Marco Rubio, the ambitious son of Cuban immigrants who reached the United States Senate before his fortieth birthday, has always acted old for his age.
From his days as a political director in Florida for former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole in his mid-20s, to becoming the youngest speaker of the Florida House in the state's history, Rubio has constantly been underestimated because of his youth. In the forthcoming book, The Rise of Marco Rubio , Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia paints a picture of a man who has taken a calculated approach to his rise to power.
Although Rubio's Senate candidacy in 2010 was often described as emerging spontaneously from the tea party, his trajectory to national stardom was long in the making, involving years of toiling in local Florida politics and leading the state legislature. It did not appear, as popular conception once dictated, out of thin air.
"His rise had actually been as conventional as they come," Roig-Franzia writes in the book's opening pages. "[R]ubio had been running for--and winning--elections for most of his adult life. West Miami city commissioner, Florida state representative, Florida house speaker, U.S. senator. Step, by step, by step."
The book is full of painstakingly researched details about Rubio's family history--some of which calls Rubio's own personal stories into question--but it ultimately describes a lawmaker who has mastered the political game.
Here are ten details from the book, which will be mandatory reading if Mitt Romney taps Rubio as his running mate this summer:
"You know if I drop this pass, my political career is over," he said before Marino tossed him the ball.
After he played with Tebow, an excited Rubio took to Twitter: "I am the only US Senate candidate to ever catch a pass from Tim Tebow!"
"[H]e was given a sword by Governor Jeb Bush, who took to the lectern and said, 'I can't think back on a time when I've ever been prouder to be a Republican, Marco.' The sword belonged to 'a great conservative warrior,' Bush told the audience to peals of laughter. The 'mystical warrior' was named 'Chang.' 'Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society …I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down.'"
"…The Sword itself was nothing special, an inexpensive object bought off the Internet by aides in Bush's office. But it would hang in a place of honor in Rubio's office, a symbol of his deep bond with a son and brother of presidents."
Carlos Ponce married Rubio's sister. He is also very flexible.