Rubio calls for stronger response to Islamic militants
 
 
Rubio, who took the stage immediately following former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a likely Republican presidential rival, has seen his 2016 stock rise recently amid renewed public interest in foreign issues.
 
Rubio saved his strongest firepower Friday for President Obama's foreign policy and terminology regarding the threat from Islamic militants during his speech before more than 70,000 gun advocates at the National Rifle Association's annual conference in Nashville.
 
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"When we talk about radical Islam, we are talking about an ideology that millions of peace-loving Muslims join us in condemning," Rubio told those gathered, noting groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have buried children alive, enslaved women and executed others. 
 
"And so, Mr. President, if condemning that puts us on a high horse, I suggest we saddle up," Rubio said to raucous applause, referencing Obama's controversial prayer breakfast remark in February.
 
Rubio mentioned recent attacks in Brussels, Oklahoma, New York, Australia and at the Canadian parliament – "all of them tied to Islamic fundamentalism, and those are only the beginning."
 
Rubio argued groups like ISIS are a global terrorist threat, and the U.S. needed a president intent on maintaining an impressive military with strong intelligence gathering capabilities.
 
"Weakness ... is the friend of danger. And weakness is the enemy of peace," Rubio said. "President Obama has been a weak president."
 
Rubio's speech to the NRA was viewed as a way for him to shore up support among the conservative base just days before his expected presidential announcement.
 
In his speech, Rubio touted legislation he recently introduced targeting some of the most controversial gun laws in Washington, D.C., after which his NRA rating was boosted from B+ to A.
 
Alluding to the Second Amendment, Rubio noted that the presidential oath of office contained "no asterisks" or "fine print."
 
"Our president swears to preserve, protect and defend the entire Constitution of the United States, not just the parts he likes," Rubio said to roaring applause. 
 
Rubio also showed a lighter side, joking that on Monday, he will decide either to run for president, run for reelection to the U.S. Senate or run to become "commissioner of the National Football League."
 
The Cuban-American lawmaker also reflected on his inspiration for leaving behind a stronger nation for future generations to pursue the American dream, alluding to his expected presidential announcement. 
 
"I, for one, have an answer in mind."