Reporting David Sutta
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While many Republicans are in Charlotte to bash the Democratic National Convention, Florida Senator Marco Rubio has been lying low in Florida.
He made his first public speech since the Republican National Convention before the Palmetto Bay Business Association Wednesday.
“The fundamental problem that we are facing as a country is that the economy isn’t growing fast enough,” Rubio told a packed room of business men and women.
Rubio didn’t slam Democrats or pep talk voters as he did last week in Tampa. Instead, he focused on issues and even taking questions.
“Do you feel or hear that there is going to be that spirit coming back to Washington that we are going to come together and we are going to get stuff done?” one woman asked.
Rubio responded saying they need leadership in Washington on both sides. It wasn’t quite an answer, considering this Congress has largely done nothing. After the lunch he clarified what he meant.
“No matter who wins these elections the time has come to begin to deal with these issues in a meaningful way,” Rubio said.
When asked if he expected that to happen, Rubio responded, “Well we don’t have a choice. We either solve them or the problems will solve themselves in a way that we are not going to like.”
While he’s in South Florida Rubio said he’s still watching the Democrats. He agreed President Bill Clinton’s well-received speech Wednesday night was good. He pointed out though it may not a deciding factor in the November election.
“One of the finest speeches I ever saw given was given by Ronald Reagan in 1992, and we lost anyway,” Rubio said.
Rubio said he will be watching tonight as former Florida governor Charlie Crist takes the DNC podium. Crist, once a Republican, ran as an independent against Rubio for senate. Tonight, some are anticipating he will declare himself a Democrat.
Republicans have blasted Crist this week with a commercial illustrating his flip-flopping views.
“Obviously he’s running out of parties to run under. But I can, look, he has every right and this is free country,” Rubio said.
Rubio said while he’s been back, he’s been dealing with personal issues. He said he planned to be back out stumping for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the Republicans later this week.