Florida Senator Marco Rubio officially joined the 2016 presidential race Monday. He’s the third Republican to announce a White House bid, and his announcement came one day after Democrat Hillary Clinton launched her second presidential campaign.
Rubio vowed to move the country beyond the politics of the past to what he called "a new American century."
He also took a swipe at Clinton’s entrance into the presidential race on Sunday. "Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday," he said to boos from the crowd. "Yesterday is over. There is no going back."
The candidate announced his campaign in downtown Miami in front of the Freedom Tower, a processing center for tens of thousands of Cuban exiles who fled the island nation in the 1960s and 1970s.
At 43, Rubio is the youngest candidate in the field so far, and offers Republicans the potential of winning over some younger voters as well as Hispanic Americans. He’s the son of Cuban immigrants who came to the U.S. shortly before Fidel Castro took power in 1959.
Rubio’s unique biography will be a major focus of his campaign, said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.
"He has the most compelling narrative of the entire Republican field," O’Connell said. "The question is, how does he package it going forward so that voters know who he is and what it is he stands for? In a lot of ways, he does represent the American dream."
Expect Rubio to be front and center during Foreign Relations Committee hearings in the weeks ahead, strategist O’Connell predicted. "He will do it on the back of national security and military policies because that is essentially what he has been selling himself as, particularly with his Senate experience."