Several Republican strategists are saying that the scandal involving Marco Rubio’s debt and personal finances is legitimate and could be a big problem for his 2016 presidential campaign.
“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.”
“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.”
The stories about Rubio’s excessive spending and financial issues are nothing new. In 2012, Reuters reported, “Before joining the Senate last year, his name surfaced in an Internal Revenue Service investigation of the Florida Republican Party’s use of party-issued credit cards. He frequently had used his party credit card for personal use, and later reimbursed the card company for about $16,000. Rubio’s handling of his personal finances contrasts sharply with the image of him on his Senate website, which highlights Rubio’s efforts to prevent Washington from piling up debt.”
At best, Marco Rubio is a hypocrite. At worst, he is a reckless spender with a history of shady deals who can’t be trusted manage his own checkbook, much less run the country. The New York Times piece contains too much detail to be easily dismissed and has opened the door for more journalists to dig into Rubio’s financial history.
Republicans may be hoping that they can bury the Times piece as a partisan hit job, but Rubio wasn’t living the life of an average American, and his reckless spending skeletons may doom his presidential campaign.