The Republican establishment has forgotten about the free-enterprise and limited-government principles that the country needs to get back on track, Sen. Marco Rubio told CNBC on Wednesday.
The Florida Republican, a possible presidential candidate, said in a "Squawk Box" interview: "I think there have been instances where the Republican party has allowed itself be pictured as the party of big business, as opposed to the party of innovation and free enterprise."
Rubio's comments came after as two long-time Republican incumbents faced fierce primary opposition from grassroots candidates. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a seven-term congressman from Virginia, lost his primary race two weeks ago to tea party-affiliated economics professor David Brat. The same fate almost befell veteran Sen. Thad Cochran in Tuesday's primary runoff in Mississippi, but he managed narrowly beat tea party challenger Chris McDaniel.
Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election, Rubio told CNBC the GOP needs a refresh. "America desperately needs a reformed conservative movement that explains to the American people what free enterprise and limited government looks like in the 21st century."
"I believe if the Republican Party runs a candidate and a platform of that nature," he continued, "we're going to be successful, not just at winning the election but uniting our country."
There's been lots of speculation about whether Rubio plans to make a Republican run for the White House. He's repeatedly said he'll decide by early next year.
Rubio wasn't pressed Wednesday, but said on "Squawk Box" last month: "My Senate term is [then] up as well. So I'll have to make a decision if I want to stay here in the U.S. Senate and continue to make a difference or run for another spot."