Rubio makes case for electability in Cedar Rapids stop

Florida senator e asks those still undecided to think and pray

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CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s not too late, but time is running out for Iowa Republicans to choose who they want to be their party’s nominee and possibly the next president.

However, Marco Rubio said he understands that after months of campaigning, not everyone has made up his or her mind.

There’s progress, he said Sunday afternoon in Cedar Rapids. Months ago, people said they had their choices narrowed to seven. Then four. Now two.

Although he said he respects that people still are considering more than one candidate, the Florida senator asked about 500 people at the DoubleTree by Hilton to “go home tonight and think about it and pray about it” because there’s so much at stake.

“You cannot just go in there and make a point,” at Monday night’s caucus, he said.

“Tomorrow, you must caucus in, my opinion, for someone who gives us a chance to win. Not just the nomination. Someone that has a chance to win the presidency,” Rubio said.

If Iowans caucus for a candidate — he didn’t say which one — just to tell the world they are angry rather than for a candidate who can win November’s general election, they won’t like the eventual outcome, he said.

“The outcome is that we will elect someone who will make Obamacare permanent … appoint three to four Supreme Court nominees who will undermine the Constitution … the military will continue to get weaker and our standing in the world will continue to fall,” Rubio warned.

Four years from now, he added, it may be too late, at least for the next generation, to live the American dream and extend it to more people.

Tamara Smith of Cedar Rapids, who remains undecided, took Rubio’s words to heart.

“I’m going to go home and pray,” she said while standing in line to meet Rubio after his 35-minute speech. Carly Fiorina is “fabulous,” she like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and plans to see businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday.

Smith said she finds Rubio “positive and motivating … not dividing. I’ve had enough of that.”

She is concerned, however, that he lacks the “operational experience” of Gov. Christie.

Amanda Weber of Cedar Rapids decided to caucus for Rubio after watching the last Republican debate.

“He stood out and articulates well,” said Weber, a first-time caucusgoers. She likes where he stands on issues that affect her family, such as education, and his Christian values.

Her husband, Alan, also a first-time caucusgoers, is undecided but said Rubio is on is list.

In making his case for caucus support, Rubio came back to electability. He said he can unite the GOP and unite conservatives.

Bryan Regier agreed. The Cedar Rapids missions pastor decided a month ago that Rubio was his candidate because of his stands on abortion and immigration.

“He’s also the most conservative candidate who can win,” Regier said. He thinks Rubio will have crossover support from mainstream voters “and can unite evangelicals like myself who are divided between several candidates.”

Rubio said he believes he can because he’ll “take our message to people who haven’t voted for us before, and we will convince people to vote for us that haven’t voted for us bin a long, long time.”

“We won’t just unite the party. We will grow it. We won’t just unite the conservative movement. We will expand it,” he said.


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