LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Republican Florida Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioSenate clears water bill with Flint aid, drought relief What Trump's Cabinet picks reveal House passes water bill with Flint aid, drought relief MORE is ridiculing President Obama's climate change deal, describing the international agreement as an “unfunny joke.”
“The president just signed this unfunny joke of a climate deal,” Rubio told an audience of about 200 supporters in Las Vegas's Renaissance Hotel.
“This kind of unilateral disarmament in our economy is reckless, and it is hurting the American Dream.”
Rubio offered the comments a day before Tuesday’s Republican debate in Las Vegas.
The candidate is trying to leverage his boyhood spent growing up in the city to position himself as the hometown presidential hopeful in this early caucus state.
It's an approach that may pay dividends for Rubio before a homegrown audience in the GOP debate Tuesday night at The Venetian, a hotel-casino owned by influential donor Sheldon Adelson.
Nevada, with significant Hispanic and Mormon populations that tends to vote for centrist Republicans — Mitt Romney won the GOP presidential caucuses in both 2008 and 2012 — could prove crucial to Rubio's chances to win the Republican nomination.
Several of Rubio's relatives were in the audience at the Renaissance Hotel Monday afternoon, and the candidate told them he has more family in Las Vegas than he does in Miami.
Accompanied by his wife Jeanette, Rubio got an enthusiastic reception from the audience when he name-checked Las Vegas's Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall where his father worked as a bartender, and the Imperial Palace where his mother worked as a maid.
At another point in the speech, Rubio — foreshadowing a pitch he is likely to make on Tuesday night — read out his childhood address, to applause and whistling.
“Just a few miles from where I stand right now, as a young child I spent countless hours on the porch of our home in North Las Vegas,” said Rubio in his closing pitch to the Nevada voters before reading the street address.
“I pity the person who lives there now,” he added.