"Too many are starting to believe the American dream is no longer possible for people like them, Rubio said in his speech.
In his speech, Rubio called for increasing private-sector options for Medicare and Social Security. He also called for tax reform, including backing education tax credits on student loans and for mothers who have gone back to school. Rubio also called, once again, for the repeal of President Barack Obamas health-care law.
Rubio made the rounds on the national media on Wednesday, looking to make his case.
Lets understand what the problem is, Rubio said on CNBCs Squawk Box on Wednesday. I go back to my own upbringing, where my parents were not highly educated, didnt have much of a formal education, came here as immigrants and were able to make it to the American middle class working service jobs. And the more important part of my childhood is that I grew up believing that I could go as far as my talent and my work will take me. That I could have the same dreams and the same future as the son of a president, as the son of a millionaire. Now you have a growing number of Americans that dont think thats true anymore.
Pointing toward the examples of many Floridians that he mentioned in his speech, Rubio said the American dream needs to be within their reach.
For all these people, their dreams are not exotic, Rubio said. None of them are looking to be billionaires, or anything like that. They just want to be able to own a home, raise a family in a safe environment, have children with the opportunity to have a life better than themselves. And we need to reclaim that.
The fundamental challenge that we face is that every single one of our institutions in this country from government to higher education and everything in between has completely failed to adjust to 21st century reality, Rubio added. None of them are responsive to the new world that we now live in, where globalization and information technology have changed the nature of our economy. And our laws and our education system simply dont reflect this.
But Rubio drew fire on Wednesday from liberal PAC American Bridge for backing the budget crafted by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and standing against extending unemployment benefits.
Rubio has consistently advocated against policies that support working-class families, including the minimum wage and the extension of unemployment benefits, American Bridge insisted. Today's speech is as phony as it is calculated, smoke and mirrors meant to distract voters from the anti-working class agenda Rubio has consistently pushed in the Senate.
With so many attacks on the middle class -- including his support for the Ryan budget and the sequester -- we can't be exactly sure which impacts he means, American Bridge continued. Is he talking about the 1.3 million Americans for whom he attempted to block UI benefits? The 300,000 people who aren't receiving heat assistance because of the sequester? The millions of low-income families who would lose SNAP, CHIP and other critical benefits under the Ryan budget?
Earlier in the week, Obama unveiled his program for middle-class America. Obama outlined his proposals on Monday, calling for more flexible workplaces, paid parental leave and more benefits for same-sex couples. To that end, Obama is backing more flexible workplace options in the federal government and calling on Congress to pass legislation mandating businesses to offer more accommodations for pregnant employees instead of leave and extending the Family Medical Leave Act to same-sex couples. Obama also called for education reforms, including backing earlier childhood education and including more women in STEM programs.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.