WBEZ | Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio http://www.wbez.org/tags/florida-us-sen-marco-rubio Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Tom Dart for Mayor? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-05/tom-dart-mayor-107456 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/preck.JPG" style="height: 349px; width: 620px;" title="Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. (WBEZ/Robin Amer)" />Follow up on recent stories:<br /><br />* On Wednesday I wrote about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-05/who-could-beat-rahm-emanuel-2015-107415">potential challengers</a> to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and listed Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle as a significant challenger and Rep. Luis Gutierrez as capable of mounting a passionate campaign. A lot of people asked about Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. I like Dart, but Dart doesn&rsquo;t have a natural constituency. He may have credibility but he doesn&rsquo;t have the deep roots or ethnic/racial identification of the other candidates. I say if it&rsquo;s Emanuel and Dart, Rahm slaughters him.<br /><br />* Earlier this month, I wrote about Jason Richwine, a researcher with the Heritage Foundation, who co-wrote their <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-05/gop-leader-quits-amid-eugenics-fueled-immigration-report-107158" target="_blank">recent anti-immigration report</a>. Richwine was forced o resign from Heritage after it was discovered his doctoral thesis at Harvard had as a central premise that Latinos have a lower IQ than whites and that Hispanics lack &ldquo;raw cognitive ability or intelligence.&rdquo; Since then, more than 1,200 Harvard students signed a petition to the president and dean of the Kennedy School urging an investigation into how such a thesis could be accepted. Twenty-four <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/05/13/2004031/24-harvard-student-groups-graduating-jason-richwine-debases-all-of-our-degrees/" target="_blank">Harvard student groups</a> wrote to the school&rsquo;s president saying that approval of Richwine&rsquo;s thesis &ldquo;debases all our degrees.&rdquo;<br /><br />* Last month, I wrote about the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/immigration-reform-11-million-new-democrats-106818" target="_blank">immigration reform bill before the Senate</a> and about Florida Sen. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubios-cowardice-and-ambition-could-kill-immigration-bill-106448" target="_blank">Marco Rubio</a>, one of its <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/rubio-vs-cruz-immigration-106765" target="_blank">principal architects</a>. The bill has passed the Senate&rsquo;s Judiciary Committee, loaded down with 17 useless amendments sent up by the GOP, and it should get a vote in June. But Rubio, who&rsquo;s taken this on as a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-02/rubio-and-obama-are-fake-immigration-fight-105674" target="_blank">show of leadership</a>, is still trying to have it both ways. Without some meaningful outreach to Latinos and/or at least one serious legislative credit, Rubio can&rsquo;t run for president in 2016. But if he crosses too many lines on immigration, his Tea Party and other conservative support&mdash;which is what put him in the Senate in the first place&mdash;will evaporate. The result is that now you have Rubio publicly standing with the Senate&rsquo;s Gang of Eight, and <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_23355351/rubio-unsettles-immigration-reform-supporters" target="_blank">privately criticizing the bill he helped write</a>. It&rsquo;s pathetic.<br /><br />* I wrote about Venezuela several times, including just before the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-04/venezuelas-incredibly-sad-elections-106636" target="_blank">voting on April 14</a>. It was the first election after the death of Hugo Chávez and I expected his protege, Nicolás Maduro, to win. That&rsquo;s what happened. But I was dead wrong about the challenger, Henrique Capriles, whose campaign I saw as purely quixotic. Capriles, I think, surprised everyone&mdash;including Maduro and his cohorts&mdash;by either winning the vote count and forcing them to steal the election, or coming so close&mdash;mere fractions of percentages&mdash;that it&rsquo;s terrified them. I also wrote about the electon results over at <em>In These Times</em>, pointing out that <a href="http://inthesetimes.com/article/14953/chavistas_narrow_victory/" target="_blank">Maduro&rsquo;s support dropped by a half million votes</a> from Chávez&rsquo;s last election. The Chavistas, who control all the branches of government, including a Supreme Court that&rsquo;s heavily partisan, have been relentless in their post-election attacks but Capriles has emerged as a formidable foe. He&rsquo;s shown more fortitude and staying power than imagined. He&rsquo;s not going to get he re-count he wants, or the new elections, or international help, but Capriles, who&rsquo;s only 42, will likely challenge Maduro in five years and give him a run for his money. In the meantime, the country has had a <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/1097759/venezuela-toilet-roll-stash-found-amid-crisis" target="_blank">toilet paper crisis </a>(I&rsquo;m not making this up!) and Maduro has been steadily <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/31/us-venezuela-colombia-idUSBRE94U04I20130531" target="_blank">alienating</a> his fellow Latin American presidents.<br /><br />* Back in February, I decried President Obama&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-02/president-obamas-illegal-war-105431" target="_blank">illegal use of drones</a> and illegal wars. He recently stepped out to defend his use of drones, a policy filled with contradictions and <a href="http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21578689-barack-obamas-rules-drones-could-shape-new-global-laws-war-out-shadows" target="_blank">dangerous precedents</a>. Then, within days, drones took out another high-profile target that may have <a href="http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/05/29/has_obama_already_violated_his_new_drone_policy_wali_ur_rehman_pakistan" target="_blank">violated all the new and improved guidelines</a> he&rsquo;d just set out.<br /><br />* In January, I wrote about the House GOP&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-01/gop-cant-stop-repealing-obamacare-105132" target="_blank">36th repeal of Obamacare</a>.&nbsp; I really thought that was it. Then this month, <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/05/13/obamacare_repeal_vote_meaningful_or_misguided_118377.html" target="_blank">they did it again</a>, just for good measure. But that&rsquo;s not all. Sen. Rubio says <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/302419-rubio-to-refocus-on-obamacare-repeal-in-wake-of-irs-scandal" target="_blank">Obamacare repeal will be his new project</a> in the wake of the IRS contretemps, presumably after he&rsquo;s figured out what he&rsquo;s doing with immigration.</p></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-05/tom-dart-mayor-107456 The case against Florida congressman Rivera gets weirder http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/case-against-florida-congressman-rivera-gets-weirder-102693 <p><p>I&#39;m hanging out in Miami this week, where rumor has it that Speaker of the House John Boehner is putting the squeeze on Florida U.S. Rep. David Rivera to drop out of his congressional race. The hope is, of course, that if Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio&#39;s best buddy quits now,&nbsp;the party will have a chance to name a new candidate &mdash; one who won&#39;t be indicted right after the elections.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP101018033460.jpg" style="float: right; height: 405px; width: 300px; " title="David Rivera has been implicated in an FBI probe of campagn finances. (AP)" />As I mentioned when <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/witness-missing-case-rubios-pal-rivera-102600">I wrote about this situation&nbsp;on Monday</a>, Rivera was probably one of the reasons why GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/florida-congressman-under-investigation-alleged-shadow-campaign-101894">not named Rubio</a> as his running mate.&nbsp;Rivera, whose <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Rivera">Wikipedia page</a> reads like a rap sheet, is probably about to go down hard.<br /><br />Here&#39;s the latest:<br /><br />* Justin Lamar Sternad, the ringer Rivera allegedly set up to run against his Democratic rival Joe Garcia in the primaries, just flipped on him. Sternad <a href="http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2012/09/justin_lamar_sternard_tells_fb.php">told the FBI</a> that he knew his campaign manager, Ana Alliegro, one of Rivera&rsquo;s best friends and operators, was the point person for Rivera to orchestrate and finance his upstart campaign. Sternad also said that Alliegro used to refer to River as &ldquo;D.R.&rdquo; and &ldquo;The Gangster.&rdquo; Last week, the FBI claimed to have the envelopes in which the more than $30,000 in cash was delivered, and said it was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/09/25/161763685/investigation-dims-gops-hopes-for-holding-on-to-house-seat-in-fla">testing them for fingerprints</a> and handwriting samples. The Republican Party has pulled all funds from the race, and Romney has explicitly banned Rivera from his Florida appearances &mdash; even in Rivera&rsquo;s own district. <a href="http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/09/25/rivera-shenanigans/"><em>AddictingInfo</em></a> has a fantastic rundown of the whole hilarious mess.<br /><br />* Alliegro, who went missing September 5 after the FBI raided her apartment and took her computer and cell phone, is still out of sight. The stories swirling around her have her everywhere from out of the country to the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Fla., where she&#39;s supposedly trying to cut yet another deal with the FBI so she doesn&#39;t do any time. <a href="http://eyeonmiami.blogspot.com/2012/09/where-is-ana-sol-alliegro-by-gimleteye.html">Bloggers all over Miami</a> have gone nuts speculating about Alliegro&#39;s whereabouts.<br /><br />* Alliegro, self-described as a &ldquo;Republican bad girl,&quot; has proven to be the stuff of telenovelas. She&#39;s been all over the news down here latey, with stories detailing: a shoplifting charge; the time she took a shot at an ex-husband while she was buck naked to try to force him to remarry her; and an 83-day marriage to former Miami Mayor <a href="http://www.economist.com/node/307694">Joe Carollo</a>, who presided over the Elián González debacle and was alternately known as &ldquo;Crazy Joe&rdquo; or &ldquo;King of the Crazies.&quot; (And to be clear, it was Carollo who filed for a separation because Alliegro was <em>too crazy for him</em>!) The Miami<em> Herald</em>&#39;s Fabiola Santiago goes over the highlights in <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/25/3021035/a-miami-bonnie-without-a-clyde.html">this article</a>, in which she also points out that Karl Rove is among Alliegro&#39;s Twitter followers.<br /><br />While his world comes crashing down, Rivera is keeping as low a profile as a man running for public office can. Both his <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CongressmanDavidRivera">Facebook</a> page and <a href="https://twitter.com/RepRivera">Twitter</a> page are barely alive. His <a href="http://www.davidrivera.org/">campaign website</a> hasn&#39;t had any activity for more than a month.<br /><br />In the meantime, <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/blog/2012/09/embattled-rivera-had-major-business.html">new polls</a> this week put President Obama well ahead of Romney in Florida; Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson leads GOP challenger, Rep. Connie Mack, and <a href="http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/09/democrats-call-for-rep-david-rivera-to-come-clean-cancel-tv-ad-buy.html">Rivera is behind Garcia</a>. Conservatives are bitching about polling methodology, but no one is coming to Rivera&#39;s defense.</p><p>They&#39;re also pretty sure Rivera will never, ever, resign.</p></p> Thu, 27 Sep 2012 09:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-09/case-against-florida-congressman-rivera-gets-weirder-102693 Florida congressman under investigation for alleged shadow campaign http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/florida-congressman-under-investigation-alleged-shadow-campaign-101894 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Rubio%20Rivera%20AP.jpg" title="Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, left, campaigning for embattled Rep. David Rivera, right, in 2010. Rivera is being investigated for allegedly running a shadow campaign in his quest for reelection. (AP/Alan Diaz, file)" /></div><p>Paul Ryan may not have provided <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/poll-obama-keeps-national-lead.php">much of a bump</a> to Mitt Romney&rsquo;s presidential campaign anywhere but in <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/08/poll-wisconsin-presidential-race-tightens.php?ref=fpnewsfeed">Wisconsin</a>, but as the headlines popped up in South Florida late Wednesday, you know he&rsquo;s gotta be feeling some relief that he didn&rsquo;t go with Sen. Marco Rubio.<br /><br />What, you can&rsquo;t find anything about Rubio that&rsquo;s particularly scandalous in the last few days? Look closely: <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/could-david-rivera-keep-marco-rubio-from-the-vice-presidency/2012/05/01/gIQAVYSauT_blog.html">Rubio&rsquo;s BFF</a> David Rivera, the Cuban-American GOP congressman from South Florida, provoked this lead graf on the <em><a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/21/v-fullstory/2962351/campaign-vendors-say-republican.html#storylink=cpy">Miami Herald&#39;s</a></em> front page Wednesday morning:<br /><br />&ldquo;Fueled with $43,000 in secret money, Republican Rep. David Rivera helped run a shadow campaign that might have broken federal laws in last week&rsquo;s Democratic primary against his political nemesis Joe Garcia, according to campaign sources and finance records.&rdquo;<br /><br />That&rsquo;s right: It appears that Rivera &mdash; for whom Rubio held a fundraiser as late as May 16 of this year, and with whom he co-owned a house that went into foreclosure &mdash; actually set up a sham Dem primary opponent to Garcia. Garcia is a former director of the Cuban-American National Foundation and an Obama appointee to the department of Energy whom Rivera, naturally, accuses of being a <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/08/15/south-florida-braces-for-nasty-house-race/">&quot;henchman&quot; for Havana</a>.</p><p>By late Wednesday, <em>The Herald</em> had a front page story announcing that Rivera and his fake Dem were both the <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/22/2963954/fbi-dade-police-probe-democrats.html">targets of Miami-Dade and federal investigations</a>.<br /><br />Think this is Rivera&rsquo;s first blush with prosecutorial curiosity? Oh no, my friends, no. Back in 2002, when he was running for the state legislature, Rivera was investigated for personally <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20014294-503544.html">running a truck full of opposition flyers off the highway</a> so that it couldn&rsquo;t make its postal deadline.<br /><br />And then there was the mess with the U.S. Agency for International Development. From 2003 to 2009, Rivera claimed his income consisted of his government salary and USAID. Except that when asked, USAID claimed they&rsquo;d never even heard of him. In the end, though, Rivera amended his financial disclosure, leaving the mystery of his <a href="http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2010/10/herald-exclusive-rivera-contradicted-by-usaid-records.html">prior claims</a> &mdash; they were more like boasts &mdash; unresolved.<br /><br />Just last April, a Miami-Dade investigation into Rivera&rsquo;s finances was finally closed (though federal and IRS investigations continue). No charges were filed&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;though more than 50 were considered&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;because of statutes of limitations. The prosecutors concluded that &ldquo;we have been confronted with the fact that an elected official over a period of many years may essentially live off a combination of contributions made in support of public office candidacies, and indirect payments made as consideration for efforts as a political strategist while avoiding penal sanction.&rdquo;<br /><br />The <em>Herald&rsquo;s</em> story back then had <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/29/2822948/david-rivera-investigation-left.html#storylink=cpy">a fine lead</a>: &ldquo;Why did an obscure Republican organization pay $25,000 in 2006 to a defunct company founded by Rivera&rsquo;s mother? Why did a political consultant with close ties to Rivera receive another $25,000 on the very same day? And where did the money come from in the first place? Further adding to the mystery: The Republican Party of Florida reportedly made a $50,000 payment to a Central Florida nonprofit group &mdash; money the group never received &mdash; on the same day the payments went to Rivera&rsquo;s mother and consultant. Are the payments connected?&rdquo;<br /><br />We&rsquo;ll never know. That $50,000 is still unaccounted for.<br /><br />What we do know is that Rivera mingled personal, government and campaign accounts, lent himself money, transferred a whole lot of cash between himself and family members, and, apparently, didn&rsquo;t learn any lessons. You&#39;d think with investigations about prior acts still hanging over his head that he&#39;d behave a little differently during his current campagn aganst Garcia. You&#39;d think he might consider that interferring in the Democratic primary might look bad, might get him in trouble, might finally put him in the slammer.<br /><br />Besides just embarrassment, the problem for Rubio is that Rivera&rsquo;s imaginary (and cachet) career with USAID sounds similar to his imaginary (and very cachet) exile biography. And Rivera&rsquo;s easy way with personal, campaign and government cash echoes <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/post/marco-rubio-on-florida-gop-credit-card-i-shouldnt-have-done-it-that-way/2012/05/01/gIQA34nOuT_blog.html">Rubio&rsquo;s own problems </a>intermingling party and personal finances.</p><p>This new scandal, which falls right smack in the middle of a viciously personal election, will continue to generate headlines about Rivera, and by defalt about Rubio, for months to come.<br /><br />And for Romney, who prides himself on being personally clean, and whose entire career is based on keen money management, this kind of carelessness would have been more than embarrassing: It would have been humiliating.</p></p> Thu, 23 Aug 2012 10:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/florida-congressman-under-investigation-alleged-shadow-campaign-101894 With immigration order, Obama steals thunder from Florida’s Rubio http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-06/immigration-order-obama-steals-thunder-florida%E2%80%99s-rubio-100192 <p><p>President Obama&rsquo;s people can insist all they want that his recent move to direct Homeland Security to defer deportation for DREAMers &mdash; young undocumented people who had no say in being brought to this country by their parents &mdash; is <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jrd45vnc5Qg&amp;feature=player_embedded">not political</a>, but, frankly, that&rsquo;s pure crap.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120524138597.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; height: 329px; " title="Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio been talking up his own version of the DREAM Act, which, unlike to the original, would not provide a path to permanent residency or citizenship. (AP/file)" />In fact, it&rsquo;s about as political a move as Obama has made since he&rsquo;s been in the White House. On March 28 of last year, the president himself rejected the idea that he could do exactly what he just did.</p><p>&ldquo;With respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that&rsquo;s just not the case,&rdquo; <a href="http://news.jornal.us/article-5578.Luis-Gutierrez--Comprehensive-Immigration-Reform-Hero-is-At-it-Again.html">he said at a town hall meeting sponsored by Univisión</a>, the largest Spanish-language network in the U.S. &ldquo;There are laws on the books that Congress has passed.&rdquo;</p><p>And when the DREAM Act failed in the senate about a month later, the White House expressed disappointment in a statement that again suggested the president&rsquo;s hands were tied: Obama &ldquo;<a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2011-04-28/politics/obama.immigration_1_immigration-reform-immigration-debate-president-barack-obama?_s=PM:POLITICS">cannot unilaterally change the law</a>,&rdquo; it said.</p><p>But in fact, this president has been <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/executive-orders">issuing executive orders</a> left and right &mdash; in no small part because it has been the only way to get around a Congress determined to stymie his agenda at every turn.</p><p>So why, since Obama has been handy with the pen, did he wait three and a half years into his term to do this? Why, when hometown Congressman Luis Gutierrez &mdash; hands down the most knowledgeable guy the Democrats have on immigration &mdash; has been practically begging him to do this, did the president wait until five months before the election?</p><p>Because he needed to do something fast before Republicans stole his thunder on immigration.</p><p>Not that there was much thunder to steal. Obama, in spite of big promises of immigration reform during his campaign, has done very little on this front while racking up record numbers of deportations and &mdash; just to make the backlog truly horrendous &mdash; <a href="http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/08/a_record_backlog_in_immigratio.html">vacancies on immigration judgeships&nbsp;</a>(and not each and every one of those can be blamed on the GOP). And those judge vacancies make what is already a traumatic experience even worse because deportation hearing waits under Obama have frequently exceeded 600 days &mdash; in other words, some people have been waiting in detention centers for almost two years to get deported.</p><p>Obama moved now because Florida&rsquo;s junior senator, Marco Rubio, was about to move. For months, Rubio has been talking up his own version of the DREAM Act &mdash;&nbsp;frequently referred to as the DREAM Act Lite because, unlike to the original, it would not provide a path to permanent residency or citizenship.</p><p>To be clear, Rubio&rsquo;s interest in immigration is an election year revelation. In all the time he spent in the Florida legislature, he didn&rsquo;t give a whit about immigrants and frequently &mdash; and, as it turns out technically erroneously &mdash; he made a point of differentiating between immigrants and exiles, suggesting a particular cachet to exiledom lacking in mere immigration.</p><p>Rubio&rsquo;s sudden interest in immigration can be attributed to a burning desire to be a power player on the national stage, a possible VP candidate for presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney, and a pure backyard move because Florida&rsquo;s own changing demographics demand that he take an interest in non-Cuban Latino issues. (In other words, if Rubio continued to liplock with GOP policies like E-Verify and opposing Sonia Sotomayor&rsquo;s nomination to the Supreme Court, he wasn&rsquo;t looking at a long career as a Florida senator.)</p><p>Consider Obama&rsquo;s DREAM Act executive order an ambitious/survival move to counteract Rubio&rsquo;s own ambitious/survival move.</p><p>Which is why Obama&rsquo;s timing was perfect: He essentially co-opted Rubio&rsquo;s basic idea of non-deportation without residency or citizenship, making it so that Rubio is now forced to reconsider any legislation he might introduce. What would be the point of sending something up that does basically the same thing as the president&rsquo;s order?</p><p>In fact, Obama&rsquo;s move was probably less about appeasing furious Latinos and putting a stop to embarrassing <a href="http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/06/dreamers_planned_obama_campaign_office_sit-ins_force_deportation_standoff.html">Hispanic student sit-ins at his campaign offices</a> (not what you&rsquo;d call a great photo-op), than making sure Rubio didn&rsquo;t introduce his bill.</p><p>If he had, he might have actually passed it &mdash; there are just enough Democrats whose own survival depends on the Latino votes in their states that they&rsquo;d be hard pressed not to vote for any version of the bill. And given that the House, in GOP control, has already passed a version of the bill, it would not have been inconceivable to see Rubio&rsquo;s bill become law.</p><p>And that would have been one huge kick in the pants to Obama in swing states like Colorado, Nevada and Arizona.</p><p>Political? This has been super political &mdash; on all sides. Absolutely political.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 18 Jun 2012 12:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-06/immigration-order-obama-steals-thunder-florida%E2%80%99s-rubio-100192 Rubio eyes VP slot amidst new family history revelations http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-04/rubio-eyes-vp-slot-amidst-new-family-history-revelations-98533 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP12012705731.jpg" title=" Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio talks to guests during the Hispanic Leadership Network in January. (AP/Alan Diaz, file)"></div><p>Yet another gem of a story about Flordia U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s family history has emerged: It now turns out that his maternal grandfather went through immigration hell in 1963 quite similar to what many undocumented people in the U.S. face. In fact, Rubio’s grandfather -- who had been a legal U.S. resident and then returned to Cuba because he saw possibilities in its new revolution before rushing back in disappointment with an expired residency card -- was scheduled for <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0412/75585.html">deportation before he was granted retroactive refugee status</a>.</p><p>The information wasn’t revealed by Rubio, who’s out stumping with all-but-certain GOP nominee Mitt Romney in what appears to be a VP try out. Rubio can’t seem to talk forthrightly about himself or his family.</p><p>Instead, it comes from Manuel Roig Franzia, the <em>Washington Post</em> reporter who earlier revealed that Rubio’s parents weren’t exiles in the strictest sense of the word, in an excerpt from an unauthorized Rubio biography scheduled for release in mid-June. (Rubio’s autobiography, originally slated for the fall, is being rushed for June publication to catch up with and blunt Roig Franzia’s reporting.)</p><p>I know Rubio keeps saying that he’s <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/post/marco-rubio-and-the-vice-presidential-mating-dance/2012/04/24/gIQAY63weT_blog.html">not interested in the VP</a> slot, but his moves suggests he’s aiming for it far more than Romney may be. Besides that autobiography, which will no doubt pitch his wholesomeness (title: <em>American Son: A Memoir</em>), Rubio is taking big steps to make himself ever more attractive to Romney:</p><p>Step #1: He is spending big money to <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeedpolitics/marco-rubio-spent-big-to-research-himself">opposition research himself</a>, something Rubio never bothered to do for his senate races or during his years in the Florida state legislature.</p><p>Step #2: He has asked the Florida ethics board to <a href="http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/national/us-sen-marco-rubio-urges-florida-ethics-commission-to-toss-complaint/1218064">clear away a complaint against him for mismanaging campaign and party funds</a>, double-dipping for travel reimbursements in several cases. (Florida may well do as he asks but this story is going to come back and haunt him anyway; what he wants is to be able to say is that Florida dismissed the ethics complaint as baseless as a future defense.)</p><p>Step #3: Rubio is offering up his own extremely watered down version of the DREAM Act as GOP cover for its opposition to a plethora of pro-Latino legislation while positioning himself as both a Republican leader on the issue and draping himself in a little pan-Latinoness.</p><p>Rubio knows that while he can talk to white GOPers about his Hispanicness all day long, Latinos -- especially non-Cuban Latinos, i.e., the vast majority of Latinos in the U.S. -- know he’s been anything but an advocate for them. For example, failing to support both Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court and the DREAM Act, while giving voice to legitimize Arizona’s draconian immigration law.</p><p>Taking a leadership role on an immigration issue that’s directed exclusively at non-Cubans is designed to take on criticism that Rubio, who won his senate seat with only 40 percent of the vote, is not concerned about issues that affect Latinos outside of the unique perspective of Cuban-dominated Florida.</p><p>How would <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-dream-act-marco-rubio-blowback-20120420,0,2004890.story">Rubio’s DREAM Act</a> work? It would provide young people brought to the U.S. illegally as minors -- thus not having a say in their fate -- a non-immigrant visa. Not a student visa, not a worker’s permit, nothing that puts these kids on a path to permanent residency or citizenship.&nbsp;</p><p>In other words, it would basically legalize them into a no man’s land for an unspecified period of time -- not unlike the same immigration nightmare his own grandfather went through almost 50 years ago.<br>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 Apr 2012 10:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-04/rubio-eyes-vp-slot-amidst-new-family-history-revelations-98533