Marco Rubio speaks on American exceptionalism as he introduces Mitt Romney

Published: Thursday, Aug. 30 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Florida Senator Marco Rubio addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.
 (Associated Press) Florida Senator Marco Rubio addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (Associated Press)

TAMPA, Fla. — Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced Mitt Romney during the final night of the Republican National Convention Thursday with a speech that focused on what makes America great.

Beginning his speech with a story about his grandfather, Rubio recalled how his grandfather would tell him that there was no limit to how far he could go, because he was an American.

"For those of us who were born and raised in this country, it's easy to forget how special America is," Rubio said. "But my grandfather understood how different America is from the rest of the world, because he knew what life was like outside America."

Voters who are opposed to President Barack Obama don't dislike him because he's a bad person, Rubio said. Instead, they believe he's a bad president.

Rubio cited government spending, the $800 billion stimulus bill, government intervention into health care paid for with higher taxes, scores of new rules and regulations and cuts to Medicare to back up his point.

"These are tired and old big government ideas. Ideas that people come to America to get away from. Ideas that threaten to make America more like the rest of the world, instead of helping the world become more like America," Rubio said.

"No matter how you feel about President Obama, this election is about your future, not his," Rubio said. "And it's not simply a choice between a Democrat and a Republican. It's a choice about what kind of country we want America to be."

America is special because it was founded on the principle that every person has God-given rights, Rubio said. It's special because power belongs to the people, because citizens are free to go as far as their talents and work can take them and because Americans have never made the mistake "of believing that we are so smart that we can rely solely on our leaders or our government."

Rubio cited his father, who worked as a bartender, as someone who understood what America was about.

"He stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room," Rubio said. "That journey, from behind that bar to behind this podium, goes to the essence of the American miracle — that we're exceptional not because we have more rich people here. We're special because dreams that are impossible anywhere else come true here."

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