Please tell me that working the press this way isn't going to get Marco Rubio elected president in 2016:
You can learn a lot about a politician by watching him watch football. Or can you?This is from an article in the sports section of The New York Times. Rubio invited Mark Leibovich of the Times to attend a Dolphins game. They meet the beloved former coach of the Dolphins, Don Shula; they watch the game in the owners' box with two of Rubio's kids (ages five and seven), who give the senator the opportunity to be an attentive dad with a reporter watching, just as Rubios fandom gives the senator the chance to be an appealing, Dubya-in-2000 sort of bro. And no, don't think that owner's-box thing is Romneyesque elitism:
"I've never psychoanalyzed it, man." Senator Marco Rubio says. "I just like football. We all like something, right?" Well, yes, we do, but we all don't watch N.F.L. coaches' film or study long-snapping techniques and binders full of predraft player data.
Rubio, 41, is legitimate, a serious fan who not only can name the Dolphins' long snapper (John Denny) but can also tell you that an N.F.L. long-snapper must get the ball to the holder in seven-tenths of a second.
"You are two-tenths of a second from getting every kicked blocked in the N.F.L.," he says. Rubio learned this from reading a Web site devoted to long snapping.
Rubio prefers sitting in the stands -- which you would expect any politician to say, though this rings true. Rubio, however, has decided the owner's box will be easier, given the needs of his kids, and his desire to talk uninterrupted to me about the game.Besides, who cares when Rubio's interest in football is so darn genuine?
Rubio attended his first Dolphins game at age 6, a victory over the Seattle Seahawks at the Orange Bowl. By fifth grade, he was watching games with a notepad on his lap, diagraming plays....If, as I assume, the 2016 Boys on the Bus are still mostly boys, they're going to eat this up. A lot of them are going to decide that this makes him more qualified to be president than Hillary or Andrew Cuomo or Martin O'Malley or whoever. So be very afraid.
Colleagues once discovered Rubio studying a binder of pre-N.F.L. draft scouting reports during an important debate, according to a biography by the Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia.
Rubio shows easy recall of seemingly every significant Dolphins game in recent memory. He takes big losses hard.
"Remember when President Bush passed out eating a pretzel?" Rubio says in what seems to be a non sequitur as we pull into the stadium parking lot. "He was watching a Dolphins-Ravens playoff game at the time. I don’t know why I remember that."
Indeed, the Dolphins lost that January 2002 game, 20-3. "I felt like passing out," Rubio says.
And yeah, I know that Barack Obama has played the hoop-shooting-ESPN-watcher card for years. Use what you've got if it works, I guess -- but I'm still sorry it works.