White House Brief: Things to know about Sen. Marco Rubio

AP News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2015 6:56 AM
White House Brief: Things to know about Sen. Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is expected to enter the 2016 presidential campaign on Monday. A look at key things to know about Rubio.

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THE BRIEF

Rubio won election during the tea party wave of 2010, but he has worked to broaden his appeal beyond the limited government, libertarian-leaning movement. At 43, he attracts younger voters — long a tricky reach for Republicans — and he would make history as the first Hispanic president. He has proved to be a strong fundraiser and in-demand campaigner, yet may find himself overshadowed in the 2016 campaign by another Floridian: one-time mentor Jeb Bush. Rubio's efforts to overhaul the nation's immigration system won praise from some Republicans and scorn from others. He would head into the race needing to rebuild trust with the party's most conservative wing.

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RESUME REVIEW

Rubio is only in his first term in the Senate, but he has been a political go-getter for years. As a third-year law student at the University of Miami, he ran Dade County for Sen. Bob Dole's presidential campaign in 1996. He defeated an incumbent to win a seat on the West Miami City Commission, moving on to the state House two years later. In 2007, he became the first Hispanic elected speaker of the Florida House and in 2009 began his run for the U.S. Senate. In that race, he beat the establishment-favored candidate, Gov. Charlie Crist, in the GOP primary. Crist left the party and campaigned as an independent. Rubio won the three-way race against Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek with 49 percent of the vote.

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PERSONAL STORY

The son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio was born in Miami. His mother worked as a maid and his father tended bar. His personal story as a first-generation American will be central in his quest for the presidency. The Cuban-American attended college in Missouri on a football scholarship before transferring to the University of Florida, where he earned his undergraduate degree. Rubio then earned his law degree from the University of Miami. He and his wife, Jeanette, a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, have four children.

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CALLING CARD MOMENT

Rubio's one term in the Senate has so far been defined by his painstaking work to negotiate a bipartisan bill that would have overhauled the nation's immigration system. The accomplishment cuts both ways. The bill showed Rubio's ability to work across party lines and it passed with 68 supporters, 14 Republicans among them. Among those who voted against it: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, rivals for the GOP nomination.

The bill failed in the House because conservatives were skeptical the Obama administration would enforce its border protection provisions. Rubio now says the first focus of an immigration overhaul should be border security, a standard GOP position. Rubio ultimately wants to create a process that leads to legal status and, then, citizenship. Rubio has also become a prominent figure in foreign policy in the Senate and has clashed with Paul over Middle East policy, the U.S. outreach to Cuba — which Rubio opposes — and more.

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EARLY STATE ACTION

Rubio has been a frequent visitor to the early nominating states. He was in Iowa less than two weeks after the 2012 election, headlining a birthday event for Republican Gov. Terry Branstad. Rubio has kept his eye on New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, as well. His political action committee is led by a veteran who managed Mitt Romney's 2008 primary in South Carolina and he snagged the New Hampshire insider who was Romney's top aide in both 2008 and 2012. His outside consultants include those with deep ties to Iowa, Nevada and Florida.

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READING LIST

Rubio released "American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone" in January as an outline for the policies he backs. His 2013 book, "An American Son: A Memoir," tells the story of his family. As a state legislator, he helped compile "100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future," which was a policy-driven prescription for the state.

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ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter: http://twitter.com/marcorubio

Instagram: http://instagram.com/marcorubiofla

Campaign Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MarcoRubio

Senate Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SenatorMarcoRubio

Campaign Website: http://marcorubio.com

Senate Website: http://www.rubio.senate.gov