Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Thursday that the left is using the gay marriage debate and other issues in an effort to divide the country and drive attention away from President Obama's failings on the economy.
"They [Democrats] don't want to have a debate on marriage or these ideas. What they are saying is if you don't agree with them you're a bad person, and that's usually their default position," Rubio said in an interview on Laura Ingraham's radio show.
"For example, if you don't agree with their ideas about immigration and immigration reform, you're anti-immigrant," he said. "If you don't agree with their ideas of how the tax code should be structured, you're anti-working, you're for the rich guys and you're against the working class. So we have to work - we have to understand that's what their strategy is.
"They can't win a debate on the merits of these ideas," he added. "They can't. They know that. So they don't want to be involved in a debate on the merits.
"They immediately go to the, 'Let's label these folks as left undesirable,' for the reasons that you've outlined. So we have to be aware of it and we have to be able to point that out. And we also have truth on our side. We also have facts and figures on our side, and we have to be able to make that compelling argument and not fall into that trap of trying to prove that we're not haters, that we're not trying to overcompensate, either."
Rubio said he believes in keeping the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman. He added that people should not be demonized for holding that view.
"For those of us who believe in marriage, it is a very specific institution," Rubio said. "It is between a man and a woman under law, together. … I think you can have that belief and not have to be characterized the way some people are characterized about it."
Rubio said he disagrees with what he sees as the president's use of issues such gay marriage and student loan rates for the purposes of re-election.
"Every week, it is an effort by this president to divide one group of Americans against another group of Americans for the purposes of getting him reelected," Rubio said.