Marco Rubio Responds to Obama’s State of the Union

The response to the State of the Union is a lousy assignment. Considering the circumstances, Florida senator Marco Rubio did OK.

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U.S. Senate Photographic Studio

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., rehearses the Republican address to the Nation, Feb. 12, 2013.

Let’s just stipulate that the response to the State of the Union is a lousy assignment. There’s no audience, no applause, no podium where you can stash water within easy reaching distance. You inevitably look like you’re filming a hostage video, or an ad for your local car dealership, or a podcast in your basement. You have to respond to a speech you haven’t even heard, and your role is strictly partisan; your job is to attack the president, who can look like a statesman because he doesn’t have to stoop to attack you. You basically have to predict doom, and it’s tough to do that without sounding like you’re rooting for doom.

(WATCH: Liveblogging Obama’s State of the Union Address)

So considering the circumstances, Florida senator Marco Rubio did OK. It was nowhere near his best speech, but it was nowhere near the clueless-dweeb disaster that turned Bobby Jindal into a Kenneth the Page punchline in 2009. As usual, Rubio was most compelling when he talked about his working-class parents, his student loans, and his modest bedroom community; on policy, he mostly rehashed familiar anti-Obama talking points about big government, tax hikes and Solyndra. He can be mesmerizing talking optimistically about free enterprise and American exceptionalism and the American Dream; he sounded sour and defensive whining about Obama’s suggestions that Republicans protect the rich. He barely talked about immigration, the issue where he had such interesting things to say in our cover story this week.

But Rubio didn’t embarrass himself. He got to introduce himself to millions of Americans who missed his Republican National Convention speech because they were still in shock over the Clint Eastwood fiasco. He talked about the middle class, while reminding the country that he’s part of it. And the media hubbub over his awkward lunge for his Poland Springs bottle—Watergate!—might help distract from his generic rehash of Mitt Romney’s policy playbook. If Republicans believe that they lost in 2012 because Romney was a boring rich white guy who alienated Hispanics, they got to see a charismatic Cuban-American with humble roots but otherwise indistinguishable positions on every issue except for immigration.

(MORE: Sen. Marco Rubio’s Response to Obama’s State of the Union Address (Transcript)

On the other hand, for those of us who believe the GOP’s problems run deeper than that, Rubio’s speech was a stark example of the party’s internal contradictions. He called for spending cuts, but couldn’t name anything he wanted to cut. He did suggest Medicare needs to change, but vowed that somehow none of the changes would hurt seniors. He blamed Obama for the draconian spending cuts in the “sequester,” even though most Republicans voted for it. He bemoaned the federal deficit, but failed to mention it’s shrunk during the Obama era. He called for 4% economic growth to close the deficit, which sounds lovely, but is not an actual policy proposal; one might as well call for 0% unemployment and 100% happiness. Rubio also mocked the notion that “government can control the weather,” a really dumb objection to climate action. The less said about that, the better.

But Rubio will be fine. Four years ago, Jindal was a laughingstock, the singsong dork who had mocked “something called volcano monitoring” in the Obama stimulus just before a volcano erupted in Alaska. Now he’s considered a contender for 2016. Rubio is an even more eloquent spokesman for a party that believes in lower taxes, aggressive foreign policies, conservative social policies, Tea Party rhetoric and spending cuts that dare not be named. And while this was a leadership audition of sorts, he’ll face an even bigger test when it comes time to make a deal or walk away from Obama on immigration reform.

(MORE: Marco Rubio: The Rest of the Story)

When Obama delivers his next State of the Union, most Americans won’t even remember who delivered the last response. Speaking of which: Do you remember which Republican did the honors in 2011? A guy by the name of Paul Ryan; I can’t say I remember what he said, but I know it didn’t hurt his career.

183 comments
oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

Rubio won't "be fine" in four years if this is any indication of Republican vision.  His speech was nothing but warmed over oatmeal loaded with the contradictions that plague all Republican candidates.  Case in point:  "As usual, Rubio was most compelling when he talked about his working-class parents (and) his student loans."  Yah, except he also talked about how much his mother depends upon medicare.  And student loans?  Um, I believe that program comes from the federal government.  Bottom line: no one wants to cut services when we use them to get through school and take care of mother.  Which brings us to who pays for them.  Which brings us to Mitt Romney and his no-see-um tax returns.  We have the biggest wealth gap in our nation's history.  The shrinking GOP base has been loading up with cash for the last thirty years, while their duly elected representatives have been blowing the federal budget surplus.  They still try to blame the Dems, except Obama has been shrinking the deficit.  They have offered nothing except the least productive Congress in this nation's history.  And now, with the "leadership" of Boehner, McCain and Graham, they're starting down the same knuckle and foot dragging path.  Unless the GOP takes a policiy bath and changes their attitude underwear, they won't win in 2016 whether they run Marco Rubio or Abraham Lincoln.


EricBoyer
EricBoyer

Please Michael, some of your stipulations don't even hold "Water." There's no rule whatsoever that says this has to be incompetently staged and poorly lit, standing like a TV weatherman,  with water beyond reach, absent a desk or podium, nor do you need to attack, or throw red meat to the doom and gloom lovers.  No rule says you must rehash the last (losing) campaign. These were all bad choices made by not ready for prime time people. Rubio now has four years to rack up more heartless votes (Like  no onVAWA) that might win him some primaries but not the ultimate prize. Don't try handicapping sports in Vegas. 

T.P.Chia
T.P.Chia

Senator Marco Rubio did not wisely use the opportunity to present himself as a mature political leader, nor did he succeed in impressing the Haspanic and other minorities--in his response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address.

He just repeated the old Republican rhetoric and unjustifiable opposition to Medicare reform, tax hikes for the rich and gun control, and erroreously accused that "Obama wants to tax more, borrow more and spend more." He simply ignored President Obama's call for a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan that includes new tax revenue and spending cuts.

He failed to come up with any ideas or policies that make senese to the minorities, the needy and the poor.

He cannot and will not help the GOP to create a new image in the minds of minorities. As a son of Cuban immigrants,  he cannot afford to be wrapped up in the outdated Rupublican ideology, which is incompatible with the desires and needs of the minorities.

Thundercloud59
Thundercloud59

So what that he took a drink of water. 

Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians all look the same to me. They scream and yell at each other and all three ignore reality.

One side wants to go back to the early 80's, one wants to go back to the 30's, and the latter wants to go back to 1776. Those systems may have worked for their times because the conditions were right at the time. We need something NEW in 2013 because things have CHANGED FAR TOO MUCH for the old ways to work. I'm no genius so I can't tell you what that new system should be but I do recognize the need for something different or we will all be fighting each other over the contents of a trash can while the mega wealthy and the educated elite sit back and laugh at us while they pretend to care.

Too many people in DC only want to retain power and they will do it at all costs. They tell lies with straight faces and we let them get by with it because they are 'Our' guy. I'm guilty of that too. We need to hold them all responsible regardless of if we like them or not.

jilli.brown
jilli.brown

Watching this was painful.  I don't know what was  more distracting, his flop sweat or his lip smacking.  It didn't matter really, the commentary was the same old tripe they've been peddling for decades.  He was rebutting the faux news obama, not the actual president, a reasoned man that spoke yesterday evening. 

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

Shorter Rubio: "Government programs benefited me, my Dad and my Mom. But they're bad for you."

KDillon
KDillon

Rubio doubles down on the same policies the Republicans have been pushing for years. It's up to his hard working neighbors to pay down the debt. It wasn't the deregulated banks that made the bad loans and sold them off it was because government was too big. It's not the government's role to invest in our country like we have done for the last 237 years, we have to leave that up the free enterprise.  Let me tell you, the Corporations in the free enterprise system will take their freedom to invest to countries that invest with them. And in the end he reemphasizes their position that in no uncertain terms are we to expect the biggest and wealthiest to pay the same effective tax rate as those in the middle class, but George we are willing to make grandpa go without his medicine and live under the bridge before we'll let that happen. At some point that have to join a reality based world.

RonaldMcloughlin
RonaldMcloughlin

Marco Rubio impressed me in the beginning. He's such a fast, fast talker & so dynamic as a speaker that I thought he cudnt lie. But then I herd him say from his own fast talking mouth that he's a Creationist. I'm sorry, sir. That disqualifies U in my book forever. I mean it's almost as bad as Mormon Romney.

sixtymile
sixtymile

I lasted about half the response before I lost interest -- I'm sure the Tea Party loved it. What an astonishing pack of lies, and even more astonishing: the same pack of lies that lost them the last election.

PNAmerica
PNAmerica

@MikeGrunwald @TIME #Rubio New FL poll: Voters trust Dems over GOP to fight for the middle class by double digits http://t.co/RoanM5Ff'

Becca01
Becca01

Although Hannity and Limbaugh would love to blame another economic contraction on President Obama, many experts agree the real cause is the government spending cuts, particularly those at the state and local level, which typically come from Republican-controlled governments. Republicans have also embraced the defense-heavy sequestration cuts that could slow the economy as well

JoshuaGreen
JoshuaGreen

@MikeGrunwald Loved your dubbing the water lunge "Watergate" heh

TonyTheMacUser
TonyTheMacUser

@TIME @TIMEPolitics he was being so patronizing in his little speech - you can tell he's just trying to jump through hoops for 2016.

connaig
connaig

@TIME @timepolitics Looked like a 12 year old on his first date,sweaty, fidgeting, and stammering.#NotReadyForPrimeTime @LOLGOP @TXDemParty

Greedalitism365
Greedalitism365

@TIME @TIMEPolitics Touching His Face to Much, Mouth, Lips very Erratic, Dry Mouth Syndrome, Nervous Insecure, Fast Move 4 H2O, LOL. NFFTP

Realista
Realista

 It takes more than a drink of water ..... 'To drown a political hack.

Definitely...... Not Ready for Prime Time! Then Marco told Mostly Lies.... 

"how government cannot help people"?      How Did his Illegal Family get to Stay in U. S. ?

U.S. Gov't " Did Not Deport Them"! That's government help!

Marco also got Free education paid by Dade Homeowners. His family Got Refugee Assistance, etc.    In spite of being the Son of An Illegal Immigrant Family, Marco got the "Resident Tuition Rate at FIU University"  and Federal assistance! Without a Dream Act?  

And, there is also the unrepaid $ 94,000 of personal expenses he charged  the Florida Republican Party Amex card while being paid by Florida government as state representative?  Marco has been on government payroll.... Most of His LIFE!

So, Marco government DOES HELP!

gene3m
gene3m

@TIME @TIMEPolitics I heard it already and what he said so old and tired... I'd day he stunk

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

Grunwald characrterized someone as as a "clueless-dweeb" and a "dork"? Classic.

"He bemoaned the federal deficit, but failed to mention it’s shrunk during the Obama era."

 Are liberals really this stupid? Obama gave us the first deficits over a trillion dollars, and, why it dips slightly, they claim the deficit shrunk under Obama. The deficit remains higher than any deficit under Bush and more than $6 trillion has been added to the debt on Obama's watch.

"Rubio also mocked the notion that “government can control the weather,” a really dumb objection to climate action."

 Note that Obama the Incompetent suggested that climate change caused Hurricane Sandy. Scientists do not believe that.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/obamas-dubious-claim-global-warming-caused-superstorm-sandy_701171.html

Slickwerk
Slickwerk

@oldwhiteguy You are about as ignorant as a 16 year old girl. Consider educating yourself before making such bold statements. 

einhander04
einhander04

@Thundercloud59 how can you say that libertarians are the same as the republicans and democrats? they are totally different republicans and democrats are very similar but libertarians are a 180. America today is "great" because of libertarian policies of the past; such as freedom, small government, low taxes, constitutionalism, and non-intervention. These policies put America way ahead of everyone else very quickly; in come cases with a growth gate of 12%, surpassing Chinese growth rates even. The power to tax is the power to destroy, you can't "grow" an economy by taxing and taking money out of it. If it were up to the libertarians you would have no federal income tax, the local police wouldn't receive federal grants to militarize the police with automatic weapons and assault vehicles, there would be no federal deficit or debt, there would be no war in iraq or afghanistan, we would not be BOMBING or intervening in yemen, iran, syria, or libia, we would not OCCUPYING over 80 countries right now yes the united states has troops in over 80!! countries ridiculous, you would not be fined for not having medical insurance, the united states would still have a manufacturing base, there would be no "patriot" act that violates the 4th amendment, there would be no "NDAA" that violates most of the Constitution and is TRAITOROUS nazi style legislation, i could keep going.... Both the republicans and democrats are criminals and most of them are so corrupt  they deserve to be hung as traitor to the republic; yes this is a REPUBLIC, NOT! a democracy. America is founded on libertarian ideas and the protection of minorities;  in the birth of America a mere 3%!! fought against the british empire, native americans, and 30%!! of other americans. yes 3% of colonial america won a revolutionary war against a world empire, and the majority of able bodied americans that sided with the british. The point here is that a people free from government interference is extremely efficient and NOTHING can stop an idea whose time has come. It's time to get back to our roots as a free people free from government interference in everything we do, or perish into the collective that is the "new america" under obama now and some republican later when everyone gets angry for a 20 trillion dollar deficit by 2016 and blames democrats and so on and so on, there is only 1 good ending here.

CerebralSmartie
CerebralSmartie

@jilli.brown Agree with you 100 %.  What Rubio said recently was totally undifferentiated from what he said in the past. He has a "content" problem"-- his party insists on rebutting a faux news Obama.

Does anyone else squirm when they watch Rubio? Does it feel as though you are back in high school, maybe in Speech Class again or maybe  watching a kid running for Student Council?

http://www.ktvu.com/videos/news/raw-video-marco-rubio-forgets-last-page-of-speech/vG34F/

 Maybe this wouldn't be so bad if things were much better in his state of Florida.  How in the world can we prop up anyone who leads us in Florida to the national stage. Florida needs remedial help. Why take the leader from a state that needs remedial help and make it look like he is a source of redemption, a savior? Very odd!


ConnorFrederiksen
ConnorFrederiksen

@PerryWhite1 he used gov assisstance to PROGRESS his life and ACHIEVE. He did not milk the system. There is a difference. He suggest fixing broken medicare rather than just speaking on it. Talk is cheap

Slickwerk
Slickwerk

@RonaldMcloughlin Why don't you take the time to use proper grammer/english for god sake. In addition, I am glad that you are judging someone by how fast/dynamic they talk. How does that have anything to do with lying? Pro tip: go take out a student loan and educate yourself. It is important to learn different  perspectives and realize that they all have good qualities to them even if you don't entirely agree.  

MrObvious
MrObvious

@KevinGroenhagen

 SIEGEL: But for a lot of us laymen, there is at least a strong impression that extreme weather events are just happening more and more frequently. Is there actually a profusion of extreme weather events? And should that be more problematic than the causality of one particular storm or another?


Rightwingers wouldn't be so ignorant if they at least read everything they link too. See, the headline isn't always the punchline.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@KevinGroenhagen Yes because nothing Obama gave us was inherited from what Bush gifted on us with stupid wars and tax rollbacks to the rich. Back under your bridge Kevin, the rest of your family misses you.

Pollopa
Pollopa

So because he is not disabled or incapacitated for some reason like an aged body, its OK by you that he trashes the support of people in need.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@mantisdragon91 @KevinGroenhagen Obama did not inherit trillion-dollar deficits, 47 million on food stamps. a record number receiving disability, etc.

Funny thing about your combat service claim, Roman. Your bio mentions no military service.

oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

@Slickwerk@oldwhiteguyWell, you haven't chosen to refute anything.  But just to make your day: first, I believe we all recall that Mitt Romney refused to release his tax returns.  Agreed?  Hence, the term "no-see-um" 'cuz we didn't.  As to the wealth gap, here are the facts: the wealthiest 1% of our population own more than 90% of us combined. The wealthiest 10% of our population own more than ¾ of the nation’s wealth. We haven't seen those kinds of numbers since the great recession. Are we educated enough for ya?

PerryWhite1
PerryWhite1

@Pollopa Don't even bother with him, Pollopa. We all know how to read, and Rubio didn't make the distinction that "ConnorFrederiksen" just pulled out of thin air. It's just white noise to me at this point. But I appreciate the back-up!

MrObvious
MrObvious

@KevinGroenhagen @MrObvious

I don't know if 50 makes me an old man. However, unlike you, I am a man. Your refusal to admit your error disqualifies you from being in the "man" category.

Sorry, I don't base my 'manhood' on whether or not you think I am one. You'd be surprised how little influence internet bullies like you have on my 'man' status.

MementoMori
MementoMori

@mantisdragon91 @KevinGroenhagen @MrObvious "Oh yeah! I'm the manliest man whose ever manned a man-thing!"

Seriously, you sound like about to compare equipment sizes. Or butt heads like rams. Or whatever manly men do when they're stupidly proclaiming their manliness.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@MrObvious @KevinGroenhagen I don't know if 50 makes me an old man. However, unlike you, I am a man. Your refusal to admit your error disqualifies you from being in the "man" category.

AlistairCookie
AlistairCookie

@MrObvious @KevinGroenhagen 

Re: Climate change

From my laywoman's perspective, the times, they are a changin'.  Years ago, when I started gardening, we were Zone 5.  Then it was Zone 5b.  Now we are officially Zone 6 this year.  I haven't moved, and my official classification has gotten one zone warmer.    

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@mantisdragon91@KevinGroenhagen@MrObviousFirst, they didn't, moron. It was Richard Armitage from the State Department gave Plame's name to Bob Woodward. Check the record. Second, treason entails "only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

MrObvious
MrObvious

@KevinGroenhagen @MrObvious

ou seriously found a host's question more important than the comments offered by an actual scientist? 

Of course - the scientists only answered what we know. We don't know for sure that Sandy is part of the pattern of the changing climate. It's not like we had a 'Sandy' 2 years ago. Only the future can show that. The interviewer asked instead probably the most important one that scientists should be answering. 


We both know that you misread the item. Just admit it. Be a man for once.

Give up the juvenile trolling. Speaking of being a man. Leave like you said you would. If you're going to read into whatever you want into what someone post then I think we should take what you wrote for what it actually was.

You said you would leave. That means for good. You never stipulated how long and when you say you will leave most people interpret that as terminal. For good. No more. That's the basic of the English language. 

Here I stated directly from your link with layman and all what I found to be the most important take away. I even overexplain why and yet your persist.

Jesus - for such an old man like yourself you sure are regressing maturely. 

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@MrObvious @KevinGroenhagen You seriously found a host's question more important than the comments offered by an actual scientist? We both know that you misread the item. Just admit it. Be a man for once.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@KevinGroenhagen @MrObvious

Kevin,

Just lay off the snark. I posted what I found to be the important part of it. I even overexplained it and yet you insist on your own reality. 

So if a connection between Hurricane Sandy and climate change cannot be proven, should the president suggest such a connection during a speech to millions of Americans? And a storm like Sandy hitting that region does not happen annually. There are decades in between such storms.

Good question - more importantly. We see today what used to be cyclical blizzards almost bi-annually and soon enough annually  We see thaw and bitter cold within the same week. We see weather patterns that used to follow a cyclical pattern become more and more common. What we can't say yet is if Sandy is part of this pattern or if it part of regular cyclical weather. Should Obama mention it? Why not - it's a far better cry then the intransigent right always telling us that there's nothing to see yet.


I'll take Obama winging it over someone like Inhofe telling us that there is no climate change because God would never let it happen. Now take THAT type of science and smoke it.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@mantisdragon91@KevinGroenhagen@MrObviousThat was not the only reason. Also:

"Wilson's assertions -- both about what he found in Niger and what the Bush administration did with the information -- were undermined yesterday in a bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report.

"The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39834-2004Jul9.html

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@MrObvious @KevinGroenhagen Now you're quoting the scientist instead of the layman. You're making progress. You still won't admit that you misread the exchange, but you're making process.

So if a connection between Hurricane Sandy and climate change cannot be proven, should the president suggest such a connection during a speech to millions of Americans? And a storm like Sandy hitting that region does not happen annually. There are decades in between such storms.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@KevinGroenhagen @MrObvious 

The scientist said that you can't prove it and that there are weather cycles. And that's true. Weather is cyclical. It's just funny how these 30, 10, 7 and 3 year cycles are now annual events.

Seriously Kevin.


KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@MrObvious @KevinGroenhagen You really can't be that stupid, can you? The relevant part of that exchange is what the scientist said, no the interviewer's question to the scientist. The interviewer (Siegel) was including himself in the "laymen" category. The scientist obviously is not part of that category.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@KevinGroenhagen @MrObvious

Speaking of lack of integrity

I copy and pasted EXACTLY the part that I wanted to highlight. You seem to have a problem with basic comprehension.

Also - it says right there  But for a lot of us laymen

Seriously - you even suck at basic trolling. Why don't you go and harass school children instead.

MementoMori
MementoMori

@MrObvious @mantisdragon91 @KevinGroenhagen @grape_crush

"Why anyone would get mad at such a pathetic troll like Kevin is beyond me"

Agreed. 

Groenhagen is a sad little man trying to bolster his weak ego with online blustering. At least paulie tries to make a point, Groenhagen's just here to insult people. 

The good news? Groenhagen's venting is the death rattle of the Archie Bunker generation.  Good riddance.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@KevinGroenhagen @mantisdragon91 @grape_crush Don't worry about me Troll the 240 is mostly muscle. I'm pretty confident that my body fat is much lower than yours. More importantly I'm even more confident that an internet tough guy like you would never have the balls to confront an actual combat veteran like me in person and say what you has said on here. Suck on that Troll.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@mantisdragon91 @KevinGroenhagen @grape_crush 

Mantis

You're only feeding the only reason why he's egging you on. He doesn't care about presenting a better argument - he's only into pissing you off.

Why anyone would get mad at such a pathetic troll like Kevin is beyond me. He sucks even more at it then paulejb and rusty.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@KevinGroenhagen @mantisdragon91 @grape_crush Why should I troll? You disparaged my sacrifice and that of my friends who died in the conflict. Tell you what Troll stop by any bar containing Iraq veterans, tell them they are anonymous cowards and then tell them to lighten up. See what happens.

grape_crush
grape_crush

Flagged. Groenhagen has a history of online and offline harassment of other commenters when he is able to glean personal information from commenter profiles.


mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@KevinGroenhagen @mantisdragon91 Actually he did inherit all that. It just took a while to manifest. Funny thing about my BIO Troll, unlike cowards like you I don't feel the need to list everything for the world to see. But perhaps since you know so much about me you would care to come visit me so that I can show you my combat scar and shove my old dog tags down your throat.