By MARTIN GRIFFITH
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio tried to reach out to regular Americans during a stop at a Reno gated community on Friday.
The Florida senator told some 130 GOP activists that polls show the public believes the GOP cares more about the wealthy, and the party needs an agenda for struggling Americans if it wants to defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.
He criticized Democratic calls for tax and minimum wage increases. He argued his plan to expand the child tax credit to $2,500 would help regular Americans, and the best way to spark growth and increase wages is to reduce the tax burden on businesses, the wealthy and investors.
“The reality is we are in living in a new era … led by too many people living in the past,” he said. “All her (Clinton’s) ideas are status quo relics of the past.”
Earlier Friday, Rubio tried to sound futuristic at a round table with technology entrepreneurs in Las Vegas. He said the country needs new ideas — such as an openness to alternative forms of education than college to train technical workers – and must be prepared for cyber-threats from overseas adversaries.
It was the second of a two-day swing through Nevada for Rubio, who celebrated his 44th birthday with a fundraiser in Las Vegas on Thursday night at the home of the star of the reality TV show “Pawn Stars.” Rubio spent six years of his childhood in Las Vegas, which gives him ties to an early-voting state that is expected to be pivotal in securing the GOP presidential nomination.
Kim Bacchus, who hosted the Reno event, said she thought Rubio was not ready to run for president four years ago but she’s committed to him at this time. Unlike former GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain, Rubio knows how to inspire people and restore the American dream, she said.
“Rubio gets it. He’s not fake and he’s not reading from a teleprompter,” she said.
GOP blogger Kim Staub of Reno said she thinks Rubio has a “Reaganesque quality” that can appeal across generations, while Robert Hoffman of Reno said it’s hard to be committed to any GOP presidential candidate now with so many seeking the nomination.
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