WEST MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, returned home Saturday to West Miami for an event with 500 of his closest supporters.
The $20-per-person fundraiser was billed “Where It All Began” and took place just blocks from his home. It’s where Rubio also began his political career as city commissioner in 1998.
For most of the speech, Rubio spoke Spanish. When talk turned to terrorism and national security, he used English to articulate the finer points.
“This is a very dangerous world that we live in,” Rubio remarked, as he discussed the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino and he what he calls “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Rubio is advocating to restore the government’s surveillance capabilities under the USA Freedom Act that expired in June. He chastised opponents Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul for voting against it.
He linked the act’s lapse and its ability to collect metadata to putting the country at risk from future attacks.
“A week ago, we were still able to see the phone records of a potential terrorist ’cause we held them — now, you have to hope the phone company still has them. You have to argue with their chief counsel. By the time you get access to it and try to find out who they’ve been calling and who they’ve been working with, it’s too late,” Rubio said.
The event was likely the last stop in Florida for a while as Iowa voting begins in less than two months. Rubio announced he’d be spending more time there, as well as New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada over the next few months.
Rubio said he looked forward to the Florida primary, though, and his optimism that he would be the Republican nominee for president.
“The early part of March you’re gonna start to see us again because I hope and I pray, God willing, that if we can continue to grow our campaign when we come here for the 15th of March … that perhaps on that night, in Florida, this party will be able to nominate someone for the presidency,” he said.