Rubio Rips Obama As Worst Presidential Negotiator Since Carter

Marco Rubio

In the most significant shift in U.S. policy towards Cuba in 50 years, President Barack Obama announced that the two countries will begin talks to restore diplomatic relations. The announcement by Obama followed the release of American government contractor, Alan Gross, who had been imprisoned in Cuba for five years. After five decades of isolation failed to establish democracy and prosperity in the island country, Obama declared that he was going to relax travel, banking, and commerce restrictions.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) told Fox News Channel’s Bill Hemmer Wednesday morning that he is glad Gross is returning to U.S. soil but disagreed with the exchange of three Cuban prisoners because of the precedent it sets.

“We’re all glad that Mr. Gross is going to be back with his family. He never did anything wrong. He was not a spy. He was not a criminal. He was a hostage. And it’s unfortunate that the Cuban government held him for five years and basically almost killed him in captivity. I’m not in favor of the process by which his release was acquired because I think it does set a very dangerous precedent. It puts a price on every American abroad. Governments now know that if they can take an American hostage, they can get very significant concessions from the United States.”

Senior U.S. officials claim that Gross was released for humanitarian reasons after five years of captivity in a Cuban prison. The three Cubans–Ramón Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, and Gerardo Hernandez–were being released in exchange for an “intelligence asset” after they were arrested in 1998 for being part of a spy network.

Rubio criticized the Cuban regime, saying that the Cuban people will not enjoy freedom.

“They’re creating no economic openings. There is no concessions on freedom of speech, no concessions on elections, no concessions on the freedom to have alternative political parties, no concessions on ever having elections or anything of that matter. What democratic concessions?”

“It is par for the course with an administration that is constantly giving away unilateral concessions, whether it’s Iran, or in this case Cuba, in exchange for nothing.”

Rubio concluded,

“Barack Obama is the worst negotiator that we’ve had as president, since at least Jimmy Carter, and maybe in the modern history of this country.”

The Florida Senator, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in 1956, will be the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere in January.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

US And Cuba To Normalize Relations

Photo credit: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador (Flickr)

The US and Cuba have agreed to normalize relations and open economic and travel ties, American officials said Wednesday.

The US and Cuba have long had an adversarial relationship with each other, stretching back to the Cold War.

The announcement of the agreement came after the release of US prisoner Alan Gross and a US spy held in Cuba. Also, three Cubans held in US jails were released.

President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro spoke by phone for more than 45 minutes Tuesday, marking the first substantive presidential discussion between the two countries since 1961.

Obama and Castro both addressed their countries at noon EST.

The announcement Wednesday followed secret talks held for more than a year between the US and Cuba. The talks were held in Canada and the Vatican. Pope Francis is said to have been a key player in the talks and sent letters to both Obama and Castro, urging them to normalize relations.

The US will soon open an embassy in Havana as part of the process of normalization of relations. The US is easing travel bans to the country, allowing for family visits, educational activities, and US governmental business–although tourist travel remains banned.

Furthermore, licensed American travelers will be allowed to return with goods valued at $400 or less, including $100 or less for alcohol and tobacco products. This means the ban on Cuban cigars is over, although there is still the $100 limit.

Obama does not have full authority to lift the economic embargo on Cuba, due to that being enacted by Congress. Officials said that he would welcome Congress taking action on it, though.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) criticized the deal, saying it did nothing to fix Cuba’s political system or human rights record. He stated: “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.”

What do you think? Is the Obama decision on Cuba a positive or negative step forward?


h/t: Associated Press

Photo credit: Presidencia de la República del Ecuador (Flickr)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Marco Rubio Set To Run For President In 2016


Even though former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) announced Tuesday he is taking the time to “actively explore” a presidential campaign in 2016, another prominent Sunshine State GOP politician may also be making a run for the White House in two years.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has invited supporters to a retreat in Miami Beach next month where plans are expected to be put together for a 2016 presidential run, CNN reported. Rubio also has a book release scheduled for next month outlining several policy objectives, signaling that an announcement could follow soon.

Bush wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday that the formation of a Leadership PAC will enable him to “actively explore” the possibility of a presidential run.

“I have decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States.

“In January, I also plan to establish a Leadership PAC that will help me facilitate conversations with citizens across America to discuss the most critical challenges facing our exceptional nation. The PAC’s purpose will be to support leaders, ideas and policies that will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.”

Photo: Facebook

Photo: Facebook

A source told CNN that Rubio is on track to run and, while the Bush announcement Tuesday alters how the race will go, it does not alter Marco’s thought process. Rubio, a freshman U.S. Senator, is up for re-election in 2016. Although it is early, the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics’ Crystal Ball, run by Larry Sabato, rates Florida as “Leans R.”

An ABC/Washington Post poll conducted December 11-14 of prospective GOP nominees showed Bush in front with 14 percent and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin in second with 11 percent. The poll was released Tuesday.

The poll also showed Rubio in a four-way tie for sixth place with 7 percent, along with Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

GOP Senator Makes Bold Proclamation In Support Of Conservative Values


In a recent address at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., Florida Sen. Marco Rubio proudly espoused his values, even while acknowledging that he would likely be pilloried for doing so.

Much of his speech focused on the importance of marriage – specifically traditional marriage – in providing financial stability and an optimal environment in which to raise the next generation of Americans.

“Thousands of years of human history have shown that the ideal setting for a child to grow up is with a mother and father committed to one another,” he asserted.

Since America’s founding, he noted, this unique union has been set apart by our leaders in acknowledgement of that fact.

“Since traditional marriage has such an extraordinary record of success at raising children into strong and successful adults,” he continued, “states in our country have long elevated this institution and set it apart in our laws.”

In recent years, however, a few of these states have acted to redefine marriage. While Rubio conceded that they have the right to do that, he insisted that the “right to define and redefine marriage is a two-way street.”

He noted that a majority of states – including his own – have laws on the books protecting traditional marriage. If gay marriage proponents demand tolerance from social conservatives, he said, they must also display it in return. Instead, he lamented, activist judges across the country are moving to overturn the will of the people in states that continue to affirm the sanctity of traditional marriage.

Rubio then cited a number of examples of intolerance toward those who hold such beliefs, including the forced removal of Mozilla’s CEO earlier this year and a prior boycott of Chick-fil-A over the values of its owner.

He acknowledged that, by expressing his own views, he would “be attacked as a hater or a bigot or someone who is anti-gay.”

Further driving home his point, Rubio recalled that, before becoming a champion of gay rights, Barack Obama was a firm supporter of traditional marriage.

“And if support for traditional marriage is bigotry,” he concluded, “then Barack Obama was a bigot until just before the 2012 election.”

Rubio also touched on a number of other social issues, including abortion and education, during the comprehensive address.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Rubio: ‘It’s Almost Impossible To Work With This Administration’

Marco Rubio (R-FL) appeared this morning on America’s Newsroom.  Host Bill Hemmer referred Rubio to a recent Fox News poll that shows 80% of Americans believe we are losing standing in the world as a country. Rubio said, “I feel we have lost our standing in the world. It’s not a permanent condition. We can reverse that, but not under the direction this president is taking us, unfortunately.  But increasingly, you are seeing that our allies find us to be unreliable and our adversaries find us to be weak. It’s very reminiscent of where we were in 1979 under Jimmy Carter.”

Hemmer asked the Florida Senator if we, as a country, are ready to go after ISIS in Iraq.  “Our engagement there is not about rebuilding Iraq, it’s not about refighting the Iraq war. This is about preventing a group that has the ambition and the ability of attacking America here in the United States, from creating a safe haven where they can operate from.”  He goes on to say that we are seen as unreliable in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Hemmer then turns the discussion to domestic issues and the IRS scandal: “George Will argues it’s bigger than Watergate.” Rubio responds to a short clip of Will, from another Fox News segment: “This could be bigger than that because the Richard Nixon situation was terrible and he should have been removed or impeached.  But it was involving a political operation.  This is one of the most powerful and devastating agencies in the American government. An agency that can completely ruin your life and put you out of business.”

Hemmer refers to an earlier comment that Rubio had said the Obama presidency is “effectively over.” Rubio concluded his comments: “This president is not interested in working with others. His modus operandi is if you disagree with him, he accuses you of not caring. It’s almost impossible to work with this administration because they are not looking to work with other people; they are looking to divide Americans in an ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality, and it’s had a devastating impact on our ability to solve problems.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom