Marco Rubio releases first TV ad: ‘What happened in Paris could happen here’

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has released the first television ad of his Republican presidential campaign, warning Americans that terror attacks like the ones that happened in Paris could happen in the United States.

“This is a civilizational struggle between the values of freedom and liberty and radical Islamic terror,” Rubio says in the 30-second spot scheduled to begin airing nationally on Tuesday. “What happened in Paris could happen here.”

“There is no middle ground,” the GOP candidate continues. “These aren’t disgruntled or disempowered people. These are radical terrorists who want to kill us, because we let women drive, because we let girls go to school.”

He adds: “I’m Marco Rubio. I approve this message because there can be no arrangement or negotiation. Either they win or we do.”

According to an ABC News/Washington Post national poll released Sunday, Rubio (11 percent) currently sits in third place, trailing frontrunner Donald Trump (32 percent) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (22 percent) in the race for the Republican nomination. The Florida senator is also the only candidate other than Trump and Carson to register double-digit support among GOP voters.

Meanwhile, most voters trust former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to handle terrorism more than any of the three leading GOP candidates.

Who would trust more to handle terrorism?

• Hillary Clinton: 50 percent
• Donald Trump: 42 percent

• Hillary Clinton: 49 percent
Ben Carson: 40 percent

• Hillary Clinton: 47 percent
• Marco Rubio: 43 percent

Source: ABC News/Washington Post survey, Nov. 16-19, 2015

The poll also found a vast majority of Americans (81 percent) “think it is likely that there will be a terrorist attack in the U.S. in the near future that will cause large numbers of lives to be lost.” Just 18 percent of Americans do not think such an attack is likely to occur.

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Rubio said it’s obvious why the United States is a target for terror.

“The United States is the ultimate prize in their mind,” he said. “If ISIS is able to conduct a successful operation in the U.S., or I believe even Canada for that matter, of the scale of what you saw in Paris, it would be an enormous bonanza for them in terms of funding but also recruits from all over the world; that would be a huge messaging win for ISIS and continue to grow their movement.”

Rubio’s plan to fight them includes expanding air strikes and embedding U.S. forces with Sunni and Kurdish forces on the ground in Syria.

“We need a ground force that defeats ISIS, and it should made up primarily of Arab Sunnis,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re going to defeat them. They have to be defeated by Arab Sunnis themselves. So, they’re going to be the bulk of the ground force. There will have to be American operators embedded alongside them — special operators are combat troops.”

But Rubio added that the number of U.S. ground forces his plan calls for would not reach the levels of previous U.S. operations.

“This is not a return to Iraq,” he said.