This week's issue of the Gulf Coast Business Review features a profile of U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio written by Managing Editor Mark Gordon. Here's "A Day in the Life," pulled from the print edition, which gives a look at the kind of schedule under which Rubio operates on a daily basis.
Marco Rubio's campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate has taken him all over Florida the past 10 months.
There have been several Gulf Coast trips, including March 12, when he campaigned in Naples and Bonita Springs. Here's a snapshot of that day:
Rubio's first stop was a breakfast speech before the Republican Men's Club of Collier County at the Hilton Naples. There were about 200 people there.
Rubio began with a few one-liners before he hit the core of his stump message: The current officials in Washington D.C., Rubio told the crowd, are using the recession to gain power and take it away from individual Americans.
“Barack Obama ran as a radical centrist,” Rubio told the audience. “He could not have campaigned on his real beliefs, because he never would have been elected if he did. The Left can never campaign on what they believe.”
Rubio took questions from the crowd after his 25-minute speech. One man asked him if he was worried about peaking too early since the primary election isn't until Aug. 24. “I was 30 points down in the polls,” Rubio replied. “When you're 30 points down you can't worry about peaking too early.”
Rubio met with conservative radio personality Neal Boortz, who sometimes hosts his show from his Naples condo. Boortz called Rubio “the man giving Charlie Crist more than a run for his money in the Florida Republican primary for U.S. Senate.”
Rubio arrived at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club, where he was the keynote speaker for Phyllis Schlafly's 30th annual Eagle Forum luncheon.
Rubio was first met at the door by the lights of a TV news camera. He did a three-minute interview with the NBC affiliate in Fort Myers and then a short interview with the Naples Daily News.
Rubio then addressed the lunch audience. He delivered a similar message to the one he gave earlier in the day. There were more than 400 people there, including 100 local high school students on a civics lesson.
The audience gave Rubio a standing ovation that lasted nearly a minute. It then took Rubio several minutes to walk the 20 feet from the dais to the lobby because people wanted pictures and autographs. In the lobby, Rubio took more pictures with high school students.
Rubio met with the Review and a reporter from the Los Angeles Times' Washington D.C. bureau for 25 minutes.
Rubio, who sat in a sparse room behind the banquet area, answered questions on a range of topics, including football, his childhood, politics, his grandfather and why he's running. He talked about key moments in the campaign, his second cousins in Cuba who recently discovered Facebook and the two rubber bracelets on his right wrist: One is red, for life, while the other is orange, for autism research.
Rubio also says there's little difference in being an underdog, which he was, to an expected winner, which he is now. The message stays the same. “We aren't running any victory laps,” he says. “We haven't won anything yet.”
Rubio left the hotel and headed for his third stop of the day, a campaign rally at the AmericInn Lodge & Suites of Bonita Springs. Rubio rode in the front seat of a white Grand Marquis driven by his nephew and aide, Orlando Cicilia. The pair headed north on U.S. 41 for an 11-mile trip to the hotel.
Rubio put the seat back halfway into the trip, apparently to take a nap. The car arrived at the hotel about 20 minutes before the rally. Cicilia parked in an empty lot of a nearby shuttered Hummer dealership, where Rubio continued to rest.
Rubio spoke before his most boisterous crowd of the day: A meet and greet with about 150 voters who jammed into a second floor conference room of the AmericInn Lodge. The crowd included an infant with a Rubio 2010 bumper sticker stuck to his shirt.
Rubio, dressed in a dark suit with a blue tie, took off his jacket when he reached the podium. He stayed on point, only this time, his speech had a preacher-like feel to it. He paused several times to wait out the cheers.
“Republicans lost their way and were voted out of office,” Rubio told the crowd. “But they were replaced by people that want to fundamentally change America.”
Marco's Moment appears in the April 2 issue of the Gulf Coast Business Review. It is available online here.