Marco Rubio thrills partisan crowd in The Villages

Marco Rubio spoke to an overfilled recreation center in The Villages.

Capacity for the room was 350, but more than 500 people turned up to see the U.S. Senator and presidential candidate speak.

He used the home court advantage well, telling a story about a visit to The Villages when his children were young.

"My kids remembered, so when I told them I was coming, they go, ‘Is that the place with the golf carts’? Yes it is.'"

Senator Rubio got a rousing standing ovation when he took to the stage, then again when he talked about national security.

“I promise you this," he said. "If I am ever blessed with the opportunity to be President of the United States, hopefully in about a year, not only will we have the strongest military in the world, our allies will trust us, and our adversaries will respect us."

Quick with a quip, Senator Rubio responded to a distraction in the audience from either a cellphone or sheriff's office radio with a joke.

“It’s an important thing to remind ourselves (turns looks at distraction) these Democrats, they’ll do anything. The good news is I was able to find my speech on the server last night. I was afraid I had erased it.”

When given an opportunity after the event, Marco Rubio decided not to attack the man leading in GOP polls, Donald Trump.

“Look guys, I’m running a campaign for president. If we can find the time, we will respond to something that needs to be answered, but by and large, I am focused on America. This election is about America. It’s about America’s future. It’s not about any of the individuals running, and I have a vision for America and that’s what my campaign is going to focus on.”

Marco Rubio even went out of his way to say nice things about Jeb Bush when asked about the 2010 Senate campaign, when Rubio claims the establishment lined up against him.

“Jeb is my friend," he said. "We’ve always helped each other. I’m not running against anyone. I have tremendous respect for him as a person and as what he did for Florida as a governor. I’ve said that repeatedly. I’m not running against anyone for president. I’m running for president because I honestly believe our party and our country needs to turn the page with new leadership and new ideas."

Senator Rubio relished in the role of campaigning in his home state. He was mobbed after the event with requests for selfies, snapping several dozen with the elderly crowd.