No More Red InkFred Barnes | Weekly Standard | May 18, 2011
It was no accident that Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida, spoke first. Senate Republicans had adopted a division of labor for their session at the White House last week with President Obama. Eleven of them addressed the president, touching on spending cuts and raising the debt limit.
Rubio is the youngest (39) and most acclaimed freshman in the Republican caucus. He talked about his 80-year-old mother and Medicare. Republicans, Rubio said, don’t want to change Medicare for her and other current beneficiaries. Their aim is to ensure Medicare exists for later generations. That means reforms of Medicare must be taken up now.
Five other freshmen were among the Republicans who spoke. They want a spending reduction plan in place before increasing the debt limit and allowing the government to continue borrowing. The mood of the meeting was “courteous” rather than conciliatory, a senator said. If the president wants “a constructive solution,” he’ll have to cease his “destructive commentary” on Republican proposals, especially on Medicare.