SUMMERVILLE, South Carolina – Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio picked a somewhat unusual spot Tuesday for a political rally at a picnic shelter near the Dorchester Boat Club.
But turnout for the Florida senator, who had a disappointing fifth place finish in the New Hampshire primary, had an overflow turnout, so much that parking was pushed to a nearby church with busses shuttling people to the location, coming back for several busloads.
Presidential candidate and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio speaks to voters in North Carolina on February 16, 2016 in Summerville, South Carolina. Despite not having won a Republican presidential primary yet, Rubio is hoping to surge ahead of his rivals in Saturdays primary vote. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Rubio made the now familiar argument to the crowd of about 700 that he was both a solid conservative and the most electable in the general election. He also blasted Democrats as the party of "corporatism."
“We are going to take those principles of limited government and a strong national defense to people who don’t vote for us now. And why don’t they vote for us now? Because the Democratic Party, the left press, the professors, the movies have been telling everyone conservatives don’t care about working people. Conservatives only care about rich people. That’s what they tell them. That’s absurd.”
There’s good reason for that, Rubio added.
“Hillary Clinton will raise more money out of Wall Street than anyone has ever raised in the history of the Republic. You know why?” Rubio asked. “Because big government is good for the people who have already made it. If you are a billionaire, if you are a multi-billion dollar corporation, big government doesn’t bother you. It helps you. Why do you think the big banks are bigger than they have ever been? Because they can afford the lawyers and the lobbyists to deal with Dodd-Frank and all these regulations. Who can’t afford to deal with them? The regional banks, the community banks, the banks that lend money to small business, they can’t deal with all this stuff. They get left behind.”
He noted that in countries with government-controlled economies, most wealth is dynastic wealth, in contrast to the United States, where he said most millionaires were self-made.
“It is not a coincidence that in the countries around the world where the government dominates the economy, I promise you the same families, the same names, the same companies dominated those countries for generation, after generation after generation,” Rubio said. “That’s not capitalism. That’s corporatism. When government dominates the economy, the people who control government win and everyone else gets left behind.”
Some in the crowd asserted they were solidly behind Rubio, others said they were undecided and getting a feel for the candidate.
“I knew from the first time I saw him that he would run for president and he is the candidate who can win,” Toni Rubin, of West Ashley, South Carolina, told TheBlaze.
Her husband Stephen Rubin, jumped in, too.
“We used to have two yard signs, one for Rubio and one for Trump,” he said. “After today, I’m throwing my Trump sign out.”
Randall Gilstrap, of Summerville, isn’t certain that Rubio can win South Carolina, but believes he will out-perform expectations. He said he was undecided but was leaning toward Rubio.
“There is going to be a lot more support for him in South Carolina than the pundits expect,” Gilstrap told TheBlaze.
Just as Rubio poked fun at himself regarding the water bottle, on Tuesday, he poked fun at himself for the repeating himself in an earlier debate.
“We have a lot of work to do because Barack Obama, at the risk of repeating myself,” he was interrupted by laughter, “Knows what he’s doing.”
He fired up the crowed, asking, “Was Obamacare an accident or on purpose?”
“On purpose,” the crowd responded.
“Was Dodd-Frank an accident or on purpose?”
“On purpose,” The crowd again answered.
“Was the deal with Iran an accident or on purpose? … Was the stimulus an accident or on purpose?”
He saved most of his ammunition for Obama and Clinton. However, he did make what was a clear reference to real estate billionaire Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, his top two rivals.
“This election can’t be about making a point,” Rubio said. “This election has to be about winning.”