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My first impression of Marco Rubio Thursday was that he looked as if he were running for president of his college class, and not the United States.

Looks deceive. The 44-year-old Florida senator and Republican contender delivered a speech to the Detroit Economic Club that was sophisticated, passionate and chock-full of common sense conservatism. This guy is a credible presidential candidate.

Beyond that, he may be the presidential candidate for a new generation of Americans, one that is already demonstrating a determination not to allow their innovation and enthusiasm to be throttled by a hidebound federal bureaucracy or a political structure that values dependency over self-reliance.

Rubio stressed America’s potential, and in a not-so-subtle dig at the nearly-70 Hillary Clinton, stressed the importance of leaders who understand technology and how it shapes the values of younger Americans.

Still, one term in the Senate and some time in the Florida Legislature is not a deep resume for someone seeking the Oval Office — look at how that worked out with President Barack Obama.

But Rubio is a force to deal with, and could help Republicans with Hispanic voters.

If he were on a ticket with Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, I think the Republicans would be hard to beat.

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