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Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio blasted President Barack Obama on Thursday for his handling of conflicts around the world, offering a sharp focus on foreign policy at a conservative gathering in Washington.
"In Europe, Vladimir Putin is trying to reconstitute the power and influence of the former Soviet Union," Rubio warned at the annual CPAC conference, speaking about the dangers of totalitarian regimes that go unchecked.
Rubio's advocacy for a more aggressive U.S. presence abroad came after many other Republicans - including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz - spoke to the crowd. While his fellow GOP lawmakers focused primarily on domestic issues like the economy and education, Rubio spent most of his speech on foreign policy problems involving China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.
The possible 2016 presidential candidate said the current president is wrong to compare the current administration's foreign policy approach to that of Republican icon and former president Ronald Reagan.
"The president loves to point to Ronald Reagan and say, 'Well, Reagan talked to Russia. Reagan talked to the Soviet Union, why can't we talk to Iran?'" he said. " But there's a difference! Reagan dealt with Soviet Union because they had nuclear weapons and he wanted peace. But he never accepted the Soviet Union."