“Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, two potential 2016 presidential candidates, laid out policy prescriptions for their Republican Party on Tuesday night, nudging a party still reeling from Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama to reach out to a broader audience.
Ryan, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in November’s election and chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, told his audience that their party cannot write off large swaths of Americans — a subtle reminder of Mitt Romney’s remarks criticizing 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes. And he made clear that he would be making poverty in America a central part of his political message as he weighs a presidential campaign of his own.
“Rubio, too, said the party risked irrelevance if it only appealed to wealthy voters and made clear the party had to reach out to large segments of the electorate that Romney seemed to write off. Should Rubio run, his pitch and personal biography seem tailored to those voters.
“There are millions of Mario Rubios all across America today,” Rubio said of his father, a bartender whom he described as “poor and motherless with limited education.”
“They aren’t looking for a handout,” Rubio continued. “All they just want is a job that provides for their families. … That’s where you will find the dreams America was built on, that’s where you will find the promise of tomorrow.”
The 2016 presidential race was an undercurrent to the evening. As he began his remarks, Ryan joked that he and Rubio soon would be sharing meals in states that lead off the nominating calendar.