Although the media has trouble focusing on any candidate that isn’t named Trump, Marco Rubio stepped up to the plate on Wednesday evening. After nearly 23 million potential voters tuned in to watch the second major GOP debate of this election cycle — shattering CNN’s previous ratings records — Senator Rubio reminded us that career politicians exist for a reason: they know about politics.
As reported by USA Today, Marco Rubio stood out on Wednesday night by reminding us what he has to offer that so many other candidates don’t: experience with foreign policy. But his rhetoric, both fear-inducing and combative, was on-par for what is expected in American politics.
After all, it wouldn’t be a GOP debate if Obama and his administration weren’t thrown under the bus. Marco Rubio, the junior United States Senator from Florida, reminded us that the Obama administration could be doing more to support the moderate Syrians against Bashar al-Assad. And, like GOP front-runner Donald Trump, Senator Rubio reminded us how bad the nuclear deal is that Obama made with Iran.
When it comes to Russia, Rubio pointed out that Vladimir Putin hopes to use divide-and-conquer tactics to put an end to NATO.
When it came to China, Senator Rubio focused on the cyber attacks from earlier this year and how the artificial islands in the South China Sea are threatening the world’s “most important shipping lane.”
But Marco Rubio’s foreign policy isn’t what gave CNN the most lucrative TV segment in the company’s 35-year history. Donald Trump, who unabashedly takes credit for the ratings (see below), came under fire almost as much as Obama.
Just announced that in the history of @CNN, last night’s debate was its highest rated ever. Will they send me flowers & a thank you note?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2015
And Rubio brought his ammo.
As reported by NPR, Senator Rubio’s clash with Trump may have been just what that Miami-native needed at this point in the election process.
Specifically, Rubio called out Trump on how little the billionaire knows about the Middle East — and foreign countries in general. Trump may be focused on “making America great again,” but Senator Rubio likes to remind us that a major part of that process is improving our relationships with other countries. That’s why Rubio’s foreign policy experience is so vital to his campaign.
While Trump stated that he’d be “great friends” with Putin — and failed to elaborate at all — Senator Marco Rubio has a plan for helping Ukraine regain its independence from Russia and for dealing with Putin as a political leader rather than a buddy.
Trump criticized Obama’s handling of Syria, but ultimately put blame on the senators. Rubio, a senator himself, reminded the audience that it was, in fact, President Obama that should be blamed. This was seen as the strongest response to Trump’s statement on Syria, and Senator Rubio felt the support from the live audience.
Rubio responded to further questions after the debate, as seen here:
Rubio will likely continue to place an emphasis on his foreign policy expertise. When speaking to a group in South Carolina, Senator Rubio attacked not only the leaders of China and Russia, but Iran and North Korea as well.
Marco Rubio will get another shot at the next big Republican debate, scheduled to air October 28 on CNBC.
[Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]