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Just hours from start of South Carolina primary, The Kelly File surprised a focus group of Palmetto State Republicans with two of the frontrunners: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Making his pitch, Rubio told the group he's in the race because he believed that his generation would either leave their children the freest and most prosperous Americans that ever lived, or be the first Americans that leave their kids worse off than themselves. That received a strong reaction.

He then took some questions from the group on religious liberty, immigration and his voting record.

One audience member asked why Rubio supported the "Gang of Eight" bill, the bi-partisan proposal intended to reform the U.S. immigration system.

Rubio said that in 2013, he wanted to make the bill "as conservative as possible in a Senate controlled by Harry Reid... in the hopes that the conservative House would make it even better."

"So that's what I endeavored to do, to make it as strong as possible... When I'm president I can do it our way, not the way they want to do it."

Rubio added that he wanted to make a "difference...I wanted to have an impact on an issue that still haunts us."

Watch more above.

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