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Rubio to give GOP State of Union response

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) — Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, GOP congressional leaders said Wednesday.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky made the announcement jointly in a release.

“Marco Rubio is one of our party’s most dynamic and inspiring leaders,” Boehner said. “He carries our party’s banner of freedom, opportunity and prosperity in a way few others can. His family’s story is a testament to the promise and greatness of America.”

“I’m honored to have this opportunity to discuss how limited government and free enterprise have helped make my family’s dreams come true in America,” said Rubio, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 with support from the Tea Party.

A Rubio aide told The Hill his address will focus on policies that benefit the middle class.

“Immigration will likely be mentioned as one way to grow the economy, but the speech really is about the Republican Party’s commitment to limited government as the best way to help the middle class, and how it differs from the president’s plans for bigger government,” the aide said.

Rubio, a Cuban-American, is widely regarded as a contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and a vehicle for helping the party improve its standing among Latino voters, who make up a growing percentage of the electorate.

Obama won more than 70 percent of the Latino vote in 2012.

Rubio’s response will be “delivered both in English and Spanish, Boehner and McConnell said.

Obama is scheduled to deliver the annual State of the Union message Tuesday.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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