By Justin Sink
Rubio also predicted that Republicans would come together after their bruising primary fight — unlike, he said, Democrats, who are reticent to embrace the label "liberal."
"Don't let the media convince you — at the end of the day we're all going to come together," Rubio said.
He went on to joke about Democrats adopting the term "progressive," saying that he "thought that was an insurance company."
"[The GOP presidential candidates] are in a fight about who is more like Ronald Reagan, but Democrats never argue who is more like Jimmy Carter," Rubio said to laughter and applause.
Rubio went on to outline a series of proposals that he argued would improve the economy, including tax code reform and a new energy policy.
"The point is we stand for simplicity and normalcy in the tax code … the tax code should not be an impediment to the creation of jobs and opportunity," Rubio said.
He also blasted the president's decision to require that employers provide healthcare that includes access to contraceptives, saying the mandate could undermine faith-based communities and the "strong character and strong moral values" of Americans.
"The First Amendment still applies. Religious freedom still exists," Rubio said. "This isn't even a social issue, this is a constitutional issue."
Rubio's speech came two years from his debut at the conference, one which elevated the freshman senator into the national political consciousness for many. Although Rubio has repeatedly denied interest in a spot as a vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket, his Latino roots and ties to Florida — a pivotal swing state — have put him squarely at the center of most speculation.