Rubio to deliver GOP response to Obama's State of the Union

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will deliver the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address on Feb. 12.

Rubio's response will be delivered in both English and Spanish, according to Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) office.

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"Marco Rubio is one of our party’s most dynamic and inspiring leaders. He carries our party’s banner of freedom, opportunity and prosperity in a way few others can. His family’s story is a testament to the promise and greatness of America," Boehner said in a statement on Wednesday.

"He’ll deliver a GOP address that speaks from the heart to the hopes and dreams of the middle class; to our party’s commitment to life and liberty; and to the unlimited potential of America when government is limited and effective," added Boehner.

Rubio, a Tea Party favorite, said he would discuss limited government in his response.

"I’m honored to have this opportunity to discuss how limited government and free enterprise have helped make my family’s dreams come true in America," said Rubio.

According to a Rubio aide, the response will focus on policies to aid the middle class. The Cuban-American lawmaker is also likely to discuss immigration. 

"It’s worth noting that his speech will focus on the Republican Party’s agenda to grow the middle class," the aide said. "Immigration will likely be mentioned as one way to grow the economy, but the speech really is about the Republican Party’s commitment to limited government as the best way to help the middle class, and how it differs from the president’s plans for bigger government."

Rubio's selection to deliver the GOP response is the latest sign of the freshman senator's increasing prominence within the Republican Party. The junior senator is viewed as key to attracting more Hispanic voters to the GOP and is at the center of speculation as a potential 2016 presidential contender.

Rubio's response also comes as he has taken a prime role in negotiations over crafting an immigration reform deal. He signed on to a bipartisan Senate blueprint for immigration reform unveiled last week and has taken the lead in selling conservative lawmakers on the plan.

The president has said he hopes to make immigration reform a priority in his second term. Obama also unveiled his own principles on immigration last week, but the White House has said he will likely deliver more specifics during his address to Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in a statement, said Rubio would "contrast the Republican approach to the challenges we face with President Obama’s vision of an ever-bigger government and the higher taxes that would be needed to pay for it."

"Marco’s own experience as the child of immigrants has always informed his belief in limited government and free enterprise, which is why he has helped lead the fight against out-of-control spending and job-destroying tax hikes that continue to hold our economy back and stifle opportunity for millions. He was a natural choice to deliver the Republicans’ alternative to the administration’s reliance on government and debt," said McConnell.

In 2012, the GOP response was delivered by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.).

—This story was last updated at 4:21 p.m.