Entering to thunderous applause and a standing ovation, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told conservative activists Thursday that President Obama’s “flawed foreign policy” and poor economic record has made the world a more dangerous place.

Rubio Talks American Dream, Whats Holding Americans Back at CPAC

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, March 6, 2014. Rubio said the U.S. is the one nation that can rally people around the globe against the rise of totalitarian governments. (AP/Susan Walsh

Sounding at times like a candidate running for the White House, Rubio repeatedly stressed his belief that America’s “brightest days” are still ahead, but said Obama has for years stifled economic growth and made it harder for Americans to pursue their dreams.

Rubio said the “disunity” the White House is pushing when it comes to different income levels is “what’s holding us back from the American century.”

The senator also stressed that a robust presence abroad will help boost and maintain economic stability at home.

“If you think Obamacare is bad for our economy, which it is, so is [China] controlling the South China Sea,” Rubio said at the Conservative Political Action Conference, held just outside Washington, D.C.

Rubio spent much of his address making the case for American engagement in the world, saying that isolationism may look attractive but can actually prove to be dangerous in the long run.

Future generation of Americans could “inherit a world where the Chinese decide who gets to ship products through the South China Sea, and all the countries in that region are tributaries,” he said.

We could even see a world where North Korea, the Hermit Kingdom, advances to the point where it could launch an attack on America’s West Coast, Rubio said.

“Without American engagement,” Rubio said, these scenarios are a “real probability.”

The Florida senator’s speech comes shortly after he made headlines with an impassioned speech delivered from the senate floor that addressed tyrannical Latin American regimes.

“He bragged about their health care system, medical school is free, doctors are free, clinics are free, their infant mortality rate may be even lower than ours,” Rubio said during a speech in February, referring to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) who had recently praised Cuba. “I wonder if the senator, however, was informed, number one, that the infant mortality rate of Cuba is completely calculated on figures provided by the Cuban government. And, by the way, totalitarian communist regimes don’t have the best history of accurately reporting things.”

“What they are really good at is repression,” Rubio said of Cuba. “They have exported repression in real time, in our hemisphere, right now.”

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