Marco Rubio tells Minnesota supporters: 'I can unite this party'


There were plenty of cheers for Marco Rubio as he gave a stump speech in Minneapolis Tuesday, telling a raucous crowd that he's the candidate who will unite the Republican Party and beat the Democrats come November.

Speaking at a rally before 1,600 supporters at the Hyatt Regency, the presidential hopeful took swipes at President Obama and Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, after spelling out why he should be the GOP candidate of choice.

The speech comes as Rubio's momentum is starting to grow ahead of tonight's Nevada caucus, with the Florida Senator getting the backing of moderates who supported drop-out Jeb Bush in an attempt to rein in the lead of Donald Trump and, to a lesser extent, Ted Cruz.

"The Democrats attack me more than any other candidate in this race because I can bring this party together, we cannot win if we are divided. If a third to a half of the party are still upset [with who wins the nomination] we will lose," he said.

"I can unite this party. Maybe I wasn't the first choice because a lot of people in the establishment wanted me to wait in line, to wait for my turn – well I did not know there was a line."

BringMeTheNews spoke with some of Rubio's supporters at the event to see what they like about the candidate.

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Rubio – who recently opened a Minnesota campaign office in Maple Grove – was introduced by Jeff Johnson, the Hennepin County Commissioner who ran unsuccessfully against Gov. Mark Dayton in last year's gubernatorial election.

As he took the the stage he was met by a loud, animated crowd, with some in the audience interrupting his speech by shouting their support, to which Rubio responded.

Among his promises to the crowd was that on the first day in office, he would repeal all the "unconstitutional executive orders" made by the Obama administration over the past 8 years.

He also pledged to step up the war on terror ("we'll have a real war on terror"), a "Reagan-style rebuild of the military," tax cuts, and argued that the U.S. does not need a Department of Education, MPR notes.

Ever the diplomat, there were also references to the weather (it was warmer than he'd expected) and a hat-tip to the Minnesota Vikings.

He did however make a slight error at the end of his speech, telling the crowd: "Thanks Michigan ... thank you Minnesota," according to KARE 11's Lou Raguse. (Michigan is Rubio's next campaign stop).

Here are some tweets from the event:

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