OTR Interviews

Rubio: Obama Plan Designed Only to Protect His Job

Freshman senator discusses his speech on America's role in the world and why Obama's jobs plan is 'largely political'


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 14, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Senator Marco Rubio accuses the president of playing politics. He says President Obama's new jobs plan is only designed to protect his own job. We asked Senator Rubio about that and America's role in the world.


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you, sir.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: Nice to see you.

VAN SUSTEREN: You gave a speech on America's role in the world. How do you perceive it?

RUBIO: I think it is an important role. We can't solve every problem in the world. But there are very few parts in the world that what is happening there will ultimately impact us. For example, the economic crisis in Europe is having a direct impact here at home. So I think we have to care about what's happening in the world, and in those places where we can make a different we should try to if it is in our national interest to do so.

VAN SUSTEREN: With Europe, is there anything we can do? We are sitting watching and hoping.

RUBIO: There's not a lot we can do about Europe per se based on soft decisions they made with regard to government spending, similar to the ones we made here as well.

On the other hand, the conflict in Libya is an example of something that could have impacted Europe worse. That's the reason why England and France took such an interest in what was happening. A significant amount of oil and energy come from Libya. Disruption in Libya, significant long term disruption could have a group tick economic impact in Europe which would reflect back on America. So that's just one example of how things around the world ultimately impact our daily lives here in this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: One foreign policy issue important to all of America especially to Jewish-Americans the issue of Israel. The Palestinians are going to go to the United Nations to ask for statehood that has created an enormous problem. Your suggestions?

RUBIO: One of the things I've tried to do is engage with some of the leaders in the western hemisphere and Latin America and those countries, and I've written letters to some of their presidents, and asked them not to vote for this. I think it sets the peace process back. The key is to have a Jewish state and have the Palestinians recognize Israel. I think that's where the starting point needs to be.

And I think a vote by the U.N. could set us back when Israel is surrounded by tremendous uncertainty. We saw events in Cairo last week, the uncertainty in Egypt, Jordan has its challenges. Iran continues to move forward with their nuclear ambitions. All things are combined are putting Israel in a difficult position which makes it harder to reach that settlement everyone would like to have. I hope our allies will join the United States in voting against that measure.

VAN SUSTEREN: It looks like the vote will go through. The Security Council may veto it, but it going through. So now what?

RUBIO: Ultimately it is going to be vetoed by the United States. The psychological impact can be significant. I don't want to overplay it at the end of the day. I think it is a step back. I think it makes peace harder to achieve.

But I'm not giving up on some of these countries. Our allies in Mexico, Jamaica, small countries, but they have a vote, Colombia, nations we hope will vote for us and we hope to recruit others to the cause as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: The president's jobs act. Senator DeMint says he doesn't think it will pass. Is it a good start?

RUBIO: Really the only job I think it is designed to protect is his. But there are some things there, the payroll tax holiday, that's fine. But the plan is not a serious effort to create jobs.

VAN SUSTEREN: You think it is a political move?

RUBIO: I think it's largely a political move and the need to do something. But the jobs issue is enormous. I've said repeatedly the biggest issue in Washington is the debt, but the biggest issue in America are jobs.

But what the president is saying he wants to do to help create jobs in America is not going to work. It's basically a lot of the stuff we tried before, all it does is cost us money. We really need some basic things. They are not exciting and the media hates it when I say it because it is not new. That's like telling a farmer stop focusing on fertilizer, soil and water. What it takes to grow the economy, tax reform, regulatory reform, certainty about our debt many these are things that worked. That's what we as policymakers should be focused on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you surprised at how slowly things get changed around here? Are you frustrated?

RUBIO: The process is designed to move slowly because the framers and the founders never envisioned the federal government to do as much as this federal government does. That being said, we have important issues. If we do a few simple but important things I think the 21st century will be better than the 20th. We could have one of the largest economic expansions in American history. There's a lot of people ready to invest in America's future, but they are not going to do it unless our tax codes work, unless our regulations are under control, and unless we have a plan to deal with our national debt. If we do that I think tomorrow is going to be better than today.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you can pull the president aside, what would you say to him?

RUBIO: I'd tell him the free enterprise system works really well. It has created more opportunity, more wealth, prosperity, more upward mobility than any other economic system in the world.

VAN SUSTEREN: You think he doesn't think it works?

RUBIO: He's part of a group of people that think the free enterprise system is unfair. It leads to too much inequality. We should be moving towards economic justice instead of economic opportunity. I think he misunderstands the role of government. I think he sincerely believes that presidents and senators can create jobs. And there are things we can do to create an environment for job creation, but ultimately, jobs are created by everyday people from all walks of life that start a business or grow an existing business. Our job is to make it easier for them to do that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir.

RUBIO: Thank you.