Quotes of the day

A review of the Rubio family’s finances — including many new documents — reveals a series of decisions over the past 15 years that experts called imprudent: significant debts; a penchant to spend heavily on luxury items like the boat and the lease of a $50,000 2015 Audi Q7; a strikingly low savings rate, even when Mr. Rubio was earning large sums; and inattentive accounting that led to years of unpaid local government fees.

Mr. Rubio has acknowledged missteps: using personal credit cards to pay for his campaigns (a bad idea, he said); appointing his wife, Jeanette, as a treasurer of a political action committee (ill advised, he said); and using the party money for the reunion trip (an accident, he said). Mr. Rubio, in his 2012 memoir, “An American Son,” confessed a “lack of bookkeeping skills” and an “imperfect accounting system.”

In private conversations, Mr. Rubio has told friends that he learned how to manage money through trial and error. His poor, immigrant parents — his father a bartender, his mother a hotel maid — had little money to manage, he told them.

In a statement to The New York Times, Mr. Rubio said, “Like most Americans, I know what it’s like for money to be a limited resource and to have to manage it accordingly.”


The New York Times today attacked Marco because he could not afford to pay for college, arrogantly describing his student loan debt as ‘a deep financial hole of his own making.’ The attack from The Times is just the latest in their continued hits against Marco and his family.

First The New York Times attacked Marco over traffic tickets, and now they think he doesn’t have enough money. Of course if he was worth millions, The Times would then attack him for being too rich, like they did to Mitt Romney.

What The Times misses is that getting rich is not what has driven Senator Rubio’s financial decisions. His goal at this stage in his life is to provide his four children with a good home, a quality education, and a safe and happy upbringing.


It’s not Rubio’s lack of wealth that is likely to come under attack, despite his claims. It’s his spending within the context of his income that could fuel strikes in the primary and if he is the nominee, in the general election.

Indeed, such attacks would have to be nuanced, lest they play into the narrative Rubio’s campaign is perpetuating — that he is being attacked because he is not rich. But a boat and a new Audi SUV are two things voters will recognize as items most people can’t afford. That complicates Rubio’s I’m-just-like-you-guys message and could spur new questions about his finances from voters on the campaign trail.

Still, some see the developments as a plus for Rubio in the Republican primary.

“The prevailing sense among conservatives that I’ve heard this morning is … he seems a little more ordinary than some of these other guys,” said Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger.


But whether you think the Times stories are fair or unfair — I would say today’s piece is far more defensible than the traffic ticket one — you should not be surprised that Rubio is going through this media vetting process. Here’s why: Of all the candidates running for president, Rubio is not only the youngest, but the one whose path to get where he is today has been scrutinized the least…

Compare that coverage to what, say, Scott Walker has endured over his time in office. Walker’s decision to fight public-sector unions early in his first term turned him into a national figure — and brought the sort of media scrutiny that comes with being that sort of figure. Walker’s life — in and out of politics — has been picked through far more than Rubio’s at this point…

It’s possible — heck, probable — that the stories that the media focuses on when it comes to that education effort don’t make Rubio’s campaign or Republicans more generally happy. But it’s hard to argue that the public doesn’t need to know more about this 43-year-old guy who has as good a chance as any Republican to be the next president of the United States.



“The parking ticket hit was bullshit, but this is real,” one Republican strategist said. “They were trying to lump them together when they are two different things, so that’s the Times fault. But Marco shouldn’t be able to get away from one legit story about how he can’t manage his own finances because the other story was bullshit.”…

For Rubio supporters and critics of the Times report, the latest revelations simply show that Rubio is an average citizen. But others say it raises serious questions about his ability to manage finances, and perhaps govern.

“Marco made 800,000 on his book, plus his Senate salary,” one Republican strategist said. “Then the Rubio people are like: The Times are just attacking a normal guy with normal problems!”

“It’s fine, I get the playbook, but they shouldn’t be allowed to just spin that,” the strategist said. “I don’t think there’s anyone in Iowa who has student loan debts and an 80,000 boat and a 50,000 car.”


Like many people, including myself, a young Marco Rubio inadvisably acquired a legal degree, which ran his student debt — a long term debt — into the six figures. He also racked up some credit card debt and bought a house, which can often make you cash poor, but is a good long-term investment nonetheless. Sure, he seems to have struggled for a short time to pay the bills, even with a substantial salary, but by the time Rubio was ready for a statewide race just a few short years ago, his finances had evened out, and thanks to a great book about his upbringing that came with a hefty paycheck, he was able to stabilize, set up college funds for his kids, and then splurge on the boat.

Yes, Rubio was rescued by an unlikely source that most of us don’t have access to — a book deal — but he is hardly the first person in public office to pay off a six-figure student loan with a lucrative writing gig. The Obamas, whose real estate dealings with convicted criminal and Chicago businessman Tony Rezko somehow went unnoticed by the Times, also paid off most of their liabilities when Barack Obama published his first of several memoirs, and not until 2004. 


Why Is The New York Times Targeting Marco Rubio?

The answer is of course obvious.

In my new book The Queen … I label Marco Rubio as former Secretary of State Clinton’s “worst nightmare.”  The reasons are explained at length in the book,  but HRC has obviously concluded the same and her oppo folks look to be dumping whatever they can find into the laps of New York Times’ reporters.

Other candidates for the GOP nomination can’t be ruled out as the sources for this stuff, especially the speedboat (which is a Rubio passion I haven’t read about before or have forgotten), but this reporting is neither very new nor very exciting compared to the average American’s financial history much less the mountain of financial scheming going on around the Clintons.


When an old rich white guy runs for president as a Republican, he’s bad because he’s old, white, and rich. When a young, middle-class Cuban guy runs for president as a Republican, he’s bad because he’s not old, white, and rich.

Republicans are bad. Full stop. Therefore, anything and everything about a particular Republican is bad, even if it contradicts anything and everything you ever hated about some other Republican…

Our moral, ethical, and intellectual betters are willing to go back on everything they claimed to believe in 2012, because they want to remain in power. Any other considerations are secondary.


If the Times wanted to make Rubio look relatable to the average American—more like them than his potential opponents—they couldn’t have come up with much better than “show he has had financial problems.” Rand Paul has never had financial problems. Hillary Clinton has never had financial problems. During his recent charity bout with Evander Holyfield, Mitt Romney was literally sweating $100 bills. Marco Rubio’s father was a bartender and his mother was a housekeeper at a casino; Jeb Bush’s father was the President. Marco Rubio took out $100,000 in student loans that he just paid off three years ago; most of his opponents have probably never even seen a tuition bill. These are points in Rubio’s favor. People will like this about him…

The big damning anecdote at the top of the piece features Rubio, having just signed a $800,000 advance to write a memoir, deciding to buy a boat. An $80,000 “luxury speedboat,” even. Now, as Veep presidential spokesperson Mike McClintock can tell you, boats are not smart investments. But come on. The story goes into great detail about how many money problems Rubio has had throughout his life, but then when he finally gets a big check, helping him get out from under it for the first time ever, the story hectors him for buying a boat? One that was a “dream” for him? The old Steinbeck quote holds here: “In America, the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” The minute Rubio wasn’t poor anymore, he got himself a boat, because he always wanted a boat. Who has a problem with that? Rubio Likability Quotient: Increased…

He liquidated a $68,000 retirement account, costing him “$24,000 in taxes and penalties. The Times calls this “unwise” and “widely discouraged by financial experts,” both of which are undoubtedly true. But, you know, it happens. I mean, it is his money. Oh, and offending “financial experts” might well be a campaign plank in 2016. Rubio Likability Quotient: Increased…

He sold a house“for $18,000 less than he and a friend paid for it a decade ago.” Yeah, well, welcome to the party, pal. My sister’s ex-boyfriend bought at the wrong time and sold his place for half what he paid for it. We all took baths after the housing bubble burst. At one point Rubio nearly foreclosed because he missed mortgage payments. Yeah, that’s something the average American who has lived through the last decade can’t relate to. Rubio Likability Quotient: Increased.


To be sure, there are some parts of the Times piece that ought to give Rubio supporters pause. Many of the tricks the Rubios used to stay financially afloat, such as his wife working for a billionaire donor, sound – dare I say – Clintonian.

But most of the time, the Times comes across as deaf to the struggles of the millions of Americans in debt. Rubio’s $150,000 in student debt after seven years of schooling is written off as a “financial hole of his own making,” a perspective oddly missing from Saturday’s Times op-ed urging graduates to default on their loans. Little credit is given to the notion that Rubio’s finances may be where they are in part because he’s donated $150,000 to charity.

The Rubio campaign, for its part, hit back at the “elitist” New York Times in an angry rebuttal on its website. But don’t be fooled; the Rubio campaign is thrilled. The Times has simultaneously united conservatives in defense of the Florida Republican and demonstrated that, despite having no less than five reporters actively trying to discredit his campaign, the best arguments against Rubio really are unbelievably lame.


Now, with respect to these Rubio hit pieces, we all have to pretty much assume at this point that they are being spoonfed this information by Democrat opposition research firms. What I don’t get is how the coordinated Democrat/Press attack machine does not understand that this will backfire on Hillary. While Hillary already struggles in the “understands the problems and concerns of people like me” category of most polls, stories showing that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 100% gets (and pays) traffic tickets, struggles to make his mortgage and student loan payments, and sometimes has to make difficult choices with his money that he would rather not. The irony, of course, is that this same media relentlessly painted Mitt Romney as being rich and out of touch because he was wealthy and an assiduous manager of his money.

The NYT tries to simultaneously make Rubio out to be a recently-minted 1%er by pointing out that he was paid $800,000 to write a book. In doing so, they are trying in some feeble way to both smear Rubio as a commoner and simultaneously imply that now he is unlike you normal people who might vote for him. After all, everyone has disdain for the nouveau riche, right?…

The stench of desperation in these attacks, so close together, I think stands as a clear indication of who, on the GOP side, the Democrats fear most.