Alexandra Jaffe and Dana Bash, CNN
Sen. Marco Rubio cast himself as the forward-looking candidate to lead the nation toward a new American century when he announced his presidential bid Monday, framing the election as a "generational choice" for Americans.
"Grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired by the promise of our future, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America," Rubio told supporters at Miami's Freedom Tower.
The 43-year-old freshman senator is the youngest contender in a rapidly-growing race for the presidency, and his speech Monday signaled he'll aim to turn his youth and relative inexperience into a central calling card of his campaign. That offers him a clear and immediate point of contrast with two of the top contenders in the race, both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who became the first Democratic candidate with her launch on Sunday, and likely GOP contender Jeb Bush.
Rubio wasted no time in taking a swipe at Clinton.
"Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday," he said, as the crowd erupted in boos, "began a campaign for President by promising to take us back to yesterday. But yesterday is over, and we are never going back."
Rubio's candidacy will also lean heavily on his personal story as the son of Cuban immigrants. In his speech, he told the story of his parents' struggles and said that today, the American Dream seems unattainable for many because "too many of our leaders and their ideas are stuck in the twentieth century."
"My candidacy might seem improbable to some watching from abroad," Rubio said. "In many countries, the highest office in the land is reserved for the rich and powerful. But I live in an exceptional country, I live in an exceptional country, where even the son of a bartender and a maid can have the same dreams and the same future as those who come from power and privilege."