Marco Rubio

State of Union response carries risk for Marco Rubio

by Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times  |  published on February 11, 2013

After the State of the Union address Tuesday night, Sen. Marco Rubio steps before the cameras to deliver one of the Republican responses — and the stakes couldn’t be higher for the high-profile young senator.

“He has the weight of a party on his shoulders, not to mention he is going toe-to-toe with the most popular person in office right now,” said Ford O’Connell, who served as the rural outreach director for Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“I think, in some ways, his potential 2016 aspirations are on the line,” he said about a possible Rubio presidential bid. “I think the party needs Rubio to be successful more than Rubio needs Rubio to be successful because we are at a time when we need new leaders.”

Mr. Rubio will already make history by becoming the first person to deliver the response in English and Spanish.

But when it comes to having an impact, he will be fighting history: The record shows far more washouts than standouts in the official opposition party’s response to the annual presidential address.
Mr. Obama has most of the advantages, including setting — he speaks from the podium in the House, to an audience filled with the country’s top leaders. He also usually speaks for about an hour, allowing him to deploy soaring rhetoric and go deep into specifics.

Mr. Rubio, meanwhile, will have about 15 minutes, and will not have the trappings of the House chamber to lend his event the same grandeur as Mr. Obama.

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