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Politics

LeMieux, Rubio Welcome Obama to Florida by Hitting Him on Economy

August 16, 2010 - 6:00pm

With President Barack Obama headed to Miami Beach on Wednesday for a fund-raiser for the Florida Democratic Party at the Fontainebleau Hotel, two Sunshine State Republicans are welcoming him with a one-two punch on his economic policies.

U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and former House Speaker Marco Rubio, the overwhelming favorite for the Republican nomination to replace LeMieux in Novembers election, spoke to the media Tuesday and welcomed the president to the state -- but reminded him that Florida continues to lag behind the rest of the nation on unemployment.

Hell find Florida is suffering and Floridians are hurting, said LeMieux, who referred to the states continuing high unemployment rate.

LeMieux pointed the blame at the White House, adding that businesses were not hiring new employees. Theyre frozen in their tracks since they dont know what Washington will do next, he said.

The president needs to hear that politicians do not create jobs, said Rubio, who echoed LeMieuxs point about businesses being afraid to add new jobs to the payrolls due to worries about more regulations. American job creators are sitting on the sidelines.

We hope that when the president comes down here tomorrow, hell listen to the job creators, added Rubio.

I wish he was down here focusing on the economy, said LeMieux. The policies of this administration are killing jobs.

LeMieux specifically condemned the federal stimulus passed by Congress and signed into law by Obama 18 months ago, saying it did not create the 3 million jobs that were promised.

Rubio, who made Senate rival Gov. Charlie Crists support for the stimulus one of the chief issues of his campaign, also offered harsh words for the president.

This administration has taken us further from the free market system than any administration in modern American history, said Rubio.

Rubio focused on the national debt and warned that America could be in even worse financial shape if nothing is done to reduce it. Were headed to a Greece-like day of reckoning, he said, referring to the damage debt caused to the economy of that European nation.

While Crist appointed LeMieux, a longtime ally who served as the governors chief of staff, the senator is backing Rubio and not just because he is the Republican candidate. LeMieux, who is considering running against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012, praised Rubio. He is a person of character and a man of ideas, said LeMieux,

Rubio, who criticized the presidents recent support of a mosque being built two blocks away from Ground Zero in downtown Manhattan, reiterated his opposition to the new mosque on moral but not legal grounds.

The question is not whether they have the right to do it, said Rubio. The question is, is it the right thing to do.

Building a mosque there has opened wounds and has been hurtful and divisive, he said.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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