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In rebuttal to Obama, Rubio tries to soften Republicans' tone

Published on Feb 13, 2013 2:14 PM

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Senator Marco Rubio, seeking to help the Republican Party shed its image as a defender of the rich, stressed his working-class upbringing and the need to save social safety net programmes during his response on Tuesday to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

The back-to-back speeches by Mr Obama and Mr Rubio underscored the differences between Democrats and Republicans that have brought gridlock to Washington for more than two years.

Whereas Mr Obama proclaimed that the United States cannot get on the path to prosperity just by cutting government spending, as Republicans demand, Mr Rubio warned that Washington cannot tax its way to economic growth.

The senator indicated that tax increases, even if focused on the wealthy, can wind up affecting middle-class areas such as his neighborhood in Miami because higher taxes can stymie job creation.

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