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Marco Rubio on Principles & Values

 


America is exceptional: we value every life at every stage

The State of the Union address is always a reminder of how unique America is. For much of human history, most people were trapped in stagnant societies, where a tiny minority always stayed on top, and no one else even had a chance.

But America is exceptional because we believe that every life, at every stage, is precious, and that everyone everywhere has a God-given right to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them.

Source: GOP Response to 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

Come together or our generation will begin American decline

Despite our differences, I know that both Republicans & Democrats love America. I pray we can come together to solve our problems, because the choices before us could not be more important.

If we can get our economy healthy again, our children will be the most prosperous Americans ever. And if we do not, we will forever be known as the generation responsible for America's decline.

Some are starting to believe that our government leaders just can't or won't make the right choices anymore. But our strength has never come from the White House or the Capitol. It's always come from our people. A people united by the American idea that, if you have a dream and you are willing to work hard, nothing should be impossible.

Each time our nation has faced great challenges, what has kept us together was our shared hope for a better life. Now, let that hope bring us together again. To solve the challenges of our time and write the next chapter in the amazing story of the greatest nation man has ever known.

Source: GOP Response to 2013 State of the Union Address , Feb 12, 2013

Obama's "Change" is that "Hope" has been hard to find

Our problem with President Obama isn't that he's a bad person. By all accounts, he too is a good husband, and a good father--and thanks to lots of practice, a pretty good golfer. Our problem is he's a bad president.

The new slogan for the president's campaign is "Forward." A government that spends $1 trillion more than it takes in? An $800 billion stimulus that created more debt than jobs? A government intervention into health care paid for with higher taxes and cuts to Medicare? Scores of new rules and regulations? These ideas don't move us "Forward," they take us "Backwards."

These are tired and old big government ideas. Ideas that threaten to make America more like the rest of the world, instead of helping the world become more like America.

Under Barack Obama, the only "Change" is that "Hope" has been hard to find. Instead of inspiring us by reminding us of what makes us special, he divides us against each other. Hope and Change has become Divide and Conquer.

Source: 2012 Republican National Convention speech , Aug 30, 2012

1996: Surrogate for Bob Dole in Spanish radio debate

I set up the Dole campaign's South Florida operations. By late September, everyone knew Dole would lose, and other than our small but dedicated group and a few loyal volunteers, it was hard to get anyone else to care about, much less work for, a losing campaign.

Sometimes, I represented the campaign at public events. At one of those occasions, a local Spanish-language radio station asked for a Dole surrogate to debate a Democrat on air. I called every Spanish-speaking Republican legislator I could find. They were all unavailable or unwilling. So I had to do it myself. It didn't go well.

I was not well prepared. My opponent was an experienced operative. He knew all of Dole's vulnerabilities and easily countered the few obvious talking points I used to criticize President Clinton. He made short work of me. It was a valuable, if painful, lesson. I vowed I would never again show up for an interview or debate before I had done all I could to make certain I was the best-prepared person in the room.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p. 84-86 , Jun 19, 2012

Prayed for guidance & got job that allowed Legislature too

My House leadership role took more time from my law work and strained my relations with the firm's partners. None of the firm's work was as interesting to me as my work in the legislature, and it showed.

We were living in my mother-in-law's house. I had given up my car. Still we were struggling to make ends meet. The only solution, I concluded, was to resign from the legislature and practice full-time again.

I entered my church, walked to the front pew, opened the kneeler and prayed. What did He want me to do? I prayed His will be done, and for the strength to accept it.

On my way back to my mother-in-law's house, my cell phone rang. The headhunter was calling to let me know a law firm had expressed an interest in my services. I had just been on my knees in prayer asking for God's help. Now a door suddenly appeared to open and offer me a way out of my predicament. Two weeks later, I drove to the firm's Hollywood office for my first day in my new job.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.118-120 , Jun 19, 2012

Goal as Speaker: House is vibrant laboratory of policy ideas

During my campaign for speaker, members repeatedly expressed to me their frustration with their lack of influence over how the house was managed and the policies the leadership decided to pursue. They resented the top-down management style of previous speakers, and insisted on a more collaborative process. I agreed with them, and assured them that as speaker I would leave it to members to create and pursue policy priorities, while I oversaw the management of their agenda.

I also wanted the house to become a vibrant laboratory of ideas, a place that conceived and pursued big, bold policy ideas.

To that end, [we decided on] writing a book that could serve as a guide for a policy agenda similar to the Contract with America. I traveled the state over the next two years, joining other members at events with voters we called "idearaisers." We picked the best ideas they offered and turned them into a contract with Florida, which we later published and titled "100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future."

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.128-130 , Jun 19, 2012

We cannot keep God out of our lives, even in public realm

I had rarely discussed my faith in public. I hadn't hidden it, but I hadn't emphasized it, either. But time and again, throughout my 36 years, God had made His hand visible in my life. I had been blessed with good health and a good education. I had been blessed to be born an American.

"God is real," I told my colleagues [in my final speech as Speaker]. "He loves everyone who had ever lived."

I should have given the speech long before, but I had been conditioned by political correctness, by the prevailing notion that a discussion of one's faith didn't belong in the public realm. No matter how hard we try though, we cannot keep God out of our lives, out of every moment, every aspiration, every failure and every success. Whether we acknowledge it or not, He inhabits our lives completely. It had taken me too long, but I was determined not to leave the house without paying public tribute to God, for the blessings He had bestowed on me and on our country.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.160 , Jun 19, 2012

2009: Considered running for Governor instead of Senate

The news on the morning of February 4 was hard to believe. Charlie Crist wasn't running. It made little sense to anyone. Crist was an immensely popular governor who stood a good chance of running unopposed for reelection. It was still unlikely he would run for the Senate, but his flirtation with the idea would freeze the field and make it very hard for any other candidate to get traction until he made a decision after the legislature adjourned in May.

I'm not proud of my initial reaction to the news. If Crist runs for the Senate, I thought to myself, I'll run for governor. It made political sense. I had spent 9 years in state government, and I knew Tallahassee politics and state issues very well. But my reaction was strictly grounded in ambition. I missed public service, no matter how hard I tried to convince myself and others that I didn't. All it took was the availability of a high office to expose how intensely my ambition still burned.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.174 , Jun 19, 2012

Primary strategy based on FL rule that only GOP could vote

Sen. Jim DeMint (R, SC) asked to meet with me. Given the onslaught of Republican endorsement announcements for Crist, the fact that any Republican senator wanted to talk to me was shocking. I went to Senator DeMint's office and was greeted by young staffers who had seen some of my speeches on YouTube & seemed genuinely excited to meet me. I was escorted to the senator's office, where I gave him my standard pitch about how I could win the nomination. Only Republicans could vote in Florida primaries, and they were typically dominated by the most conservative Republicans in the state. FL conservatives had never been very fond of Crist, and once they realized they had another choice, they would abandon him & vote for me. I didn't need to raise as much money as Charlie. I just needed enough to let FL Republicans know they had a choice in the primary. Jim had started a political action committee, the Senate Conservatives Fund, to support conservatives in contested primaries. My campaign fit the bill.
Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.184-185 , Jun 19, 2012

2009 campaign: proxy fight against moderates for soul of GOP

The editors of the National Review were considering putting me on the cover of their next edition. Appearing on the cover of the National Review would give me a chance to nationalize my campaign--to turn it into a proxy fight for the national battle between conservatives and moderates for the soul of the GOP. If we could do that, we might be able to raise a million dollars before the end of the quarter.

I was in Orlando when the National Review hit the newsstands. The story was as good as the cover. It read in part:

"On paper, it looks like a mismatch between an unbeatable juggernaut and a doomed also-ran. Yet Crist may be vulnerable. Rubio is one of the brightest young stars on the right. Their contest could become the sleeper race of 2010."

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.203-205 , Jun 19, 2012

Strategized in 3-way race to split Dem. & independent vote

Meek won the Democratic primary. But he didn't have much money. Our path to victory required a viable Democratic nominee to compete with Crist for Democratic votes. In a 3-way race, I would only need to hold the Republican base and win a decent share of the independent vote. If Kendrick became irrelevant--he was underfinanced and a distant third in all the polls--Crist would become the de facto Democratic nominee. Democrats would embrace him as their best hope to defeat me. We couldn't let that happen.

We needed to help Kendrick Meek get free airtime. Debates were the best way to do that. And so, 2 days after the Democratic primary, we agreed to 7 televised debates. They served their purpose. They kept Kendrick in the news and relevant. Thanks in large part to Kendrick's effectiveness as a debater, Crist never had a clear field to court Democratic votes.

The 7 debates served as a regular reminder that there was an actual Democrat in the race. Kendrick performed very well in all of them.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.256-257 , Jun 19, 2012

I've had hecklers in audience, but never on debate stage

I was trying to answer a debate question when Crist interrupted me again. I'd had enough, and out came a line I hadn't prepared:

RUBIO: I've never had a heckler at the debate. I've always had them in the audience.

Upon hearing the heckler line, the panel, the audience and even Kendrick Meek broke out into laughter. Crist appeared as if the frustrations of the entire campaign had finally gotten the best of him.

CRIST: That's the way it is. Welcome to the NFL.

I gathered myself and pivoted to what the race was all about:

RUBIO: I apologize. I mean, I've had this heckler going on for 2 minutes now. This election is about the people watching whose country is going in the wrong direction, who understand that, if we keep doing what we are doing now, we are going to be the first Americans in history to leave our children worse off than ourselves. That's what this election is about. I was hoping that's what this debate would be about. And I hope that's what the [campaign] is about.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.278-281 , Jun 19, 2012

Rules of Senate push for bipartisanship, and so do Americans

When you debate with colleagues in the Senate, you've met them, have come to know them and, often, have worked with them on other legislation. And you're going to need their cooperation in the future, if only to get unanimous consent for a minor request.

Senators are always looking to join with one or more members of the opposite party to sponsor legislation. The rules of the Senate make it impossible for the most legislation to pass without some bipartisan support.

But there are other motivations for bipartisan cooperation as well. First, your constituents appreciate it. Most Americans want to see Republicans and Democrats working together for the good of the country. It's refreshing, too, to be able to break free from the usual constraints of partisanship and work with colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Even on issues where there isn't bipartisan agreement, most senators respect opposing points of view, especially if those views rest on principle and not politics.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.288-289 , Jun 19, 2012

1991: Interned for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

In 1991 at the University of Florida, Marco lived on student loans & grants & took a part-time job. He also scored a prime internship, working for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the 1st Republican woman elected to the US House of Representatives. She would become a fixture on the South Florida political scene, but at that time she was relatively new to Washington. It's unclear whether she knew that the young man she was bringing on as an intern was the bother-in-law of a man that her husband had sent to prison.
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 77-78 , Jun 19, 2012

Wife & her sister both cheerleaders for NFL's Miami Dolphins

Rubio was engaged to be married while running for his 1st political office. His future wife, Jeanette Dousdebes, was a striking blonde from a Colombian family who had been a cheerleader, along with her sister, Adriana, for the Miami Dolphins. Her demeanor counterbalanced Rubio's frenetic energy. "She has kind of a calm personality, very easygoing," said Dorie Grogan, the cheerleading squad's senior director of entertainment. "He seemed like a supportive, really nice boyfriend."
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 84 , Jun 19, 2012

As LDS Youth, idolized Donny & Marie Osmond

Not long after arriving in Las Vegas, Marco began reading the Book of Mormon. Eventually, Marco, his sister Veronica, and their mother were baptized as Mormons. Marco converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with enthusiasm.

"He was totally into it," his cousin reported. Marco attended LDS youth groups & often walked to chapel with his family because his mother could not drive. The cousins idolized the Osmonds, the family singing group whose chart-topping success made them the most famous Mormons of their era. The Donny & Marie show, featuring 2 of the siblings, had been a TV hit.

Marco, Veronica, and their cousin like to perform Osmond songs at family get-togethers. "Tony"--as the cousins called Marco, referencing his middle name, Antonio--was so entranced by the Osmonds that he joined his cousins for their annual trip to Utah to tour the pops group's recording studio. "It was just the thing to do," Michelle Denis said. "Then we'd go hang out at BYU."

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 59-60 , Jun 19, 2012

At age 13, urged family to convert back to Catholicism

Marco, his sister, and his mother returned to the Catholic Church that they left behind for Mormonism. The exact date of their return is in dispute. Michelle Denis and her brother, Mo, say the Rubios didn't return to Catholicism until later. "When they returned to Miami they returned to the Catholic Church," Mo Denis has said. Marco says the family converted back to Catholicism while still living in Las Vegas and distributed a communion certificate dated Christmas Day 1984 from a Nevada church.

Regardless of the chronology, Michelle Denis says the Rubios went back to Catholicism at the urging of Marco, which would have meant he was guiding the family's faith around the age of 13. "He really convinced the whole family to switch religions," she said.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 61 , Jun 19, 2012

Mocked as "too American" by Miami Hispanic classmates

West Miami, where the Rubios settled, was too small to have its own high school, so Marco enrolled at South Miami High. 75% of South Miami's 2,410 students were Hispanic, 10% were black, and 13% were identified as "Anglo".

The future senator did not follow the pattern of some budding political stars, joining every club and topping every list. In the school yearbook he appears less as an exclamation point than as a parenthetical phrase: wearing a string of pooka shells around his neck and laughing at another student's joke, donating blood, standing in the back row of the class photo of Mrs. Nott's 5th period class. Rubio has said that he "struggled to fit in," and that "some classmates mocked him as `too American.'" He was a good student, but he wasn't the big man on campus.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 64 , Jun 19, 2012

Football star: not fastest nor biggest, but intellectual

Marco's wedge into the school's spotlight came on the football field. He loved the fame. South Miami boasted a powerhouse team, a perennial contender for conference titles and play off slots.

The team's practices could be brutal, hours spent in the wilting Miami heat and humidity. If a player didn't want it badly, it would show. Some couldn't hack it. Marco kept coming back. "He pushed himself to the limit," his older brother, who was a star high school quarterback, later said. "He just does not stop."

Marco doesn't appear in the scant coverage of the team from that period. But his coaches and teammates remember him as a hard-nosed player they didn't need to worry about. "You could always tell he understood the game from an intellectual standpoint even if he wasn't the fastest guy or the biggest guy out there," said a defensive lineman on the team.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 65-67 , Jun 19, 2012

Attended Tarkio College in Missouri on football scholarship

Mike Muxo was an ace at recruiting local players. Tarkio rose out of the cornfields of northwest Missouri, 1 hour southeast of Omaha, Nebraska. Muxo sat down with Marco at South Miami to persuade him to come to Tarkio, but not without making clear what he would be getting himself into. "I explained to him that it was very different from South Florida."

Muxo's pitch to his recruits was twofold: come to Tarkio and you can keep playing football, plus you'll get an education, mostly for free. Muxo told Marco and the other recruits about Tarkio football players who had gone on to become surgeons and attorneys. Marco was sold. He was beating the odds. According to a 1989 article in his school newspaper, only 14% of the previous year's class were attending 4-year colleges.

Marco showed up at Tarkio in August 1989. Everything about the place was a culture shock, even on the football field. When placekickers booted the ball through the uprights it literally landed in a cornfield.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 74-76 , Jun 19, 2012

1990: Left Tarkio College amid school's loan scandal

Marco showed up at Tarkio, which had 550 full-time students, in time for the start of classes in August 1989. Tarkio played in the Heart of America Conference, a conglomeration of small religion-affiliated colleges. Tarkio took its cues from Presbyterian teachings: students were taught "the Old Testament one semester, new Testament the next."

The month before Marco started classes, US News & World Report published a list of the colleges with the highest default rates for federally granted student loans. The headline of the chart was "A Class of Deadbeats." Tarkio College topped the list, with a staggering 78.7% default rate.

In 1990, at the end of his 1st year at Tarkio, Marco himself decided to go home. Muxo believes the school's troubles played into the decision, but there were other factors too, including just plain culture shock. The next year Tarkio was gone. The college, which had survived for 109 years, closed amid the ballooning scandal over its questionable loan practices.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 75-77 , Jun 19, 2012

1990: Met future wife while at Santa Fe Community College

Marco enrolled in Santa Fe College, a community college in Gainesville, Florida, known as a place to burnish academic credentials for students who wanted to enroll at the University of Florida.

The college's website touts the campus as "the Gateway to the Gators," the University of Florida's mascot. He also met a girl. In 1990 a pretty Columbiana named Jeanette Dousdebes caught his eye at a party in their neighborhood in Miami. He was 19, she was 17. They had both attended South Miami High School but hadn't known each other there. He teased her at the party and she thought he was funny. They would marry 8 years later.

After a year at Santa Fe, Marco transferred to the University of Florida. He lived on student loans and grants and took a part-time job. He also scored a prime internship, working for Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the 1st Republican woman elected to the US House of Representatives.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 77-78 , Jun 19, 2012

FactCheck: 24 of "100 Ideas" now law; 10 partially enacted

All 100 ideas were passed by the Florida House, Rubio declared on his website. "57 of these ideas ultimately became law." The award-winning PolitiFact Florida, a fact-checking project now jointly operated by the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald, meticulously researched his claim and concluded that it was a bit of a stretch." 24 ideas became law and another 10 were "partially enacted." Among the Rubio victories were property insurance reform, creation of a state investment pool for business, and an online health data base. Others, such as committing to having a "Top 10" public university and building a "model transportation system" are not a simple matter of passing a law but rather judgment calls on whether the lofty goal had been reached, PolitiFact concluded.
Source: PolitiFact 2012 on "Rise of Marco Rubio" by M.Franzia, p.137 , Jun 19, 2012

2011: Formed "Reclaim America PAC" to support conservatives

Making friends with money had been effective for Rubio in Tallahassee, and he went back to that strategy in Washington, forming a political action committee called Reclaim America PAC. The intent was to support conservative Republican candidates. It was patterned on a PAC formed by Sen. DeMint that had supported Rubio in the Florida politician's senate race. Rep. Eric Cantor [formed a similar PAC]. Like Rubio, Cantor is a young lawmaker who is being touted as a potential future president or V.P.
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.187 , Jun 19, 2012

1998: Elected to West Miami City Commission at age 26

As he rose, Rubio perfected the art of political apprenticeship. In 1998, when the apprentice was 26, the goal was a modest one: win a seat on the West Miami City Commission. The job gave Rubio a platform, a place for him and his mentors to consider the next move-for they all envisioned big things ahead.

Just over 5,800 people live in West Miami. Excluding the island of Cuba itself, it is one of the most Cuban places on Earth. In 2000, 2 years after Rubio's 1st run for elected office, more than 61% of the residents were Cuban and 84% were Hispanic, according to the Census. Only 3 other US cities, all in Florida -Westchester, Hialeah, and Coral Terrace-claim a greater percentage of Cubans.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p. 82 , Jun 19, 2012

Accumulated power in 2003, to take Speaker seat in 2006

Arrayed around the conference table were 11 other state legislators. He made 12. Pickens was amazed to be there because he hadn't been a Marco Man. He had backed another candidate in the Byzantine contest to become the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, a race that Rubio had sewed up in 2003. Now, 2 years later, Pickens was being ushered into Rubio's elite circle of advisors.

Rubio had summoned the lawmakers to the Orlando hotel to help him plan his 2 year tenure as Florida speaker, a post he would ascend to in November 2006. Since coming to Tallahassee as a virtual unknown in 1999, Rubio had learned how to accumulate and manage power in Florida. He had learned that Miami couldn't serve as a singular base, but that he had to extend his influence throughout the state. He had learned that he had to think 3 moves ahead of his opponent. Rubio found an interior passageway to power that others could easily have missed.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.101-102 , Jun 19, 2012

2003 campaign finance scandal: Rubio sloppy, but not corrupt

The stated purpose of [Rubio's PAC] was to "support candidates who espouse conservative government policies." But the committee spent $150,000 on administrative costs in 2003 and only $4,000 on campaign contributions.

Later Rubio founded another committee, Floridians for Conservative Leadership in Government. Its stated purpose was to advance conservative ideas, but about 2/3 of the $386,000 it raised went to political consultants, including more than $100,000 for a project Rubio launched to collect ideas for improving state government. "I am proud of the work we have done to advance conservative ideas and principles," Rubio would later say. "The purpose of the committees was to provide a platform to pay for the costs associated with this work."

Rubio and his staff tended to explain away discrepancies as clerical error. "The bookkeeping was not always perfect." His defenders promoted what would become a stock narrative. Rubio was simply sloppy, but not corrupt.

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.112-113 , Jun 19, 2012

Acknowledge God in everything we do & everywhere we go

Two affirmations of faith frame Marco Rubio's rise from the state capitol to national acclaim. The first was delivered in a voice quavering with emotion on the floor of the Florida House, the 2nd in a voice raised in triumph.

"God is real," Rubio told his colleagues in May 2008 during his farewell speech at the Florida House of Representatives. "God is real. I don't care what courts across this country say, I don't care what laws we pass. God is real."

1-1/2 years later, in the flush of his Senate win and with his ascension to national stardom assured, Rubio opened his victory speech with another statement of faith: "Let me begin tonight by acknowledging a simple but profound truth. We are all children of a powerful and great God. I bear witness to that tonight as so many of you do in your own lives." These truths, he said, must always be acknowledged in everything we do and in everywhere we go."

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.169-170 , Jun 19, 2012

Declined to join Senate Tea Party Caucus; keep it grassroots

Sen. Rubio seemed to understand implicitly that harnessing the Tea Party to Washington-based institutions could weaken whatever effectiveness it had. "My fear has always been that if you start creating these little clubs in Washington run by politicians, the movement starts to lose its energy," Rubio explained. "I don't think it'll ever become an organization. If it does, it'll end up quickly falling part. I think it draws its strength from the fact that it's a legitimate grassroots movement of people from all over the country who share a difference of opinion on a bunch of issues, but ultimately on the core of what the role of government should be, find commonality, and are able to express it now in ways that weren't available to us 20 years ago." He declined to participate in the tea party caucus formed by his fellow freshman Rand Paul. The move irked a few tea party supporters, [but] a tea party activist said, "He feels the tea party is a grassroots thing and should not be tied to DC."
Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.188-189 , Jun 19, 2012

2011: Accused of constitutional ineligibility for presidency

The birthers launched their assault: "Marco Rubio's father was not a naturalized citizen when Marco was born in May 1971," Charles Kerchner, a retired US Navy commander, declared. "His father applied for naturalization in 1975. Rubio is not constitutionally eligible to run for President or VP. Kerchner based his argument against Rubio's eligibility primarily on one sentence in the US Constitution: Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution: "No Person except a natural born Citizen or a Citizen of the US, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President. Kerchner also relied on a US Supreme court case of 1875, Minor v. Happersett, that used the term "natural born citizen" to refer to children born in the US of US citizens.

Rubio opted to ignore the entreaties, which seems like a logical response. But by the fall his claim stared to get a bit of traction. Other bloggers were picking up the string and writing their own birther pieces

Source: The Rise of Marco Rubio, by Manuel Rogi-Franzia, p.200-201 , Jun 19, 2012

OpEd: Leader for next generation of conservative movement

Marco was already running for Senate before Gov. Crist announced in May 2009. Marco had no money and virtually no name recognition. What he did have was an ability to get things done, and a record worth supporting. From day one, the early Tea Party movement started to spread the word on the ground, evangelizing about this fresh face who offered something different, something worth fighting for. They also had not forgotten how Crist embraced the president's stimulus package.

Rubio became a welcome guest at Tea Party events across the state. At their urging, Dick Armey endorsed Rubio on July 4, 2009, describing Rubio as "an inspiring leader for the next generation of the conservative movement."

Yet despite the obvious advantages these fiscal conservatives found in Rubio, Crist enjoyed an enormous lead in the first polls. But the Tea Party had a champion and got to work. Slowly, the Tea Party movement's support helped bring Rubio to the public eye.

Source: Give Us Liberty, by Rep. Dick Armey, p.162-163 , Aug 17, 2010

Fundraised via "Floridians for Conservative Leadership"

In 2004, he set up another committee of continuous existence called Floridians for Conservative Leadership in Government, and raised nearly $400,000. His financial management was questionable. The St. Petersburg Times found that $14,000 from the fund wen to Rubio's mother-in-law and two of his wife's cousins for "courier work." About one-fifth of the committee's expenses were never accounted for at all. Rubio says that's because the money went toward expenses under $500, which don't have to be detailed.
Source: Miami New Times coverage of 2010 Florida Senate debate , Jul 22, 2010

As Speaker, passed 57 of "100 Innovative Ideas"

Rubio thrust himself onto the national stage thanks to a campaign called 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future. The tour had Rubio and other Republicans traveling the state for so-called idea-raiser town halls with voters. Rubio later published the ideas in a book and was hailed as a rising GOP star. (Gingrich, for example, predicted Rubio would "emerge as a national leader" and called the project "a work of genius."). By 2005, Rubio's official election ceremony as speaker felt like a coronation.

His ambition, though, again proved greater than his ability to find consensus. Both his tax plan and spending cap made it out of committee, but as the House was forced to make the deepest budget cuts in state history, the Senate refused to even take up the plans.

In the end, Rubio's two terms as speaker [ending in 2008] had yielded no flashy tax overhaul, but the House did pass 57 of his "100 Innovative Ideas."

Source: Miami New Times coverage of 2010 Florida Senate debate , Jul 22, 2010

Without America, the world would be a worse place

RUBIO: People from all over America, all over Florida, are looking at this administration chip away at all the things that have made America great and unique throughout our history. America is not just exceptional nation. Without its greatness the world would be a very different and I would dare say a worse place. And all of that's being chipped away now by this administration.People are looking for leaders that will go to Washington, D.C. and stand up to this agenda and offer a clear alternative. And I've chosen to run for the United States Senate in Florida, because in Florida there's no other candidate that we can count on to actually do that. That's the basis of my campaign. It's the only reason why I'm running. And I think it's a compelling one. It's the reason why I think we've found success.
Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate , Mar 28, 2010

Attended 15-20 Tea Party events; but not formally vetted

Q: Some activists say that if elected, you will be the first Tea Party senator. On the other hand, we got a bunch of e-mails from Tea Party activists, and let's put one on the screen: "Ask Marco Rubio why he refuses to be vetted by the Florida Tea Parties. I want to hear from Rubio or I will not vote for him."

RUBIO: Sure. The Tea Party movement has been mischaracterized in the press as some sort of an organization. Tea Parties are where people go and what people do. It's not what they are and it is not an organization. If you go to a tea party, what you're going to find there are people that largely have never been involved in American politics.

Q: So why don't you go? We get this from [many] Tea Party groups.

RUBIO: I have gone to 15, 20 of these around the state. I've met with multiple groups. If there's a formal vetting process, I've not been made aware of it. But I can tell you that I'm proud of my association with the Tea Party folks and the fact that we have attended multiple events

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate , Mar 28, 2010

Are Floridians better off than they were four years ago? No!

RUBIO: The governor likes to call himself a Reagan Republican. I don't ever recall Reagan being questioned about running as an independent.

CRIST: Actually, Reagan was a Democrat before he was a Republican. So if you want to talk about Reagan, let's talk about him.

RUBIO: Ronald Reagan had a great question he asked during his campaign: Are you better off today than you were four years ago? And for Floridians, there's a powerful answer to that. We have the highest unemployment record in our history We have record foreclosures. And we have a governor that supported Barack Obama's stimulus package. That doesn't sound like a Reagan record to me, and I think it makes the answer to that question very easy. Floridians are not better off than they were four years ago since you became governor. And now your promise is to take those ideas to Washington. I'm running for Senate because if I get there, I will stand up to this. We can't trust you, Governor, to stand up to Barack Obama.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate , Mar 28, 2010

God does not love America more than Belgium

He jackhammers his message about America's exceptional status in the world. "This is the only society in history where your future is not determined by where you were born," he said. "I believe that the United States of America is the greatest society in the history of humanity." America is unique for its belief in limited government, he says, not because it is anointed. "Does God love us more than Belgium?" he asked. "No."

Rubio's political resume essentially began right after he graduated from the University of Miami Law School. He served as a city commissioner in West Miami before winning his first term in the Florida House of Representatives in 2000. He was sworn in as speaker in 2006, the youngest person and the first Hispanic to hold that position. The centerpiece of his speech is a sweeping homage to conservative principle. "We are not debating stimulus bills or tax codes," he said. "We are debating the essence of what government should be and what role it should play."

Source: New York Times on 2010 Florida Senate debate , Jan 10, 2010


Marco Rubio on Personal History

Family moved to Las Vegas to avoid Miami crime

By 1978, the city of Miami was experiencing a rapid, significant increase in murders and other violent crimes. Cocaine traffickers had begun using Miami as the primary entry into the US.

We weren't directly affected by the increase in crime, but it was one more concern added to my parents' growing fears that their changed circumstances would rob them of their hard-won security. The disco-centered social scene in Miami, which they considered a decadent lifestyle for young people, was yet another worry. They acted decisively, even precipitously, whenever they felt their aspirations threatened.

Las Vegas is not often the first place that comes to mind for people looking to raise their children in a wholesome environment. Yet in many respects it would prove to be the family-friendly community my parents hoped it would be. Las Vegas would offer the security and community values my parents sought, but our life there began discouragingly. My parents made the decision to move in the fall of 1978.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p. 32-34 , Jun 19, 2012

1979: Born Catholic; but baptized as Mormon in NV

My parents, especially my mother, attributed the neighborhood's wholesomeness to the influence of the Mormon Church. The neighborhood church sponsored a Cub Scout pack, father-&-son camping trips, and various other family activities. Mormons are encouraged by the church to recruit converts to the faith.

I had been baptized in the Catholic Church, and when I was very young had regularly attended Mass with my mother. But ours had not been a very Catholic home for some time. By the time I had entered grade school, weekly Mass was no longer part of our family routine, and I had yet to receive the Church's sacraments.

I don't believe my mother ever really understood Mormon theology, but her intense desire to be part of a community with upstanding values and caring, cohesive families made her an eager convert. My mother, sister and I were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, and began attending Sunday services at the church next door to my school.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p. 38 , Jun 19, 2012

1980s: Studied Mormonism as child; church member for 3 years

My father remained somewhat detached from our church. Nevertheless, out of deference to my mother, he didn't object to our church membership, and did what he could to support our spiritual growth in our new faith. In the summer of 1980, he took us on a family vacation to Utah, where we visited important LDS sites. Although we visited the famous Mormon temple in Salt Lake City, we didn't enter it; you have to be deemed worthy of the privilege.

We would remain members of the church for just 3 years, and my father's lukewarm embrace of Mormonism deterred us from applying for an interview. In contrast to my parents, I immersed myself in LDS theology, and understood it as well as an 8 year old mind can.

The Mormon Church provided the sound moral structure my mother had wanted for us, and a circle of friends from stable, God-fearing families. When we left the church a few years later, mostly at my instigation, we did so with gratitude for its considerable contribution to our happiness.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p. 40 , Jun 19, 2012

I am the heir to two generations of unfulfilled dreams

I had grown up in a Cuban American home, but I don't think I really knew where I was from and who I was until I spent hundreds of hours [during the campaign] in the company of the people who claimed me as one of their own.

Who was I really to them? Someone who bore a physical resemblance to a son or grandson? No. I represented their children and grandchildren's generation. My success, and the success of any Cuban American of my generation, was their answer. Our lives, accomplishments and contributions were a lasting tribute to theirs. Even as a boy, I had grasped that my family's emotional investment in my happiness and success was as great as their investment of time, work and self-denial. Now I recognized that an entire generation of Cuban exiles had the same emotional investment in my success.

On the streets of the small city of West Miami, in the early months of 1998, I discovered who I was. I was an heir to two generations of unfulfilled dreams. I was the end of their story.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p. 94-97 , Jun 19, 2012

Married to Jeanette in 1998; four kids since

Before my wedding, we found a nice house only 2 blocks from my parents. Jeanette's mother generously offered to buy the house for us with the understanding we would buy it from her when we had saved enough money.

Jeanette and I had dated for 7 years. I wasn't frightened or nervous about getting married. Marrying her seemed the most natural and sensible decision in my life. The night before our wedding, I went to bed for the last time under the same roof as my parents. I had gone away to college, but I had lived with them most of my life. Now the last of their children was leaving home. I felt nostalgic and a little sad. It was the natural order of things, but I couldn't help feeling I was abandoning them. Before I went to sleep I said a familiar prayer.

On Oct. 17, 1998, Jeanette and I exchanged our vows at the Church of the Little Flower in Coral Gables. We have been blessed. We have 4 healthy, happy children. We are not wealthy, but we have more than our parents ever had.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.100-101 , Jun 19, 2012

Children baptized Catholic; but attend Christ Fellowship

Since Jeanette started attending Christ Fellowship, [our kids] practically begged us to take them to Sunday services. I saw my children's enthusiasm, and I saw how my wife's faith was deepening and enriching her life, and concluded I shouldn't let denominational divisions disrupt the awakening in their faith.

Yet, theologically, I hadn't left the Catholic Church. Despite our growing relationship with Christ Fellowship, all of our children were baptized Catholics. And on many occasions, especially during the Lenten season, something in me still yearned for my Catholic roots.

I loved Christ Fellowship--I still do. And yet, despite the power of its message, I could never shake the feeling that for me something was missing. I craved, literally, the Most Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion. I wondered why there couldn't be a church that offered both a powerful, contemporary gospel and the actual body and blood of Jesus.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.131-133 , Jun 19, 2012

I am privileged to be citizen of greatest society in history

Why is it that I've been able to accomplish the things that my grandfather could not? Why did my dreams have the chance that his didn't?

The answer is simple: because I am privileged. I am privileged to be a citizen of the single greatest society in all of human history. There's never been a nation like the US, ever. It begins with the principles of our founding documents, which recognize that our rights come from God, not government.

These principles embody the commitment to individual liberty that has made us the freest people in history. They also made possible our free enterprise economy, which has made us the most prosperous people in history. The result is an America that is the only place in the world where it doesn't matter who your parents are or where you came from. You can be anything you are willing to work hard to be.

Source: Now Or Never, by Sen. Jim DeMint, p. 38-39 , Jan 10, 2012

From poor Cuban family; privileged to be a citizen in US

As I reflect on all the opportunities that I've had in my life, it often reminds me of my grandfather. My grandfather was an enormous influence on me growing up. He was born in 1899 to a poor, rural family in Cuba. When he was a very young man, he had polio, and it permanently disabled him. So he couldn't work the farm, and so they sent him away to school. In fact, he became the only member of his family that can read.

When I was growing up my grandfather lived with us, and told me: Because of where he was born and who he was born to, there was only so much he was able to accomplish. But he wanted me to know that I would not have those limits, that there was no dreams unavailable to me. And he was right.

See, I was not born to a wealthy or connected family. And yet I have never felt limited by the circumstances of my birth. Why did my dreams have the chance that his didn't? Because I am privileged. I am privileged to be a citizen of the single greatest society in all of human history.

Source: Speech to 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference , Feb 18, 2010


Marco Rubio on Scandals

Accused of spending $160,000 on GOP party credit card

I could have paid for my expenses and then sought reimbursement from the state party. But I used a party-issued American Express business credit card from Feb. 2005 through Nov. 2008 to pay for party-related expenses. There was nothing unusual about it-- the party typically provided charge cards to legislature leaders to pay for party-related expenses.

I charged about $160,000 in party-authorized expenses on my party-issued American Express card. 89% of it was for travel, lodging, car rentals, fuel and meals. In fact, during my two years as speaker, we saved Florida taxpayers $32,000 by having the party, and not the state, pay for my travel costs to and from Tallahassee. I identified the [personal] charges and paid the costs myself, directly to American Express. The Republican Party of Florida didn't pay a single one of them.

Nevertheless, in hindsight, I wish that none of them had ever been charged. In politics appearances are as important as reality.

Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.139-140 , Jun 19, 2012

Ignore political press' hyped controversy; stick to message

One of the lessons I learned in the campaign is not to fixate on the hyped controversies that political campaigns manufacture. Political reporters are attracted to them because their editors believe such stories drive ratings and attract readers. Voters have different interests. That's not to say voters don't care about questions of public & private integrity, or that they hold politicians in higher esteem than the press does. But they won't credit attacks on a candidate's character, no matter how much attention reporters pay them, if there isn't evidence to support it or assertions the candidate cannot persuasively refute. The primary purpose of attacks is not simply to stain an opponent's character but to knock the opponent off message, particularly if the message is a winning one. And in Florida, where over half the voters opposed President Obama's agenda, our message was certainly winning. We were courting voters, not reporters. As long as I stuck to my message, I was certain I would win.
Source: An American Son, by Marco Rubio, p.268 , Jun 19, 2012

Repaid Florida GOP for overspending on party credit card

Rubio spent like mad on an American Express credit card issued to the Florida Republican Party and paid for by donors. Between 2007 and 2009, he charged about $100,000 on the card--including almost $16,000 in personal expenses such as a $135 haircut and $1,000 in repairs to his family's minivan, according to a Herald investigation. (Rubio has repaid the party for some charges but refuses to assume other expenses he says were legitimate.)

A St. Petersburg Times investigation later found that Rubio had also double-billed the state and the GOP credit card for eight flights. After the report, he admitted the error and repaid the party $3,000.

Source: Miami New Times coverage of 2010 Florida Senate debate , Jul 22, 2010

Home purchases funded by very GOP-friendly bank boards

In 2005, Rubio bought a new house for $550,000; he took out a $495,000 mortgage. The fishy part: A month after Rubio purchased the home, US Century Bank reappraised the house at $735,000 & then offered him a new $135,000 home equity loan that the speaker accepted. US Century's board of directors included a megadeveloper who allied with Rubio on a key vote against slot machines--as well as [several GOP operatives]. Essentially, a bank controlled by supporters printed Rubio $135K out of thin air.

Then, in 2007, Rubio finally found a cash buyer for his first house, who paid $380,000 up front--a $105K windfall over Rubio's 2003 purchase price. The buyer was the mother of the lobbyist who spent months lobbying Rubio for his critical support of an insuranc law. Rubio voted for the bill a few months afterwards.

Did the home sale buy his vote? Rubio says no. "My understanding was that [the buyer] had some life insurance proceeds that she was using to buy it, and she was willing to close on it quickly."

Source: Miami New Times coverage of 2010 Florida Senate debate , Jul 22, 2010

$600,000 fund was not taxpayer money, & is fully accounted

CRIST: Speaker Rubio set up about a $600,000 slush fund which he utilized for ostensibly political purposes but it's been shown lately it's been used to fix his minivan, get haircuts, employ family members, things of this nature that are not what a political committee is supposed to do. In fact, out of the $600,000 that were raised, only $4,000 went to candidates to try to improve their chances to be elected to office.

RUBIO: Those allegations have been proven false. Here are the facts. This is not taxpayer money. It was raised for the purposes of political advancement, for advancing a political agenda. And that's what the money was spent on. Now, there were some occasions where we had some personal expenses which I identified and I made payments on out of my own pocket at the time those expenses were made. All this money's been accounted for.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2010 Florida primary Senate debate , Mar 28, 2010

Portman is a member the Tea Party movement

The Tea Party movement is a populist conservative social movement in the United States that emerged in 2009 through a series of locally and nationally coordinated protests. The protests were partially in response to several Federal laws: the stimulus package; te healthcare bill; and the TARP bailouts. The name "Tea Party" refers to the Boston Tea Party of 1773, the source of the phrase, "No Taxation Without Representation."

Source: Tea Party movement 10-Tea on Aug 11, 2010

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