January 9th, 2014
10:11 AM ET

Marco Rubio Wades into Poverty Politics With Call for More State Control

Sen. Marco Rubio declared the last 50 years in the war on poverty a failure on Wednesday, drawing a considerable line between his view on how to fight poverty and those of his Democratic colleagues.

In his policy address, which fell on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's call for an "all-out war on human poverty," Rubio bashed Democratic proposals to raise the minimum wage and lobbied for the states, not the federal government, to control anti-poverty programs.

The Republican from Florida and possible GOP 2016 presidential contender said his poverty stance was grounded in the idea that government spending is not the answer to "healing the wounds of poverty."

"I am proposing that we turn over Washington's anti-poverty programs – and the trillions spent on them – to the states," Rubio said, symbolically delivering his speech in the U.S. Capitol's ornate Lyndon B. Johnson Room. "America is still the land of opportunity for most, but it is not a land of opportunity for all. If we are to remain an exceptional nation, we must close this gap in opportunity."

Speaking to Kate Bolduan on "New Day" Thursday, Rubio said:

"I do not believe, in fact I know, Washington and it's 'one size fits all' approach is not conducive to finding the kind of innovative solutions that it will take to deal with the complex underlying causes of poverty."

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