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Marco Rubio CPAC Speech

WASHINGTON - Marco Rubio hit President Barack Obama Thursday for his recent statement that religious-affiliated employers, the costs of their employees to cover birth control, calls it a violation of the First Amendment.

"You may disagree with what that religion agrees. That's not the point. The point is, the First Amendment still applies," he told a crowd of Republicans gathered in Washington for the Conservative Political Action Conference, repeating a line similar to the one he to Fox News' Greta Van Susteren a day earlier. "This is not even a social issue, it is a constitutional issue."

CPAC is a high-profile event for conservatives, this year attracting three presidential candidates, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, so Rubio's speech more than just a defense of American exceptionalism. He also considered a short-list option for vice president, an idea reinforced by the fact that he still must agree on a candidate. (He has said he does not expect the vice-presidential candidate, but that's hardly stopped speculation.)