Sen. Rubio's visit to Iowa fuels speculation over 2016 plans

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) headlined a fundraiser in Iowa on Saturday, fueling speculation about his future political plans.

At an event in Altoona for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's (R) 66th birthday, the freshman senator jokingly addressed talk that his appearance in the first-in-the-nation caucus state was a preview of 2016.

ADVERTISEMENT
"I am not, nor will I ever be, a candidate for offensive coordinator of Iowa," said Rubio. "I know there’s rumors," according to media reports. 

In his speech, Rubio praised GOP nominee Mitt Romney as an "extraordinary person," and said "we wish him all the best and hope his voice stays involved in the American political process."

But Rubio also said conservatives needed to look ahead and work to better present their message to the American public.

"I think we're all going to move on and move forward," said Rubio.

"We need to do a better job of going out and convincing our fellow Americans who perhaps don't see things the way we do," he added, according to reports. 

Rubio also took a shot at President Obama’s calls for raising taxes on the wealthy to help pay for a deficit-reduction plan to help avoid the looming “fiscal cliff.”

"The way to turn our economy around is not by making rich people poorer, it's by making poor people richer," said the Tea Party favorite.

Rubio received praise from Branstad, who said the senator was "the kind of inspirational leader that will help point us in the right direction."