After a strong showing in the Iowa Republican caucus, coming in third behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told a crowd in Des Moines it was "the moment they said would never happen."
"For months they told us we had no chance," he said. "For months they told us because we offered too much optimism in a time of anger, we had no chance." Rubio said now is "not a time for waiting, for everything that makes this nation great now hangs in the balance." He vowed to "preserve and protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," and said if he becomes the Republican nominee, he will "unify this party and unify the conservative movement, grow the conservative movement, and take our message to the people who are struggling paycheck to paycheck."
Rubio used his speech to offer his congratulations to Cruz, which received a lukewarm round of applause from the audience, and to discuss how his immigrant parents came to the United States for a better life. He also talked about Hillary Clinton's private email server, and said if Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wins the November election, the United States will be a "great nation in decline."