Eyeing '16, Rubio and Paul to speak at RNC
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (CNN) — Sen. Marco Rubio will emphasize the need for the federal government to rethink how it addresses key programs by embracing "free market principles" and new technology in a speech to Republican leaders and activists meeting here this week to discuss political strategy.
The Florida GOP senator's address is just one of several he has delivered on the topic of reform - already, he has spoken about how to transform education, innovation and poverty. And it is a subject Rubio will carry to New Hampshire on Friday and back to Washington, DC next week when he will appear at the National Press Club to talk about "retirement security in the 21st century and propose new reforms to strengthen entitlement programs," the senator's spokesman Alex Conant told CNN.
Rubio is likely to be welcomed Thursday evening by members the Republican National Committee - an influential group of state party leaders from across the country -- at the closed-door event. But it will be Rubio's appearances in the Granite State on Friday that will be more closely watched as he is said to be contemplating a bid for Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
"Over the last few months, Senator Rubio's made about 20 trips around the country talking about his agenda to restore the American Dream, and he was glad to accept an invitation from Republicans in New Hampshire," Conant said. "The Granite State is an obvious place to talk about his conservative reform agenda, in part because we know messages delivered in New Hampshire tend to get a national audience."
As Rubio is addressing New Hampshire Republicans on Friday, a potential rival for the GOP nomination, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, will be speaking to the RNC at a lunchtime event in Memphis.
Paul has acknowledged he is considering a presidential run and a CNN/ORC national poll released this week indicated the Kentucky Republican senator and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush lead a crowded field of potential candidates who may seek the GOP nomination. Paul and Bush each notched 13 percent, while Rubio took six percent in the CNN poll.
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By Mark Preston