the opportunity to improve their life and give their children the chance at an even better one. They made it to the middle class, my dad working as a bartender and my mother as a cashier and a maid. I didnít inherit any money from them. But I inherited something far better Ė the real opportunity to accomplish my dreams.
This opportunity ó to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life ó it isnít bestowed on us from Washington. It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs.
Presidents in both parties ó from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan ó have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity.
But President Obama? He believes itís the cause of our problems. That the economic downturn happened because our government didnít tax enough, spend enough and control enough. And, therefore, as you heard tonight, his solution to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.
This idea ó that our problems were caused by a government that was too small ó itís just not true. In fact, a major cause of our recent downturn was a housing crisis created by reckless government policies.
And the idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle class taxpayers ó thatís an old idea thatís failed every time itís been tried.
More government isnít going to help you get ahead. Itís going to hold you back.
More government isnít going to create more opportunities. Itís going to limit them.
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.