“Why was it good politics to go to the Lyndon Johnson room in the U.S. Capitol and say that Lyndon Johnson’s (anti-poverty) programs had been a failure?” Bob Schieffer, host of CBS’s “Face the Nation,” asked Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday.The Florida Republican, who outlined his plan for fighting poverty in a speech last week, said this is an issue he’s been talking about for most of the past decade.

“And the reason is, I myself am but a generation removed from poverty and despair,” Rubio said. “And the reason why I live a better life is because my parents had the opportunity to come to a place where people like them had the opportunity to improve their lives.

“I think that is still true for the majority of Americans, but I think it would be wrong not to recognize that there is a significant number of Americans that do not have equality of opportunity.

“That is not a political issue. That is something that threatens what makes us exceptional and different from the rest of the world. We need to address that. We need to address the fact that we have 40-some-odd-million people who feel trapped in poverty and do not feel like they have an equal opportunity to get ahead. And I don’t view that as a partisan issue or an electoral one. I think it goes to the heart of what it means to be (American).”