One of the most poignant moments of Obama's State of the Union address came when he spoke about the Newtown shooting victims and called for smart gun laws. While Rubio also took a moment to pay tribute to the victims, he cautioned against placing too many restrictions on gun owners.
"We must effectively deal with the rise of violence in our country," he said. "But unconstitutionally undermining the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans is not the way to do it."
Did he succeed in presenting a vision of his party as more than just the realm of older, white men? That much remains up to the voters, and it will take more than one speech, but he delivered the Republican response with confidence.
"Now, let that hope bring us together again," he concluded with a smile, "to solve the challenges of our time and write the next chapter in the amazing story of the greatest nation man has ever known."