Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was in tonight’s Center Seat on Special Report. He responded to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ harsh criticism of President Obama’s foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If he were president, Rubio said he would negotiate a status of forces agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The senator said he was surprised Gates wrote the book, but added, “Nothing in the book surprises me in the sense that I’ve been critical of the president’s foreign policy and his views on national security.”

Juan Williams challenged Rubio on what action he would take in the Middle East, particularly in Syria. Rubio maintained that early on in the conflict, he would have sent support to elements in Syria who were not jihadists.  

Moving on to domestic issues, Rubio addressed the struggling middle class. Earlier today, Rubio gave a speech on the war on poverty. “First you have to have a robust, free enterprise economy. Not a corporatist’s economy or a crony capitalist one, […] where these sorts of better paying jobs are being created.”

Secondly, Rubio stressed the importance of developing the skills for these new jobs. Both of these factors, he said, will help eradicate poverty and deal with inequality in opportunity. 

Rubio also talked to the panel about the importance of marriage, and the limited role that government plays in dealing with the issue.