This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 9, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: And you're going to have to wait another month or so to see the new "Avengers" movie, when the good guys join forces again to fight evil, but you really won't have to wait at all for a very different "Avengers" movie, because the bad guys already are joining forces to create an even bigger evil. Only, this one, this one ain't a movie.
Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto.
And talk about double trouble, Boko Haram hooking up with ISIS, continuing a migration of maniacs to a modern-day version of the terror team from hell, but a team that Florida Senator Marco Rubio is determined to stop, even if, as he told me moments ago in this exclusive chat, the president doesn't appear to be.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: First of all, we have to understand ISIS is operating in three concentric circles.
Its core is still in Iraq and in Syria and a little bit in Lebanon. Then it has an outer ring that is trying to develop. And that is in places like Libya, as you have seen with North Africa, but also in Afghanistan. That's not been discussed enough.
And what they're looking there is to absorb existing groups into their fold, basically. They call them provinces, but basically outlying groups that pledge allegiance to them. The third ring, by the way, is in the West, both in Europe and ultimately in the United States in trying to inspire lone-wolf homegrown violent extremist-type attacks.
But this is part of that second ring, where they're looking to absorb existing groups. In Afghanistan, they're trying to convince groups to break from the Taliban and Al Qaeda and moves towards them, and in North Africa, groups like Boko Haram that they absorb.
CAVUTO: So, what would you do? What would you do? If you were president, what would you do?
RUBIO: Well, you have to -- I think the main thing you have to do is target the inner core, because, without the inner core, that second ring is irrelevant. And you can break that second ring apart.
And the inner core still is in Syria and in Iraq. And, as I have argued, the United States should use it position of leadership to pull together a Sunni army, a Sunni ground force made up of Egyptians and Jordanians and Saudis and other kingdoms to go in on the ground and confront Sunni terrorists.
CAVUTO: Well, wouldn't that be some of our boots on the ground too?
RUBIO: Well, we would probably need some special operations forces for logistical support and targeting. And we would lead -- need significant U.S. air support for such an effort.
But I think it's critical that there be Sunni fighters on the ground confronting a Sunni extremist movement. If we fail to do that, we have basically outsourced the operation to Shia militias under the complete control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and, in essence, we're creating a pattern where even after ISIS -- after ISIS is defeated, Iraq is going to become a sectarian battleground for decades to come, creating future ISIS problems or ISIS-type problems, but also creating a node of complete influence for the Iranian regime.
CAVUTO: Then how do you know who our friends are?
RUBIO: On the Sunni side?
CAVUTO: On any side?
RUBIO: Well, on the Sunni side, it goes back to having that Sunni army on the ground. And that's why it's so critical that it be a Sunni-oriented group, so that these Sunni communities feel protected. They don't feel like this is a conquering Shia army or a conquering Western army, because that creates long-term problems.
There will be a U.S. element to it. And I'm not arguing to you that the future for Iraq is going to be neat. But I can tell you that in the absence of some sort of an exclusive government in Iraq that has spaces for the Kurds, the Sunnis the Shia, you may see that country break apart or you may see it under the complete dominance of a Shia puppet state for Iran.
CAVUTO: You know, you're a young man, about as young as Barack Obama was when he was considering the White House.
You're a senator. Did he give a senator running for president a bad name? In other words, would -- if you run, all your likely Republican opponents, most are governors or former governors.
CAVUTO: And that, they say, gives them an edge.
What do you say?
RUBIO: Well, we have very talented governors that are thinking about running for president. And, as a Republican, I'm glad that our party has such a deep bench of individuals potentially prepared to lead our country.
The Democrats can't even come up with one good candidate. And we have six or seven. That's a good thing. I would say that my experience has been quite different than President Obama's. He was a backbencher in the state legislature in Illinois. I was in leadership all nine years that I served there, including two as speaker of the House.
He basically served two uneventful years in the U.S. Senate before starting to run for president for the better part of four years. Not only I have served in the Senate and achieved some things, but have been very engaged in both foreign policy issues and intelligence issues, given my role on those committees.
And I think foreign policy is going to have a big part of our debate in 2016 for...
CAVUTO: And that's an edge you feel a senator typically has more than governor?
RUBIO: So, I -- well, I think a governor certainly isn't dealing with foreign policy in state capital.
RUBIO: It's an issue they can read a lot about and meet with people and become more informed about.
But I would also point out that the foreign policy challenges to our country are both significant and complicated, much more so than during the Cold War, for example. And beyond that, I would argue it's the primary obligation of the federal government. Education should be an issue we discuss, but that's largely a state and local function.
The economy is an issue we discuss, but the federal government shouldn't run the economy. Its job is to create the conditions for economic growth and prosperity. The one thing the federal government and only the federal government can do is provide for our national security, and I do think that needs to become a bigger part of our debate.
And as someone who is engaged in that debate on a daily basis, I do think it's advantageous. CAVUTO: Do you think, though, that others, namely Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, more to the point, are sucking all the oxygen out of the room, even in your state of Florida, that Jeb Bush gets the attention, Scott Walker gets the attention, you don't?
Well, if I run for president, it's going to be a long campaign. There actually is going to be a campaign. People are going to go out and they're going to interact with voters. And like anything else, you are going to try to persuade people. So given both the realities of modern media and the nature of the campaign I believe we're able to put together, we will get our fair share of attention. We will get our chance if I run for president to convince the American people and Republicans initially that I should be their nominee.