We all snickered on Twitter about Marco Rubio lunging for a water bottle in the middle of his State of the Union response, and that's supposed to be a fatal gaffe -- but hey, we're still talking about him, aren't we? Would we have even remembered that he gave a speech otherwise? Are we still talking about Rand Paul, who also gave a speech last night? Last year on the morning after, were we still talking about the GOP State of the Union response? Do you even remember who gave that 2012 speech? (Answer: It was Mitch Daniels. Hey, wake up!)
The difference between Rubio this year and the other legendary SotU response gaffer, Bobby Jindal in 2009, was that Jindal passed up a golden opportunity to make the round of talk shows poking fun at his much-mocked rebuttal. As I said at the time, Jindal had the chance to do what Bill Clinton did when his speech at the 1988 Democratic convention was criticized for long-windedness -- Clinton went on The Tonight Show, where Johnny Carson good-naturedly mocked the speech. We like our politicians human and affable. Clinton's political career turned out OK, wouldn't you say?
Marco Rubio is nothing if not affable. (That's why he's dangerous.) He's already shown up on Fox & Friends with a water bottle in hand. But not just Fox -- he went on Good Morning America (outreach!) and joked about the incident as well. Oh, and since he's a Republican, he tossed in a light, not-too-pious-by-heartland-swing-voter-standards reference to the Almighty, saying, "God has a funny way of reminding us we're human."
He's a slick one, that Rubio. Laugh him off at your peril.
UPDATE, THURSDAY: Ahh, perfect: From The Hill, via Talking Points Memo:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is looking to cash in on his now-infamous swig of water during the Republican response to the State of the Union.
Rubio's political action committee, dubbed Reclaim America, has put up for sale a "Marco Rubio Water Bottle" that supporters can purchase for $25.
"Send the liberal detractors a message that not only does Marco Rubio inspire you...he hydrates you too," the website selling the bottle -- emblazoned with Rubio's last name in a tall red font -- says....