The Associated Press
In the nearly 100 days since President Barack Obama won a second term, the Florida senator has made calculated, concrete steps to emerge as a next-generation leader of the party, put a 21st-century stamp on the conservative movement and potentially position himself for a presidential run.
The bilingual Cuban-American lawmaker has become Republicans' point person on immigration and he pitches economic solutions for middle-class workers. He is an evangelist for a modern, inclusive party that welcomes more Hispanics and minorities, but says Republicans must stay true to their principles.
Rubio advisers say his rebuttal will offer economic prescriptions for a sluggish economy and try to counter what they call Obama's government-centered economic approach.
The speech comes as demand for the 41-year-old son of immigrants has soared and the party has tried to recover from significant electoral losses and map out a path ahead.
Call it the "it" factor. Time magazine put him on the cover, calling Rubio "The Republican Savior." Rubio, a Catholic, shrugged off the label during an interview with The Associated Press: "I didn't write the cover. I wouldn't have said it if I wrote it," he said. "There are no saviors in politics."