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Marco Rubio sounds a lot like Obama in big foreign-policy speech

Sen. Marco Rubio, seen as being on the Republican presidential short list in 2016, delivered a foreign policy speech Wednesday that included a lot of common ground with President Obama.

By Staff writer / February 27, 2013

Israel's President Shimon Peres (r.) shakes hands with Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida during their meeting in Jerusalem last week. Mr. Rubio spoke on foreign policy in Washington Wednesday.

Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

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WASHINGTON

Bullets, though not the weapons firing them, is what Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida says he would advocate providing Syria’s rebels.

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That suggestion, proposed in a Middle East-oriented talk Senator Rubio gave at a Washington think tank Wednesday, was about as far as the rising Republican foreign-policy authority strayed from Obama administration policy as he discussed his views on issues ranging from Iran to Israel and the Palestinians.

Rubio recently published an article entitled “Refusal to Lead” in Foreign Policy magazine, in which he criticized President Obama for neglecting America’s leadership role in international issues from Syria to North Korea’s nuclear challenge to the global promotion of democracy and human rights.

But in his talk at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Wednesday, the man who is on most pundits' presidential short list for 2016 said little that sounded substantively different from the Obama administration.

When he described it as increasingly important to “speak to the American people” about world affairs because “we no longer live in a national economy, we live in a global economy,” Rubio sounded like he could have been quoting John Kerry’s first speech earlier this month as secretary of State.

Rubio said he agreed with the president that negotiations with Iran must be given a chance, but that the Islamic Republic must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. He agreed that the US should not send weapons into a Syria “already awash in arms.” And he said he supports the administration’s efforts to further the Palestinians’ “governance” expertise and economic development.

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