Fla. Sen. Rubio in NH boosting Romney
MANCHESTER - With his home state looking like it is tipping toward Mitt Romney, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio visited New Hampshire Thursday to stump for the Republican presidential candidate, who, Rubio said, has the better chance of bringing the country together.
The 41-year-old Republican senator appeared with Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, before about 175 Romney supporters at the Executive Court in south Manchester.
Rubio said President Barack Obama campaigned four years ago about bringing the country together.
"The President's had four years to figure out a way to bring us together to solve the economy," said Rubio, who entered the Senate with Ayotte two years ago. "I think today the Congress and America have been more divided than they've ever been."
Romney is the only candidate who even stands a chance of bringing the country together, he said.
The Obama New Hampshire campaign replied that as Massachusetts governor, Romney raised more than 1,000 taxes and fees, mostly on middle class families.
"The President is fighting to reclaim the middle-class security that had been undercut by the failed policies of the previous decade - the same policies Mitt Romney wants to reintroduce," said Obama spokesman Harrell Kirstein.
Although Florida was once viewed a swing state, Rubio is encouraged for Romney. He warned the presidential race is so close that 150 votes in New Hampshire could decide it. Rubio exhorted the crowd to each get three or four people to the polls.
Rubio's discussion of American exceptionalism hit a chord with Nashua resident Karen Thoman, but she said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was the better pick for Romney's running mate. "He (Rubio) is brand new," she said.
In an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, Rubio said he understood why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, accompanied Obama on a tour of the Jersey coast, which was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Both were doing their job, he said.
"Our objection to continuing with four more years of Barack Obama is not because we're arguing that he's not good at responding to natural disasters," Rubio said.
Asked about climate change, he said Florida experienced eight storms during an 16-month period in the mid-2000s. "The climate's always changing," he said.
But he said none of the solutions offered to address it, such as cap-and-trade, would be effective. China and India, he said, are big polluters that could care less about an American cap-and-trade system.
He said "American has bigger issues" with China than its environmental policies, and mentioned trade and currency manipulation.
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Mark Hayward may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..