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Rubio decries unfinished business in speech to Latinos

 

WASHINGTON -- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday asserted that none of the major issues facing the United States have been solved during Barack Obama's presidency.

"This nation and this political process has not solved one single major issue in the last three and a half to four years. In fact, it’s been incapable of even passing a budget," said Rubio in a speech here to the Latino Coalition Economic Summit. "The single largest organization in the world -- a $3.8 trillion endeavor called the United States government -- has not had a budget in almost four years."

The potential vice presidential pick has gone on the attack against the president recently. During a high-profile GOP fundraiser in South Carolina over the weekend, he called Obama the most divisive figure in modern American politics.  Though today he did not use the president's name, he delivered a toned-down version of that same message in front of a bloc of voters, Latinos, that will be key in the November election.

But Rubio's harshest rhetoric was aimed at the body he is a member of, the Senate. He even acknowledged that, despite taking office with high hopes, nothing has changed since he entered the high chamber.

“I ran because I was frustrated by the political process. Nothing has happened over the last year and a half to change that frustration, unfortunately," he said. "Too often times, in the United States Senate especially, most of the votes we take are nothing but messaging points. Bills are brought to the floor by people and they’re not going pass...The only thing that’s being done in the Senate these days is creating material for television commercials in the fall. And it's sad."

Earlier in the afternoon it was presumptive nominee Mitt Romney who addressed the group, delivering a speech promoting education reform.

Rubio applauded the former Massachusetts governor's plans for reform, saying: "There will be no new jobs in the 21st century for people who do not have advanced education of some form. We have to provide access to that as well as affordability.  And I'm glad that the nominee of my party has taken the lead in that regard."

It is of little surprise why Republican politicians are paying such close attention to Hispanic voters in 2012. A new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo poll showed Obama with a 34-point lead over Romney among Latino voters.

It is a big reason why the junior senator from Florida has generated so much buzz about joining the presidential ticket. But a Quinnipiac poll released today shows that Rubio adds only two points to Romney's showing in the Sunshine State.

Though Rubio did open his speech in Spanish, little else was specifically tailored for the Latino audience. Much of his speech was focused on the broken ways of Washington and examples of what he believes are missed opportunities for job creation -- like building the Keystone Pipeline.

'These are the kinds of things that historians write about 100 years from now when they discuss the decline of a civilization of a nation -- ridiculous decisions that were made because of politics, not because of policy," he said.