The One Surprising Thing Missing From Rubio’s Great Third Place Iowa Victory Speech

It was a great speech, and vintage Rubio rising: aspirational, eloquent, moving.

Ted Cruz may be a better debater, but Marco Rubio is the best communicator in the race.

But afterwards, I had this nagging feeling there was something missing from Rubio’s speech, something that bothered me.

This morning, I read the transcripts.

Here is Sen. Cruz, heading into New Hampshire fight, but still proudly reminding the large national audience:

Here is the number of times Marco Rubio mentioned life, marriage or religious liberty in his high-profile 3rd place Iowa victory speech: zero.

The closest he came to any mention of social conservatism or values voters was this: “To the families struggling to raise their children with the right values, we will take our message to them and bring them to our side.”

Rubio has a lot of crossover appeal to evangelicals and religious conservatives. I’m grateful for it.

But if you want a fighter who never backs down? New Hampshire and South Carolina, it’s your turn to decide.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.