There wasn’t much in the way of substance to distinguish Marco Rubio’s official Republican response to the State of the Union Address from the Tea Party response by Rubio’s Senate colleague, Rand Paul. Both were delivered by potential 2016 presidential nominees who entered the Senate on a wave of grassroots support in 2010. Both senators offered conservative rebuttals to President Obama’s stridently pro-government address. But while Rubio focused on his own personal story as an example of the Republican vision for the country, Paul’s speech was more ideological, recalling more explicitly the spirit of the Tea Party movement that began nearly four years ago.

“Demand Washington change their ways or be sent home,” Paul implored citizens.
In the speech, delivered at the National Press Club in Washington and broadcast live on the Internet, the Kentucky Republican looked back to 18th century thinkers. “What America needs is not Robin Hood, but Adam Smith,” Paul said. Later, he paraphrased Montesquieu: “There can be no liberty when the executive branch and the legislative branch are combined.”

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