In his delivery of the weekly GOP address on Saturday morning, the Tea Party’s “Crown Prince” Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) demonstrated why presidential hopefuls Gingrich and Romney might want him on the ticket.
After attacking President Obama’s State of the Union address, Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, told the tale of how free enterprise enabled his working-class father to earn a living as a bartender and provide opportunities for his children.
“I thank God that there was enough prosperity in America so people could go on vacation to Miami or Las Vegas,” Rubio said. “Where people felt prosperous enough to have weddings or bar mitzvahs and, by the way, could leave tips in my Dad’s little tip jar. Because with that money he raised us. And he gave me the opportunity to do things he never had a chance to do.”
With immigration expected to be a central factor in Florida’s primary on Tuesday, it’s no wonder that both Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney name-checked Rubio as a top Hispanic leader in last week’s GOP debate, and that Newt Gingrich named him as a potential vice presidential nominee in the debate and in an interview on the Spanish-language Telemundo network.
Rubio has interesting connections to both Gingrich and Romney. With Gingrich, he shares a longtime political relationship — the two have exchanged emails and ideas for years — and now campaign adviser Jose Mallea, who helped Rubio win his 2010 Congressional election. Romney, though, endorsed Rubio during his campaign.
As of yet, Rubio has not sided with either Republican candidate, and even said in a Telemundo interview last Wednesday, “I don’t think I should be thinking about other goals right now when there are so many issues to deal with that are facing this country, the state of Florida, and our community. That’s what I am focused on.” Rubio continued, “I do not think or believe I will be Vice President of this country.”
According to the Huffington Post, though, Rubio “gave something of an audition for the post of vice president” during his speech at the Hispanic Leadership Network in Miami on Friday.
In an effort to make the GOP seem less harsh on immigration issues, Rubio declared, "For those of us who come from the conservative movement, we must admit that there are those among us who have used rhetoric that is harsh and intolerable, inexcusable. We must admit, myself included, that sometimes we've been too slow in condemning that rhetoric."
It seems that rather than being in a position in which he is auditioning for the post of vice president, Rubio is in a position of power — his endorsement could win the Hispanic vote for Romney or Gingrich at the Florida primary.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore