Bad news: GOP presidential candidate, spouse are traffic scofflaws, or something; Update: Fed by Dem oppo firm? Update: NYT denies; Update: Paper trail clashes with explanation

posted at 12:01 pm on June 5, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

This hot scoop comes from the New York Times, which to be fair has actually done a pretty good job on the husband-and-wife scofflaw scandals on the other side of the aisle, too. A search of public records show that Marco Rubio and his wife have combined for 17 traffic violations in 18 years, going before the start of his political career. That, by the way, is still not as long as Hillary has gone since she last drove a car for herself:

According to a search of the Miami-Dade and Duval County court dockets, the Rubios have been cited for numerous infractions over the years for incidents that included speeding, driving through red lights and careless driving. A review of records dating back to 1997 shows that the couple had a combined 17 citations: Mr. Rubio with four and his wife with 13. On four separate occasions they agreed to attend remedial driving school after a violation.

Mr. Rubio’s troubles behind the wheel predate his days in politics. In 1997, when he was cited for careless driving by a Florida Highway Patrol officer, he was fined and took voluntary driving classes. A dozen years later, in 2009, he was ticketed for speeding on a highway in Duval County and found himself back in driver improvement school. …

Ms. Rubio’s driving record is even messier.

According to the records, her driver’s license faced suspension on three occasions, including after a 2009 episode where she was driving a white Cadillac at 58 miles per hour on a road in West Miami with a speed limit of 35 m.p.h. She paid a $302 fine and agreed to attend a four-hour course at a local traffic school.

Jeanette Rubio has the lion’s share of the violations, 13 compared to Marco’s four. She also had an accident earlier this year, which the NYT’s team describes thusly:

Earlier this year, Ms. Rubio, a former cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins, sideswiped a Porsche Panamera while driving her husband’s Ford F-150 sports utility vehicle to a donor event at the Delano Hotel in Miami Beach.

This is a Ford F-150:


It’s not an SUV, it’s a pick-up truck with a bench seat in back. Why call it an SUV? Maybe for the same reason that the article points out that Jeanette’s car is a Cadillac.

The whole story is silly and insubstantial. If there was some indication that the Rubios used their political power to have traffic tickets vanish, that would be a story. Instead, the Rubios had to pay a lawyer to deal with the court issues, perhaps a bit of a luxury but noteworthy only for their legitimate use of legal options rather than political power to deal with the tickets.

Ben Shapiro asks whether the New York Times might have noticed any untoward activities from another political spouse:

Give credit where it’s due, though — the New York Times did a good job of exposing Sidney Blumenthal’s role in both the Clinton Foundation and Benghazi, as well as how the Clintons went way out of their way to hide donors. This story, though, scrapes the bottom of the barrel in terms of vetting candidates. Maybe that’s its real value — it demonstrates that the Rubios have no skeletons in the closet that will embarrass Republicans down the road, while reminding voters that they still drive themselves back and forth to work rather than have chauffeurs handle that duty for them.

And if voters really worry that the Rubios are unsafe on the road after reading this, they can take them off the roads by putting them in the White House. Problem solved!

Update: Well, this may be even lamer than first thought. The Free Beacon reports that the case dockets weren’t pulled by the New York Times reporters but by employees of American Bridge — an oppo research team working on behalf of Democrats:

Neither of the reporters, Alan Rappeport and Steve Eder, appeared on the docket records for any of the traffic citations for Rubio and his wife. An additional researcher credited in the New York Times, Kitty Bennett, also does not appear on any of the court records. …

Records show that each of the citations mentioned by the New York Times were pulled in person by American Bridge operatives on May 26, 2015.

And that’s the best they can do? Lame. For both American Bridge and the New York Times.

Update: Here’s a “legit” question:

It certainly appears that way. Why else would it take two bylined reporters and a “researcher” to regurgitate American Bridge’s narrative?

Update: The Times’ denies that they were fed the story by American Bridge, Dylan Byers reports based on an e-mail from the NYT’s Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan:

“We came across this on our own,” she wrote. “Steve Eder and Kitty Bennett noticed it on Tuesday while looking into something else – it is almost all on line. Eder planned to do it for First Draft next week. On Wednesday, another reporter, Alan Rappeport, got wind that others were looking at the same thing. He mentioned it to Eder, so we decided to get it in now. We hired a document retrieval service in Florida and got copies of the paper records ourselves. They came back yesterday.”

Yeah, suuuuuuuure. By the way, as of 13:51 this afternoon, these same intrepid reporters changed the story to remove the reference to the F-150 being an SUV and called it a “truck.” The NYT didn’t bother to issue a correction or note the change, however.

Update: Color T. Becket Adams unconvinced:

They’ll correct that statement like they corrected the SUV description.

Update: Byers is looking for some confirmation, too:

Stay tuned.

Update: Brent Scher drops a little bomb on the NYT explanation:

Oops. Your move, Gray Lady.

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Having a lot of traffic tickets highlights this.

LilyBart on June 5, 2015 at 5:28 PM

Four in 18 years is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, “a lot”.

(BTW, not having traffic tickets does NOT make you a good driver. You ever seen the police pull over people for driving slower than other traffic in the left lane? For flying down the merge past other folks making the merge in order to shove their way as far to the front as possible? For failing to drive a steady speed? Not likely.)

GWB on June 6, 2015 at 12:39 PM

If the 14 or 15 people in the United States who were going to possibly vote for Rubio but now won’t because the potential First Lady got too many traffic tickets in the last 2 decades are important enough to the NYT that they spent good money on this oppo research story…

Well, bless their hearts.

Democrat media- always avoiding the 800 lb gorilla in the room looking out for the little guy.

Dolce Far Niente on June 6, 2015 at 1:53 PM

I want to know if Hillary even has a drivers license.

I wonder if it would make news if Qatar were paying Rubio’s wife’s limo bill like they are Hillary’s.

(Donations to foundation pay for her transportation. Muslims are the donors to the foundation. Muslims pay for her transportation.)

barnone on June 6, 2015 at 2:15 PM

I want to know if Hillary even has a drivers license.

Dropped/lost while dodging sniper fire in Bosnia.

Kraken on June 6, 2015 at 2:25 PM

Four tickets in 18 years is a faux crisis so the Times can avoid covering real issues like:

2. Iranian Nuclear Missle Talks
3. Missing DoS emails
4. Influence Peddling

Next we’ll be subject to crisis articles about Christie making American’s overweight, Trump causing bad hair days, and Perry having some sort of drawl.

Of course there’ll be no end to coverage about Jenner getting a Espy, or Beyonce’s latest single.

What passes for “news” these days is pathetic. Marx was wrong . . . religion isn’t the opiate of the masses; mass media is.

EdmundBurke247 on June 6, 2015 at 2:53 PM

Update: NYT denies; Update: Paper trail clashes with explanation

…they are liberal and they LIE…I’m soo shocked!

JugEarsButtHurt on June 6, 2015 at 3:05 PM

Four tickets is 18 years is four more than I have – but its not strange, but the wife? Yikes!

LilyBart on June 5, 2015 at 5:25 PM

So spouses are 100% fair game.
Interesting; I’d have assumed liberals would not want this.

How many trips to a billionaires island with his underage sex slaves do you have in the past decade for fair comparison?


gekkobear on June 6, 2015 at 3:43 PM

The NY Times is still in business? Appears they’re trying to keep up with The National Enquirer.
Two worthless rag mags!

woodhull on June 6, 2015 at 3:57 PM

Wow, we almost elected that monster.

geesoy on June 6, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Obama had 15 unpaid traffic tickets in 2007.

Blake on June 6, 2015 at 4:35 PM

religion isn’t the opiate of the masses; mass media is.

EdmundBurke247 on June 6, 2015 at 2:53 PM

Cake and circuses–EBT and cable TV.

davidk on June 6, 2015 at 5:17 PM

If Rubio was a Democrat, I would say the only thing he was guilty of was driving while Hispanic.

willamettevalley on June 6, 2015 at 6:07 PM

President and Mrs. Rubio will be driven around while they are serving in the White House, so this is a non-starter…

Khun Joe on June 6, 2015 at 6:18 PM

If rubio gets elected he can pardon his wife.

davidk on June 6, 2015 at 6:28 PM

So then why can’t they find Obama’s college transcripts?

steveracer on June 7, 2015 at 2:09 AM

Because Mattress Girl won’t put her mattress down long enough to let them search it.

NoPain on June 7, 2015 at 8:54 AM

I think Hillary’s husband did far worst things than traffic tickets.

chuck59 on June 7, 2015 at 1:13 PM

Obama had 17 unpaid parking tickets from his years at Harvard. Even then he was above the law. The tickets were finally paid two weeks before he announced his run for the presidency.

chuck59 on June 7, 2015 at 1:17 PM

Four tickets in 18 years is a faux crisis so the Times can avoid covering real issues like:

2. Iranian Nuclear Missle Talks
3. Missing DoS emails
4. Influence Peddling

EdmundBurke247 on June 6, 2015 at 2:53 PM

Your four “real” crisis are just as faux compared to the mass amnesty that Rubio wants to enact for his Hispanic brothers and sisters and what it will do to our country.

Thresher on June 7, 2015 at 8:44 PM

NYT: Who you gonna’ believe, me or your lyin’ eyes!

Another Drew on June 8, 2015 at 4:57 PM