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Marco Rubio, a CPAC darling, hammers Obama

Marco Rubio's opening CPAC address hammered President Obama on class warfare and inspired conservatives with his vision of the American free enterprise system.

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida addresses the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, February 9, 2012.

REUTERS/Jonathan Erns

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Marco Rubio’s “magical mystery tour” brought him to the Conservative Political Action Convention, or CPAC, where a rousing oration kicked off this annual conclave of right-leaning activists, politicos and students.

Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union, hung the magical moniker on Rubio’s life during his introduction of Florida’s junior senator. Cardenas, whose group puts on CPAC every year here in Washington, D.C., noted that he’d followed the arc of Rubio's political career from the Florida statehouse to the US Senate, and concluded that Rubio is “someone I know I’m going to say hello to at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue some day.”
But what may have been most magical about Rubio’s address to a ballroom of several hundred attendees was that it wasn’t particularly novel or unique – and it was still a knockout hit at almost every turn.

In other words, Marco’s standard stemwinder – the themes, story, and delivery – is a winner.

While it drew deeply on a rhetorical playbook that the Sunshine State senator has laid out in other major addresses, his talk at CPAC showed Rubio to be a playful, forceful, and – judging by audience response – effective bearer of the conservative banner.

First, there was the adroit, funny Rubio. He quipped that when he arrived for the first time on Capitol Hill, and, looked around at his storied congressional colleagues, he wondered how he, at the age of 40, had made it to these hallowed halls. Within six months, however, Rubio says he was wondering: “How did they get here?”

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