Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) will deliver the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union address next week.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., selected Rubio — an influential Latino conservative who was first elected in 2010 — to speak for Republicans in their official response to the president’s speech.
The State of the Union response slot is often seen as a potential launching platform for politicians who harbor national ambitions; fittingly, Rubio is one of the most-hyped figures in the GOP, and is thought to have designs on the party’s presidential nomination in 2016. The honor carries a degree of risk, however: many past figures to deliver their party’s response have been panned for their performance.
The senator will be living up to the notable performances of Michele Bachman (R-MN) in 2011 who gave the Tea Party response and upstaged another up-and-comer, Paul Ryan (R-WI), who was the official GOP designee. Her message was hampered by the fact that she was looking into the wrong camera when she delivered her rant. The other audition that fell flat was that of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in February 2009 after President Obama delivered a speech to Congress. He pretty much ended his national political career that evening with a performance that was hooted out of the hall with his earnestly goofy Kenneth-the-Page delivery.
But no pressure, Senator. I’m sure you’ll do fine. It’s not like Boehner and McConnell see you as the
token fresh face of the party or anything.