While both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Early Show on Tuesday gave due credit to Senator Marco Rubio for catching former First Lady Nancy Reagan as she tripped at Reagan Library event, NBC's Today strangely avoided making any mention of the Florida Republican being present, even as video footage clearly showed him holding Reagan's arm. [Audio available here; Video follows page break]
This was going to be a column insisting that Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida run for president of the United States. Now. Even though he has ruled out the possibility; even though he is but a baby senator. (Neither of these considerations has invariably stopped people in the past.)
But no: That's not this column. Not because I don't think it might be an excellent idea, but because I take a man at his word. He has a young family that has already endured a long and brutal campaign. And I'm actually not a fan of leaping from two minutes in the Senate to a potential presidency. As one seasoned political pro puts it: "We don't do ourselves or our future leaders any favors by rushing the wine before its time. Reagan would not have been nearly as good a president had he won in '68 or '76 as he was in '80, having been tempered by failure and steeled by defeat and adversity."
Speaking on the floor of the Senate Saturday, Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) said, "If we had a billion dollars for every time I heard the words 'Tea Party extremist,' we could solve this debt problem."
Proving his point about the vitriolic name-calling of conservatives so prevalent now, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman began his most recent piece, "Watching today's Republicans being led around by an extremist Tea Party":
At first he didn't want to do any national media, preferring to focus on Florida issues. He didn't make his maiden speech on the Senate floor until June 14, five months after being sworn-in.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) so gifted at age 40, combines passion for his conservative ideas with a humility that could easily spill over into arrogance, if he didn't have a strong sense of self. On the morning of our first meeting, I arrive early. He arrives before his staff and goes around turning on lights with no sense that such action is below his pay grade. In a town full of hubris and self-absorption, Rubio appears not to have yet caught the disease. Perhaps he will turn out to be the Hispanic version of Jimmy Stewart's movie character, "Mr. Smith."
That doesn't mean Rubio can't attack President Obama, but when he does, it is the president's policies he goes after, not the man.
In an interview with Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, host David Gregory worried: "There's a purist streak to the Tea Party, right? Don't compromise....As you think about yourself, are you here to legislate? Are you here to compromise?"
Rubio countered: "...we are dealing with major issues in our country, big issues that deserve big solutions....if we don't stand up and say that, who is going to stand up and say that?" Gregory continued to grill the Senator: "But you still have to compromise....you send a statement or you actually compromise and get things done. Which is what Senator Rubio believes in?" Rubio shot back: "To say we just compromised, be, 'Oh, we compromised for the sake of a compromise,' you know, that alone may get you some short-term lauds in the media, but in the long term it didn't accomplish anything."
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced Monday that he would not vote for the pending continuing resolution - a stopgap to keep the federal govenrment funded until Congress passes an actual budget. Rubio joins Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and a number of House conservatives, who have decried both the "kick-the-can-down-the-road" approach of the second CR Congress will consider in a matter of weeks, and the apparent inability of congressional Republicans to work their central legislative agenda into the new CR.
Rubio explained his opposition to Mark Levin Monday evening:
"You didn't fly here to celebrate me," Marco Rubio announced from the stage of the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.
The comment could have been received as a bit jarring coming from Rubio. Hours after being sworn in as a U.S. senator, this former insurgent candidate who bucked his party's national establishment to challenge their hand-crafted candidate -- Charlie Crist, the sitting governor at the time -- was presenting himself as nothing but a working man starting out in a new office. Here, the latest hot ticket in town, being talked about as any Republican presidential candidate's favored running mate, was turning the humble on high. This was the party to be at. Everyone seemed to drop by -- an impression one got as liberal Minnesota Sen. Al Franken posed for pictures with some of this tea party king's most loyal supporters.
Is America a special nation, chosen by God as “the shining city on the hill?” Do our founding documents, with their explicit invocation of natural rights, set us apart from the rest of the world?
Majorities of Americans believe so. Even the liberal Brookings Institution recently published a survey that found 58 percent of citizens believe: “God has granted America a special role in human history.”
American exceptionalism, as it is called, has been in the news quite a lot lately. In his victory speech Nov. 2, Florida Senator-elect Marco Rubio eloquently extolled American exceptionalism, provoking howls of outrage from liberals. “America is the single greatest nation in all of human history. A place without equal in the history of all mankind,” he said. The son of Cuban exiles declared that only in America could he and others have risen so far, with so few barriers to advancement.
So just how good a speaker is the new senator-elect from Florida, Marco Rubio? Conservatives are rightly highly impressed with Rubio's oratory, especially his election night victory speech. However, even liberals are giving high marks to Rubio's speaking abilities. John McWhorter of The New Republic even commits liberal sacrilege by grudgingly admitting (after slamming the speeches of other conservatives) that Rubio is a better speaker than Obama. Of course, this also scares him as well:
Marco Rubio, in his victory speech, was the exception, and showed as he often has why he is the Tea Party’s real secret weapon. Starting out with gushy God talk and closing by stressing that he is a “son of exiles,” Rubio is – let’s face it – a better Obama in his way. His Christianity will always be clear to those who care, and his foreign forebears are ones who fled Communism. At first we were to suppose that Obama’s mongrelism made him “like America,” but the leftist Kenyan business is ripe for the Becks and D’Souzas among us to frame as alien, never mind that Indonesia is a Muslim country. Rubio’s foreignness is more cuddly, immune to Fox News-style demagoguery.
Plus Rubio is a natural talker. No stagy incantations of lines based on things other people said long ago; no giggling; no props; no wandering off topic. He can rub a noun and a verb together, with minimal attendance to notes. As a result, like Bill Clinton, he seems intelligent in a way that Paladino and O’Donnell do not, and approachably human and on the ground in a way that Paul, despite his active mind, cannot.
Politico on Sunday featured two pieces at its website that make one wonder if Republican senator-elect Marco Rubio of Florida should be a strong contender for the GOP's vice presidential nominee in 2012.
Campo-Flores answered in the affirmative, noting that Reid enjoyed anywhere from 68 to 90 percent support from Hispanic voters, depending on the exit polling model:
According to election-eve polling and analysis by Latino Decisions, a surveying firm, Hispanics chose Reid over Angle 90 percent to 8 percent—an astounding margin. CNN’s exit polls showed a significantly smaller spread, with Reid winning 68 percent to Angle’s 30 percent. But Latino Decisions argues that exit-polling methodology is typically inaccurate at measuring voting by Hispanics and other subgroups.
Campo-Flores took the argument even further, hinting that Republicans could see long-term decline and Democrats long-term gains thanks to "disenchantment" from Latino voters thanks to the party's conservative stance on immigration:
Andrew Breitbart at Big Hollywood joined NewsBusters in raising questions about Arianna Huffington's strange Election Night tweet suggesting Marco Rubio resembled a Central American dictator: "On nightline set matthew dowd on sen elect rubio surrounded by flags looking like a central american dictator." A glance at ABC's on-air content at 3 am on Wednesday morning showed neither Dowd nor Huffington said that on the air:
So what exactly was the Queen of social news media’s tweet really about? Once the “dictator” part of Arianna’s insults is stripped away, what’s left is “Central American,” and that’s the crux of her tweet. She is playing the race card with Marco Rubio. Of course the mainstream media will fail to notice that this is a racist comment, which is no less racist than if a Republican compared Obama to Idi Amin. Is there any doubt that Arianna Huffington and her Huffington Post empire would not be leading the charge to destroy the person who uttered that unfortunate analogy?
Today, Huffington replied on Twitter to Breitbart: My tweet was merely quoting, with his consent, GOP strategist Matthew Dowd’s take on Rubio’s acceptance speech. Next!
Chris Matthews, during MSNBC's live election night coverage, was distressed at what he saw was the "death of the moderate wing of the Republican Party." After his colleague Keith Olbermann ran down the latest results of Republicans leading or winning in specific races Matthews bemoaned how such moderates like Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter were run out of their own party and even bellowed: "Mike Castle getting knocked out by the woman who said she's not a witch...is a joke, it's a joke for the Republican Party to lose people like Mike Castle."
The following November 2, outburst by Matthews was aired during MSNBC's live election night coverage:
Well, they did stop short of presenting him with a ceremonial seppuku sword . . .
But other than that, MSNBC's Daily Rundown duo of Chuck Todd and Savannah Guthrie did their best to convince Florida Dem Kendreck Meek to get out of the senatorial race to give Charlie Crist a shot against Marco Rubio.
Todd tried the cold-hard-numbers route, while Guthrie made an emotional appeal, literally asking Meek if he "can live" with himself if his continued candidacy resulted in the election of Rubio. View video here.
George Will on Sunday gave a much-needed education to the entire "This Week" panel about how the Tea Party is moving the GOP in a positive direction that could alter politics in this nation for years to come.
As Christiane Amanpour and her Roundtable guests - Democrat strategist Donna Brazile, National Journal's Ron Brownstein, and Republican strategist Matthew Dowd - all fretted about the so-called Civil War brewing in the GOP, Will was once again the voice of reason.
"At the beginning of the year, the question was, will the Tea Party people play nicely with others and will they obey the rules of politics? Who's sort of not playing nicely?" asked Will.
"Mr. Crist starts losing the primary to a Tea Party favorite Rubio. He suddenly discovers that he's an independent and changes all his views overnight," he continued.
"Mrs. Murkowski loses a primary and suddenly discovers that she has a property right in her Senate seat and she's going to run as a write-in. Senator Bennett thought of that in Utah, Senator Castle in Delaware is thinking of a write-in candidate. Who are the extremists?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Yet nowhere in his 20-paragraph story did Balz delve into those poll numbers. Instead, Balz presented the Florida race as complete wild card that is unpredictable due to the three-way nature of the contest:
Gov. Charlie Crist is the man in the middle in Florida's high-stakes race for the Senate, a candidate without a party whose hopes of moving from Tallahassee to Washington depend on his ability to fend off a squeeze play from his Democratic and Republican rivals.
The three-way campaign for the Senate is the latest in a series of important races in Florida - including the 2000 recount that helped define red-blue divisions in America - but with dynamics new to the Sunshine State.
But a look at recent polling data available on RealClearPolitics.com seems to indicate Rubio went to bed on primary election night in good shape for the general election fight ahead.
During an interview on Saturday’s The Situation Room with independent Florida Senate candidate and Governor Charlie Crist, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer pressed the former Republican to announce which party he would choose to caucus with if he is elected to the Senate, and brought up his current associations with Democrats and flip-flops toward more liberal positions.
As Crist repeatedly tried to evade acknowledging the importance of being aligned with one of the two major parties to have influence, and the likelihood that he would ultimately choose to ally with one of the parties, Blitzer was persistent in pressing for an answer, at one point quipping: "You just can't caucus with yourself, if you will, if you want to have some influence."
Crist eventually seemed to hint that his decision would depend on which party holds the majority after November: "And you’ve just hit on the pivotal issue really: What is in the best interests of the people of Florida? We don’t know who’s going to be in the majority November 2 nd after the general election. And so I think it’s important to keep an open mind, to stay committed only to one thing, and that’s the people of my state."
After playing a clip of Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio accusing Crist of moving toward President Obama politically, Blitzer queried: "But are you increasingly embracing the Obama agenda? Because he’s saying you flip-flopped on a whole lot of issues where you were a Republican, but now you’re siding with the Democrats, including President Obama."
Culture and Media Institute Assistant Editor Nathan Burchfiel joined "Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy on Aug. 13 to discuss media coverage of Harry Reid and the media double standard on controversial statements made by liberals versus conservatives.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told supporters on Aug. 10 that he couldn't understand why "anyone with Hispanic heritage could be a Republican."
"If you watch the national media, there's no outrage," Burchfiel said when asked where the uproar over Reid's comments had come from. "There's certainly a lot of confusion, I think, among Hispanic conservatives as to the reasoning behind Harry Reid's comments. It's clear that he is not reading the same polls that other people are reading about the way that Hispanics feel about the current administration, the way that the feel about the economy and jobs, and even the way they feel about immigration."
Burchfiel suggested that Reid "maybe ask Brian Sandoval why a Hispanic might affiliate himself with the GOP or with conservative ideology." Sandoval, who is Hispanic, is the GOP's nominee for Nevada governor. He is leading his Democratic opponent, Reid's son, Rory, by 19 points in the latest Las Vegas Review-Journal poll.
Since neither of the likely Democrat nominees for the Senate from Florida appear to have a chance in hell of winning the general election, Newsweek has thrown its obvious support behind the conservative Republican in the race.
The likelihood of that happening ranks right around zero which is why Newsweek is promoting Florida governor Charlie Crist, running in that race as an independent, as the best person to defeat conservative Republican Marco Rubio. In fact, Newsweek is plugging Crist to the extent that they have conveniently neglected to mention how he broke his promise not to run as an independent as well as his pledge to return campaign contributions by Republicans. Here are some tidbits from the Newsweek puff piece disguised as a news story:
Crist’s resurgence also stems in part from his shift back to where he’s always seemed most comfortable: the political center. That’s where he’s largely governed as the state’s chief executive—pursuing a Republican agenda of low taxes and limited government, but also collaborating with Democrats on environmental issues and judicial appointments. The approach made him one of the most popular governors in the country.
UPDATE: It turns out that the future is NOW. This Matthews video is running as a Marco Rubio campaign commercial as of yesterday.
Are you happy with the job that the Obama administration and the Democrats are doing? If so, then vote for Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate because Chris Matthews happily proclaimed that Crist is going to be the new star in the Democrat caucus. However, if you are dissatisfied with the direction this nation is going and want to change it, then Marco Rubio will be your choice which is why your humble correspondent won't be a bit surprised to see this video of Matthews making his proclamation about Crist on Morning Joe end up as a Rubio campaign commercial. Here is a transcript of Matthews delivering his kiss of death product endorsement of Charlie Crist:
Charlie Crist is going to be the new star of the Democratic caucus in the Senate. He's going to be a major player in the Democratic Party down the road. He'll be a moderate Democrat somewhere in the middle. I think he's very shrewd and nimble.
It was bound to happen and no one can really blame them for doing so, but someone eventually had to determine who the political winners and losers are for the tragic circumstances surrounding the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Looking forward to the upcoming election cycle, MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough determined the time was right to take a stab at it, although reluctantly on his June 2 broadcast.
"[W]e will stay with BP for one second but talk about presidential politics and I know this will be offensive to some people but it's just a reality that there is somebody in the White House, somebody in the Democratic Party, somebody in the Republican Party that's trying to figure out the political impact of this environmental tragedy. And we were talking with Chuck Todd last hour about how it ramps up when the oil starts washing on Florida shores, Chris. That makes this a much bigger political event in terms of presidential politics, like it or not."
Media Research Center President and Brent Bozell appeared on last night's "Hannity" for a new recurring segment entitled "Media Mash," where the NewsBusters publisher and the Fox News host go over some of the latest instances of the liberal media's bias.
Last night's topics included media coverage of Florida Senate candidate Charlie Crist's jumping ship from the GOP to run as an independent and the new Arizona anti-immigration law, and Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber suspect.
Both Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist appeared live on Friday's Today show, and both received the same question by NBC's Meredith Vieira, was Crist's departure from the GOP just another example of the Republicans being "intolerant" to moderates? In addition to advancing that liberal view of the Florida Senate race, Vieira also questioned if Rubio was being "manipulated" by the Tea Party, as seen in the following exchange:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Do you feel you're being manipulated at all by the Tea Party? Because they're the ones that have sort of helped boost your numbers. You've become their darling.
MARCO RUBIO: Absolutely not. Well you know what? The Tea Party is just a collection of every day Americans, most of whom have never participated in politics before, who are tired of the direction of this country and want their voices heard. This is not a professional political movement. In fact, it's only a year old but I think it's been a good thing for American politics to see people get involved and have their voices heard. I'm proud of the, of the support they've given me. [audio availabe here]
Before that exchange Vieira threw out the "GOP is too intolerant" line, first to Crist:
Chris Matthews -- who was offended by Rush Limbaugh calling the Obama administration the "regime"-- claimed the Republicans were engaged in a "Stalinesque" purge. On Tuesday's Hardball Matthews charged that conservatives challenging moderates within the Republican Party (like Marco Rubio versus Charlie Crist in Florida) was akin to Joseph Stalin's violent purges in the 1930s, as he teased an upcoming segment this way: "Coming up what happens to Republicans who don't march to the right wing tune? Well they're getting purged. This is Stalinesque, this stuff."
Later on in the segment Matthews claimed the GOP was engaging in something "particularly nasty" in "pruning itself" and warned Republicans risked losing "sophisticated" voters in the suburbs if it continued to turn towards "Palin-ism and gun-toters."
The following Matthews quotes were aired on the April 20 edition of Hardball:
Arianna Huffington stuck her foot in her mouth during Tuesday's "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, and ended up being totally humiliated by host Joe Scarborough and guests Rudy Giuliani and Mort Zuckerman.
As the subject of Florida's Senate race was broached, Huffington decided to attack the former Mayor of New York City rather than address the qualifications of Republican candidates Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio.
"Your judgment in people has not been stellar -- Bernard Kerik, anybody, so the fact that you're supporting Rubio now, I don't know exactly how seriously we should take it," irrelevantly spouted the liberal publisher.
Marvelously, some of the gentlemen on the panel didn't appreciate the cheap shot including Giuliani himself who finally said, "I come on here just to talk about Marco Rubio, you're attacking me on Bernie Kerik, you're attacking me on how I ran my presidential race. I imagine you're going to attack me on what I did in the Little League when I was a child" (video follows with partial transcript, h/t NB reader Pam):
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his regular "Quick Comment" segment to lecture Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio for recently remarking that people like Olbermann "hate America" and should be traded to other countries in exchange for immigrants who love America. As the MSNBC host referred to his own great grandparents who immigrated to America "for its opportunity and its freedom," Olbermann charged that they had come to this country to escape people like Rubio: "Mr. Rubio, I am the great grandson of immigrants, as you are the son of immigrants, who came to this country for its opportunity and its freedom. And I know one thing for sure: my ancestors and yours were trying to get away from people like you."
Notably, just over a year ago on the March 24, 2009, Countdown show, Olbermann seemed to express a negative view of American "values" generally when he mocked the name of Gary Bauer's American Values organization as sounding like a "discount septic tank operation." Olbermann: "Gary Bauer, former presidential candidate, former Reagan domestic policy adviser and now president of American Values which, despite the name, is not a discount septic tank operation, writing at Politico a mere two months after the last of dozens of conflicting Pentagon reports suggested with almost no verification that 61 former Gitmo detainees had been identified as returning to terrorism."
MSNBC regular Donny Deutsch on Wednesday apologized, via Twitter, for deriding Republican senatorial hopeful Marco Rubio as a "coconut," a racial slur which the New York Times defines as "being brown on the outside and white on the inside." (Rubio's parents are Cuban exiles.) Over two Tweets, Deutsch announced, "In discussing Mr. Rubio, I used a word intended to describe his inexperience on the national stage."
The former CNBC host continued, "I now realize the word has connotations as an ethnic slur, & is therefore inappropriate. I apologize to Mr. Rubio & to anyone else I have offended." As first reported, with video, on NewsBusters, Deutsch employed the term on Monday's Joy Behar Show while deriding Rubio as inexperienced. He complained, "...You almost need that blank piece of paper. That's the new model. Like, you know, this coconut Rubio down in Florida."
MSNBC and CNBC contributor -- and professed Charlie Crist admirer -- Donny Deutsch used racially charged language on Monday night, smearing Republican senatorial candidate Marco Rubio as a "coconut." Deutsch appeared on HLN's Joy Behar Show and used the word, which both the New York Times and Urban Dictionary define as a "person who is tan on the outside" and "white on the inside." Rubio is the son of Cuban exiles. [Audio available here.]
Deutsch employed the derogatory term while hitting politicians with no experience. He noted the success of such candidates and derided, "...You almost need that blank piece of paper. That's the new model. Like, you know, this coconut Rubio down in Florida."
UPDATE: 2010-02-23 18:20 Deutsch responded on his Twitter page: "I said 'coconut' meaning simple, goofy, bananas...wasn't even aware it could be a racially charged word."