WASHINGTON — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called House Speaker John Boehner's resignation a time to pass leadership along to the next generation of leaders.
Speaking to conservatives at the annual Values Voter Summit, the crowd erupted in thunderous applause when Rubio announced Boehner's decision to resign at the end of October.
Rubio, a first-term senator who has sought to use youth and energy as an asset in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, said he didn't want to criticize the House speaker, but made a point about the matter.
“With respect to him and the service that he’s provided to our country, it’s not about him or anybody else and I’m not here today to bash anyone,” Rubio said of Boehner. “But the time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leadership in this country and that extends to the White House and the presidency as well.”
Rubio has been climbing in recent presidential polls.
At the Values Voter Summit, sponsored by the social conservative Family Research Council, Rubio also talked about the issues of religious freedom and abortion.
"The issue about the right to live is more than just a political or policy issue, it's a human rights issue and a definitional issue about who were want to be as a nation," Rubio said.
He said by 2020, after his first term as president, abortions at 20 weeks will be illegal; no federal tax dollars will fund abortions abroad; and that Planned Parenthood won't "receive a penny from the federal government."
Rubio also criticized Obama for only upholding some parts of the Constitution.
“What we need is a president who, on their first day in office, will put the left hand on the Bible and their right hand in the air and promise to uphold the entire Constitution, including the right of religious liberty, including the right to bear arms, and including the right to the God-given and inalienable right to life,” Rubio said to cheers. “Sadly, it’s been almost eight years since we had a president like that, but if I have the opportunity to serve in the highest office in the land, I promise you that I will live by that creed and I will live by that pledge, because when I’m president I will empower our people rather than government.”