TAMPA---Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Tea Party and conservative favorite elected in 2010, delivered an electric address before delegates at the Republican National Convention and elevated the energy of the arena like no other speaker before him.
Rubio, whose family immigrated from Cuba, laid out the foundation of Republican economic ideals as experienced by his family with a combination of charisma and tough talk.
"As a boy, I would sit on our porch and listen to [my grandfather's] stories about history, politics and baseball while he puffed on one of his three daily Padron cigars," Rubio said. "I don't recall everything we talked about, but the one thing I remember, is the one thing he wanted me to never forget. The dreams he had when he was young became impossible to achieve. But there was no limit to how far I could go, because I was an American."
Making the case for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Rubio said the problem isn't that President Barack Obama is a bad person, but a "bad president" implementing old and failed ideas.
"These are tired and old big government ideas," Rubio said. "Ideas that people come to America to get away from. Ideas that threaten to make America more like the rest of the world, instead of helping the world become more like America."
And he said rather that serving up hope and change, Obama was offering an approach of "divide and conquer."
"He tells Americans they're worse off because others are better off, that people got rich by making others poor," he said. "No matter how you feel about President Obama, this election is about your future, not his. And it's not simply a choice between a Democrat and a Republican. It's a choice about what kind of country we want America to be."
Rubio said the American dream is what separates the United States from others, what makes it special.
"Special because we've always understood the scriptural admonition that 'for everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required,' " he said.
And though economic stagnation has depressed America's morale, Rubio told the appreciative audience that there was something they could do to turn things around.
"Yes, we live in a troubled time, but the story of those who came before us reminds us that America has always been about new beginnings," Rubio said. "And Mitt Romney is running for president because he knows that if we are willing to do for our children what our parents did for us, life in America can be better than it has ever been. We're special because dreams that are impossible anywhere else come true here."
With the crowd riveted, Rubio closed by saying the goal of government should be "to make sure America is still a place where tomorrow is always better than yesterday. That is what our politics should be about."
"And that is what we are deciding in this election," he added. "Mitt Romney believes that if we succeed in changing the direction of our country, our children and grandchildren will be the most prosperous generation ever and their achievements will astonish the world."