Exclusive interview with Senator Marco Rubio on WaPo’s story about his family history

posted at 3:07 pm on October 21, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Just moments ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) about the attack piece from the Washington Post on supposed “embellishments” of Rubio’s family history. Rubio gave an impassioned defense of his family’s experience as exiles, and ripped the Post’s reporter for not doing proper research on the matter, as well as noting pointedly that the reporter is in the middle of writing a book about Rubio. I also ask the Senator about his dispute with Univision, about which he prefers to just say that the Miami Herald’s report that Univision tried to strongarm him into an appearance is “accurate.” I’ll have more later on this interview, after I conclude today’s TEMS, but the interview speaks for itself:

Video streaming by Ustream

Rubio also has a response at Politico that covers much the same ground:

The Washington Post on Friday accused me of seeking political advantage by embellishing the story of how my parents arrived in the United States.

That is an outrageous allegation that is not only incorrect, but an insult to the sacrifices my parents made to provide a better life for their children. They claim I did this because “being connected to the post-revolution exile community gives a politician cachet that could never be achieved by someone identified with the pre-Castro exodus, a group sometimes viewed with suspicion.”

If The Washington Post wants to criticize me for getting a few dates wrong, I accept that. But to call into question the central and defining event of my parents’ young lives – the fact that a brutal communist dictator took control of their homeland and they were never able to return – is something I will not tolerate.

Be sure to read it all.

Update: Here’s a press release from the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies:

STATEMENT BY DR. ANDY GOMEZ

The Washington Post seems to have very little understanding of the Cuban exile experience and what it means to be an exile. Marco Rubio’s family was forced to stay in America because they refused to live under a communist system. That makes them exiles. It makes no difference what year you first arrived. The fundamental Cuban exile experience is not defined according to what year Cubans left, but rather by the simple, painful reality that they could not return to their homelands to live freely.

Further, The Washington Post falsely and without proof, writes that “being connected to the post-revolution exile community gives a politician cachet that could never be achieved by someone identified with the pre-Castro exodus, a group sometimes viewed with suspicion.”

This is simply false. I have spent my career studying the Cuban exile community and can say with authority that no distinction is made within the exile community between those who arrived in the years leading up to the revolution, and those who came after. They all share the painful heritage of not being able to return home. It’s no wonder The Washington Post made this claim without a single bit of proof to back it up. Because it doesn’t exist.

In the Cuban exile community, there are many stories like Marco Rubio’s family. Many children of exiles don’t know precisely what dates their parents left Cuba, went back to Cuba or ultimately determined Cuba was heading in the wrong direction under Castro. But they do know that the reason they were born in the United States or now live here is because their parents are exiles because they refused to raise them in Castro’s Cuba.

Dr. Andy S. Gomez
Assistant Provost & Senior Fellow
Institute for Cuban & Cuban-American Studies.
University of Miami

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

The Washington Post on Friday accused me of seeking political advantage by embellishing the story of how my parents arrived in the United States.

Ironic that leftist trash is claiming that saying you ran away from leftist trash is “seeking political advantage.”

Maybe we can buy this piece of JournTrash from the Washington Post a one way ticket. Castro always needs another fluffer.

MNHawk on October 21, 2011 at 3:17 PM

If any news agency had done their homework on bho that slug might not be president? How come they can spend so much time on others but not on those who NEED to be investigated?
L

letget on October 21, 2011 at 3:19 PM

Who cares about Rubio’s family??? I want to hear about Rubio’s hand in encouraging Florida to move their primary up, and screw up the entire republican primary process…

stacman on October 21, 2011 at 3:20 PM

It’s a contest between the NYT and Wash Post as to which newspaper makes the best fishwrap.

VBMax on October 21, 2011 at 3:22 PM

See what happens when the Washington Post can no longer write stories about Sarah Palin…?

/

Seven Percent Solution on October 21, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Not sure why I should care, and at this point I do not.

The MSM has lied, twisted, and contorted all manner of things for ages. Big deal. It will never stop and the only people this affects is the Rubio family. Whoopty doo and a big ol’ Meh to you.

My family has their own problems to care about and some politicians family honor is not even microscopically one of them.

FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 3:26 PM

the reporter is in the middle of writing a book about Rubio.

Has he rented the house next door yet?

Akzed on October 21, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Not sure why I should care, and at this point I do not.
The MSM has lied, twisted, and contorted all manner of things for ages. Big deal. It will never stop and the only people this affects is the Rubio family. Whoopty doo and a big ol’ Meh to you.
My family has their own problems to care about and some politicians family honor is not even microscopically one of them.
FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Eh, I don’t care much either. Rubio might wanna have a go at updating his bios, though.

whatcat on October 21, 2011 at 3:31 PM

FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 3:26 PM

We get it: it is important for you to tell us you don’t care.

Akzed on October 21, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Great interview, Ed!

I got chills thinking about what would have happened to their family if Marco Rubio’s mother had not realized what was happening in Cuba and returned to the United States with her children as quickly as she did in 1961.

All Americans need to appreciate what a fragile treasure our freedom is!

Thank you for sharing your family’s story Senator Rubio!

wren on October 21, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Akzed on October 21, 2011 at 3:35 PM

We get it: it is important for you to tell us you don’t care that I don’t care.

See? I can play that game too. Fun!

FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 3:37 PM

After reading the Politico piece – Seems to me that Marco Rubio gets exactly what makes America great. And that he took the time to respond is important. The more Republicans respond to the lies, perhaps the closer we will come back to the America that Marco Rubio’s parents came to for real freedom and opportunity.

jackal40 on October 21, 2011 at 3:41 PM

Thanks for posting the interview, Ed. You did a fine job!

In the Cuban exile community, there are many stories like Marco Rubio’s family. Many children of exiles don’t know precisely what dates their parents left Cuba, went back to Cuba or ultimately determined Cuba was heading in the wrong direction under Castro.


He hits the nail on the head — this was exactly my point in last nights thread. Anyone who understands the Cuban exile community would know this.

Dr. Gomez, completely and utterly, discredits the WaPo hit piece.

Demosthenes on October 21, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Antinio Prohias, the creater of SPY v SPY came to America less than 1 week before Castro took official command and was already being declared an enemy of the state for his political cartoons.

WaPo is now officially less accurate than MAD Magazine. Congratulations.

DrAllecon on October 21, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Akzed on October 21, 2011 at 3:35 PM

We get it: it is important for you to tell us you don’t care that I don’t care.
See? I can play that game too. Fun!
FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 3:37 PM

I think most folks who read what you wrote (and who aren’t fishing for flame wars) took it as agreeing with most people here that this is no big deal.

whatcat on October 21, 2011 at 3:51 PM

We get it: it is important for you to tell us you don’t care that I don’t care.

See? I can play that game too. Fun!

FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Oh, good grief, FlatFoot.
I wouldn’t let my 10-year-old engage in an argument like this.
You don’t care; great; thanks.

Meanwhile, a systematic attempt at marginalizing electable conservatives is underway. A guy like Rubio needs to defend himself, as I or you would certainly want to defend OURselves in the same situation. And with rags like WaPo and HuffPo out there, a spurious attack on him is an implied attack on ALL conservatives, since (if successful), it will embolden other attacks against OTHER, similar conservatives.

Jeeez, dude….does the phrase “can’t see the forest for the trees” mean anything to you?

JustTurnRight on October 21, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Erick Erickson, with the definitive takedown

That’s right, Roig-Franzia wrote a horrible piece in the Style section. His 70 year old editor did not like it. Roig-Franzia reportedly called his 70 year old editor and Marine a “c**ksucker”, and the Marine punched him.

Manuel Roig-Franzia has a well documented history of being an apologist for the Cuban communist regime and a hater of the Catholic church. He is also now writing a book on Marco Rubio.

MNHawk on October 21, 2011 at 3:55 PM

MNHawk on October 21, 2011 at 3:55 PM

Manuel Roig-Franzia has an unhealthy fascination with Castro and his heap of a utopia. “I found it so extraordinarily exotic,” he said in an interview, referring to his first trip to Communist Cuba.

This Spaniard is a real piece of work. He obviously has a problem with Cuban exiles and their offspring — a bigot problem.

Demosthenes on October 21, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Allen v. Roig-Franzia: From the Beginning

Quite the history with this guy.

MNHawk on October 21, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Here’s the interview, if anyone is curious.

Another quote: “it has the intrigue of being run by Castros…”

Demosthenes on October 21, 2011 at 4:13 PM

You have to understand that Mr. Rubio is a threat to these maggot infested socialist pigs at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the other communist manifesto outlets that are threatened by any moral conservative standing. They are the swine and scourge still feeding this nation with their disease of socialism and their objective is to destroy the free market principles of capitalism at any expense. Mr. Rubio’s story is one of many that fled the sickness of communism under a dictatorship. The Post and their facilitators can not allow that immigrants chose a better life here in American and assimilated as what U.S. citizens should become—people who love this country for which it stands, one nation, under God. The Post would rather attack Mr. Rubio and his family as opportunist, (which is insane), rather than making the hard choice to leave a nation heading in the wrong direction. I also believe the Post and its writer would rather embrace Cuba as some kind of glorious world and only misunderstood. What ever the reasons, the shame of a U.S. newspaper to allow such gutter journalism and borderline defamation is a sad reflection on all of us. Too bad the editors at the Washington Post are patting themselves on their backs, while the rest of the nation will search for their advertisers—and boycott every one of them. Freedom of the Press also means freedom to reject their idea of journalism, and the vile objectives with a sick perception of American values.

Rovin on October 21, 2011 at 4:32 PM

And Barack Obama took the following courses at Columbia University, earning the grades indicated: [crickets]

And Barack Obama wrote his Senior Thesis at Columbia University on the following topic (copy of the thesis attached): [crickets]

The following classmates of Barack Obama at Columbia University were interviewed and here are their personal recollections: [crickets]

It’s a virtual Cricket Symphony!!! out here!!!

Do-Over/2012

IndieDogg on October 21, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Rovin on October 21, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Sure, but staying in Cuba and getting rich under Batista wouldn’t have been much better in my book. The man was a typical Banana Republic thug.

I don’t know what Rubio said, but if he did give the impression that his family fled the Castro regime, but didn’t, then that’s just plain lying. If they came here under Batista, and stayed here when Castro took over, then…well, so what? Why would they want to return when Castro assumed power?

There’s nothing wrong with emigrating to the U.S. for whatever reason-as long as it’d done legally.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 21, 2011 at 4:49 PM

…but if he did give the impression that his family fled the Castro regime, but didn’t, then that’s just plain lying.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 21, 2011 at 4:49 PM


You’re missing Dr. Gomez’s point, and the same point any Cuban or Cuban-American would make; Cuban oral history is soft on specific dates, and when we tell the tale, we tell it as we were told (in private and in public). I couldn’t say for sure when my grandparents left Cuba, not many can, but we can give you an approximation. However, we all claim the same thing, “Communism and Castro are the main reasons”. Before, during or after is irrelevant.

You’ll be hard pressed to find any Cuban who will claim they left because of Batista.

Demosthenes on October 21, 2011 at 5:09 PM

Jeeez, dude….does the phrase “can’t see the forest for the trees” mean anything to you?

JustTurnRight on October 21, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Does the phrase, “Politicians are like diapers, they both need changing regularly and for the same reasons” mean anything to you?

Marco Rubio’s family history has been the linchpin of his entire political career. It is the second sentence of the official biography on his Senate Web site. It says that his parents, Mario and Oriales Rubio, “…came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.” Apparently, that statement by his own hand is patently false. If you lie about something as fundamental as you and your family’s origins to enhance your chances at public office, what else will you lie about and who else will you cheat in order to keep that office and improve your position for higher office?

Furthermore, as if this is about family honor, what do I care about Rubio’s family honor? Why should anyone but Rubio care? In fact, it is obviously less about his family honor than it is his own political self-preservation. He’s making such a huge stink out of it that it’s obvious he is desperate to save his political hide rather than redress an historical family wrong.

Diapers. Politicians. They’re both full of it. Change. Get it? Probably not.

FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Sure, but staying in Cuba and getting rich under Batista wouldn’t have been much better in my book. The man was a typical Banana Republic thug.

Actually , Batiata wasn’t all that bad compared to his predecessorr,Carlos Prío Socarrás. That was a piece of work!

katy the mean old lady on October 21, 2011 at 5:13 PM

And to be clear, I use “Cuban” and “Cuban-American” only to draw a distinction. I only, and always, will refer to myself as American. Not a hyphenated citizen.

Demosthenes on October 21, 2011 at 5:13 PM

Ed

Rubio had/had a CONSTANT honesty problem, his parent didnt flee communism as he had stated mny times, many times in his earlier races – I’m not defending the WaPo but I’ve been on the record that Rubio has serious problems – lying being one of them – having had large spending measured shot down by frist was another

EricPWJohnson on October 21, 2011 at 5:19 PM

FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 5:13 PM

You’re obviously a “57 Stater”.

landlines on October 21, 2011 at 5:26 PM

You’re obviously a “57 Stater”.

landlines on October 21, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Grow up, child.

Truth will set you free.

FlatFoot on October 21, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Ed
Rubio had/had a CONSTANT honesty problem, his parent didnt flee communism as he had stated mny times, many times in his earlier races – I’m not defending the WaPo but I’ve been on the record that Rubio has serious problems – lying being one of them – having had large spending measured shot down by frist was another
EricPWJohnson on October 21, 2011 at 5:19 PM

I dunno about a constant honesty problem, but it is a tad embarrassing when it’s the WaPo that’s correcting the dates in your family story. It’s not Luke Skywalker finding out Darth Vader is his Pa, but still.

whatcat on October 21, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Seems like the WP is simply peeved his parents weren’t shot by Che.

pat on October 21, 2011 at 6:06 PM

I spent a good number of my childhood years in Miami, and lived in a neighborhood full of exiled Cubanos. Many of my friends were children who fled with their parents to Miami both before and after Castro took control.

And, there was never a distinction made by or between the two or by us American families either. There was a great deal of uncertainty (and violence) in Cuba in the years leading up to the Revolution, causing a number of them to flee, like Rubio’s family, to the USA. Technically, however, they weren’t political “exiles” then, but as soon as Castro took full control and turned Cuba into a communist totalitarian country, the Cubanos in America became “exiles”. If they had gone back they could’ve been killed, imprisoned, and their children taken from them, or all of the above.

Moreover, that distinction is still not made. One of my businesses, which I started years after moving back to Texas, is HQ’d in Miami. More than half of our large workforce are Americans of Cuban descent, having parents or grandparents that came to the states both before and after Castro. To a man and woman, they consider their parents and grandparents political exiles, which they were an still are.

The WaPo owes Rubio and his family and, indeed, all the Cuban-American families an apology for this half-a$$ed research that a couple of phone calls to Miami could’ve easily provided them with the truth. Then again, it is the WaPo we’re talking about here.

TXUS on October 21, 2011 at 6:28 PM

google earth + rooftop = choking back tears.

Tuning Spork on October 21, 2011 at 6:38 PM

I am just happy his parents chose to reject Communism, unlike Obama’s.

Disturb the Universe on October 21, 2011 at 6:49 PM

Let’s remember Hillary claimed to have been named for Sir Edmund who became famous after she was born.

Disturb the Universe on October 21, 2011 at 6:50 PM

How about some questions about when and how Aunt Zeituni and Uncle Omar got into this country?

Any word on the interview with Obama’s coke dealer from high school?

TugboatPhil on October 21, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Let’s remember Hillary claimed to have been named for Sir Edmund who became famous after she was born.

Disturb the Universe on October 21, 2011 at 6:50 PM

I’ll give her some slack on that. After all, she was probably watching one of those NY Yankee games that aired locally in Chicago, in the 1950s.

TugboatPhil on October 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM

After and years years of radio, still a lot of ahs and ahhhm :/

Greenhelmet on October 21, 2011 at 8:20 PM

I would lay down my life for a fair media.

IlikedAUH2O on October 21, 2011 at 11:19 PM

This attack on Rubio is part of the left wing’s “frontlashing” of Rubio, trying to paint him as liar. The WAPO, who even now lets Obama get away with supporting islamists in Africa as they murder and commit genocide against Black African, merely wants to try to control the political agenda and push hatred and bigotry against conservatives

georgealbert on October 22, 2011 at 2:17 AM

having had large spending measured shot down by frist was another

EricPWJohnson on October 21, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Um. . . how did that happen if Frist left the Senate in 2007?

Jason Coleman on October 22, 2011 at 3:36 AM

Now if we could only get the WaPo (Pravda West edition)to have such a thorough takedown of the history of our socialist America hating resident in the White House…

The Rubio hit was either an early takedown of their most feared next election presidential candidate (2016) or….it’s a “pre-emptive-just in case” takedown now, for fear that a angry teaparty constituancy -refusing to settle for the GOPs array of empty choices (except for RINOs and blatent incompetents)will elect him by acclaimation at the convention.

The left has a history of substituting (the placeholder resigns at the last minute)their real candidates at the last minute-avoiding the other side’s lengthy criticisms and vetting. The WaPo might just figure -what if they do it too?

In either case -the world knows the WaPo isn’t just doing journalism -it’s a hit piece. Why the GOP doesn’t bare its fangs and take them (MSM) out for this and refuse to deal with them at all -call them what they are-America’s covert enemy, not its protectors, I once didn’t know -now I do. They don’t want to fight -the want to be a staus quo buffer against true competition and political reform arising.

Don L on October 22, 2011 at 7:42 AM

Sure, but staying in Cuba and getting rich under Batista wouldn’t have been much better in my book. The man was a typical Banana Republic thug.

Actually , Batiata wasn’t all that bad compared to his predecessorr,Carlos Prío Socarrás. That was a piece of work!

katy the mean old lady on October 21, 2011 at 5:13 PM

And since the Cuban people seem to have preferred Batista to Socarras, I’d say you were right.

What I’m thinking is, is that a thug is a thug. The Cuban people have never enjoyed a truly democratic form of government, real freedoms, nor (for most of them) economic opportunities under a free enterprise system.

Some might say that it is not right, or logical, for an American to view a foreign country through the American prism, but from what I’ve been able to gather the Cuban people have been pretty darn miserable for over 100 years now. So I like many others will continue to hope that that the Cuban people will have a decent representative government, due process, freedom and economic opportunities for themselves an their children.

I am far from being a fan of Castro, but I think we on the right have a tendency to support, excuse, or ignore dictators as long as they aren’t socialists or communists.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 22, 2011 at 10:17 AM

The Libs feel so threatened by the like of Palin, Rubio, and Cain, and Jindal who think outside the box that the only way to take them down is to attack their family, their race, and gender. They can’t debate them on issues because they know they will lose.

jaboba on October 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

The natural-born-citizen clause HAS to get sorted out soon. The Supreme Court can’t keep dodging it. (Clarence Thomas even joking said recently during a conference that they ARE dodging it).

With the number of immigrants we’ve had in the last 30 years, this question is going to come up again and again – and will turn into an ugly race fight.

Wait until Bobby Jindal wants to run for president (and he will run, and be a very strong candidate), and this vague flaw in the Constitution blows up in everyone’s face.

We don’t need this turmoil. Time for the Supremes to do their job and settle it.

And it’s really messed up that you just know they are scared to death to rule on it before 0bama is out of office – whether it’s 2013 or 2017. Because if he wins in 2012, you know they’re not going to throw him out in 2014.

So 0bama gets a pass on his eligibility, or lack thereof, just like he’s gotten a pass on everything else in his whole life. And then they’ll hang Jindal high and dry.

And when they do, a lot of the country will want to see everything 0bama signed ruled null and void.

What a messed-up ticking time-bomb this is.

cane_loader on October 23, 2011 at 4:29 AM

Something has to be done about the media.

IlikedAUH2O on October 23, 2011 at 8:40 PM