Miami Five days before he would take the biggest step of his young political career, Marco Rubio called Bernie Navarro, a Miami real estate investor, to ask for a favor. Rubio wanted to have a small, low-key gathering to thank friends and family before his official announcement the next day, and he needed someone to host it. Navarro, like Rubio the son of Cuban exiles, asked permission from his wife. Although she had denied his repeated requests to host a Super Bowl party, there was no hesitation in approving this one.
At dusk on a steamy Sunday evening, Rubio, wearing khakis, a plaid oxford, and brown loafers, walked to the middle of the backyard of the stately suburban Miami home to address the group that had come to wish him well. Navarro had introduced him as “the next president of the United States,” though he apologized for scooping his friend’s own announcement. The crowd of approximately 150 people included family, friends, staff from his Senate office and political operation, Florida supporters, and a smattering of major contributors from around the country. Rubio’s wife and children were there. So were his siblings Mario, Barbara, and Veronica. Clyde Fabretti, a Tea Party leader from central Florida, brought his wife and daughter. Philip Ellender, an executive with Koch Industries, came from Atlanta. Warren Tompkins, the South Carolina Republican strategist who will be running a pro-Rubio super-PAC, was there along with some of those who will serve on his staff.
With the strong smell of steaks wafting from the commercial-sized grill just a few feet to his right, Rubio started with the obvious joke. “Thank you all for coming. I’m glad to announce my reelection forthe Senate,” he said, with a broad grin.
“I’m not going to give you a long speech,” he promised. “I just want you all to have a good time.” Several children playing on the playground behind Rubio—including his youngest son—ignored Rubio’s words and continued leaping from swings and tackling one another as he spoke. Rubio offered a three-minute preview of the speech he would give the following day. “I’m excited about tomorrow, but I’m more excited about the future of our country,” Rubio said. “We’ve got some problems with our current leaders, making bad decisions, but the best way to change the decisions that we’re making is to change the people that are making them. And that’s what we’re going to start working on tomorrow.”
The announcement speech was vintage Rubio—equal parts lamentation and inspiration, at once a dismal accounting of the many problems facing the country and an upbeat, expectant promise to address them. The American people and their economy are driving global innovation and growth, Rubio said, but “too many of our leaders and their ideas are stuck in the twentieth century.” Those leaders—and it was clear Rubio was thinking in particular about one of them—“put us at a disadvantage by taxing, borrowing, and regulating like it’s 1999.” He sharpened his criticism of Clinton-era policies moments later with an allusion to Hillary Clinton’s declaration of her candidacy the day before.
“Just yesterday, a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. But yesterday is over. And we are never going back.”
Before Rubio’s announcement, the conventional wisdom in the establishment media held that Clinton’s announcement would step on Rubio’s big day and inevitably overshadow it. But Rubio’s team liked the contrast.
In the weeks before Rubio entered the race, his team internally settled on April 13 as the tentative launch date. They told no one. Days later, and before they announced the date to the public or talked to television networks about coverage, Rubio’s campaign learned that Hillary Clinton planned to announce on April 12. Rubio discussed changing the date with his top advisers and decided that the potential upside of announcing immediately after Clinton would outweigh any negatives.
Rubio had long planned to frame the 2016 election as a “generational choice”—echoing the theme (and title) of the closing ad of Rubio’s 2010 Senate race. Announcing his candidacy the day after Clinton would highlight those differences and ensure that coverage of his announcement was paired with coverage of hers.
Look, this is happening. It's a thing. Remember the jokes that started in 1992 with "two Clintons for the price of one"? Remember the incredulity of people in 1999 when it was quietly suggested that the first lady of the United States might decamp to New York and place a Senate seat into her carpet bag? Remember when it was only the crazies who said, "Don't you get it? She's trying to run for president!"
Out on the Twitters, people have been generally down on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign logo. The New York Times’sNate Cohn said it looked like a hospital sign. Others suggested it looked like the Cuban flag. Or the Fed-Ex brand. Box CEO Aaron Levie said it looked like it was drawn with MS Paint. (Oooooo! Burn!) The self-righteous whiners at Wikileaks accused her of stealing their logo. The logo got its own Twitter account. (Which is 98 percent less funny than Obama’s Teleprompter.)
In winning Nigeria’s presidency on his fourth try, Muhammadu Buhari, former military dictator and proponent of sharia, may have answered the Nigerian question: Is the big West African country more than a geographical entity—does it have a sense of nationhood transcending sectional and religious differences?
Vice President Dick Cheney had harsh criticism for President Barack Obama in an interview last night with radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Hewitt asked the former vice president, "Is he naïve, Mr. Vice President? Or does he have a far-reaching vision that only he entertains of a realigned Middle East that somehow it all works out in the end?"
One of many startling statements in President's Obama interview with Tom Friedman is his assertion that he's seeking “to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see whether or not we can at least take the nuclear issue off the table.”
Today in Massachusetts, at a ceremony for the the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, Senator Elizabeth Warren borrowed President Obama's lectern for a bit. Behind the lectern, Warren looked almost presidential:
Many have called for Warren to enter the presidential race. This image, of her speaking behind the presidential lectern, may increase calls for her to challenge Hillary Clinton.
President Obama insisted in an interview with the Huffington Post that "by hook or by crook" he'll be a successful president. He made the comments in answering a question about whether he'd become a "more progressive president over time."
"No," Obama said to the question, he had not become more progressive. "I think that what we are constantly doing is looking for opportunities to advance the agenda that I talked about back in 2007 and 2008. I mean, remember, in the first two years of my administration we advanced more progressive legislation than anybody in 50 years.
Al Gore is "gaining steam" in the presidential race, stated a report last night from Fox News. Watch Peter Doocy's report on Bret Baier's Special Report:
"With Hillary Clinton's recent troubles comes renewed speculation about who might challenge her for the Democratic presidential nomination," reported Baier. "Tonight, one possibility you probably have not considered."
Boy, that didn’t take long. Over the span of a few short days in late January and early February, three members of the top tier of Republican presidential candidates demonstrated why they’ll never be president. They didn’t do anything to disqualify themselves directly, just revealed the traits that will make them appear unsuitable to most voters by the time the campaign really heats up, say, when the presidential election is a mere 18 months away.