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February 14, 2013 10:00 AM Dept. of Not Ready for Prime Time

By Jonathan Bernstein

Okay, the water thing was fun but rapidly hit overkill; the fact that Sen. Marco Rubio was just repeating standard GOP rhetoric was true but unsurprising; and I figured there was no reason to get into the whole business because the State of the Union response is a hopeless task, anyway. But this deserves noting:

But let’s talk for a moment about his humbleboast, “I still live in the same working-class neighborhood I grew up in.” Yes, that would be West Miami, where Rubio has been trying to sell that house for an un-working-class-like $675,000 so he can up and move his family to GODLESS ELITE DC.

That’s (via Goddard) from a Miami New Times blogger who appears to be no friend of Rubio at all.

But of course if you’re giving a national political address, then the national press is going to pick up on these things; whatever you’ve said in the past (and I have no idea whether this is standard Rubio boilerplate or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was) has to be scrubbed of anything that has a high probability of blowing up on you. Even if you’ve gotten away with it many times before. Even if you may have been called out on it before by some minor blogger or whatever but haven’t worried because no one you care about reads that stuff. In other words, the story here is not so much that the Miami New Times had the story but that Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire picked it up. Because of course Goddard is going to grab something like that about the SOTU response.

Rule One of national political rhetoric has got to be to never, never, never, say something about oneself that can’t be disproved by a reporter in twenty minutes of poking around. It’s just not worth the bother.

No, this one won’t kill off Rubio’s presidential ambitions. But three of these…two of these, even…could start giving him a reputation. It happened to Paul Ryan, remember, during his VP run. I suspect that neither Rubio nor Ryan is particularly dishonest about their personal stories; it’s just that there’s a different standard of “honesty” when you’re talking about the national press than there is for House or even Senate elections.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.