Marco Rubio told ABC News's George Stephanopoulos that the United States is at a "generational moment"—a further sign the 43-year-old Republican senator will make his youth a focus of his presidential campaign against older candidates in both the primary and general election.
Rubio, who will give a speech Monday evening in his hometown of Miami to launch his White House bid, did not mention former Florida governor Jeb Bush nor former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in the interview excerpts released by ABC News. But Rubio's implict message was that Bush and Clinton, both Baby Boomers and both related to former presidents, represent a past generation.
"I think this country's at a generational moment where it needs to decide not what party it wants in charge but what kind of country are we going to want to be moving forward," Rubio said. "I think the 21st century can be the American century, and I believe that I can lead this country in that direction. I can help lead it there from the Senate. I can lead it there as president.”
Stephanopoulos asked if the first-term senator was the most qualified to be president, to which Rubio replied he "absolutely" thought so.
"We've reached a moment now, not just in my career, but the history of our country, where I believe that it needs a Republican Party that is new and vibrant, that understands the future, has an agenda for that future," Rubio said, "and I feel uniquely qualified to offer that. And that's why I'm running for president."
Rubio told a group of donors earlier Monday that he would be running and, according to reports, explicitly mentioned Clinton at the beginning of his pitch. Clinton announced Sunday she is seeking the Democratic nomination for president.