Monday, January 31, 2011

RUBIO: Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are.

Rubio has turned down “hundreds” of national media interview requests (including one for this article) since he was elected in November and instead has engaged only local press, according to sources close to the Florida Republican.

Just last week, Rubio drew mention in news reports about the launch of the Senate Tea Party Caucus because of his decision not to immediately join the small band of lawmakers considered heroes by the grass-roots movement.

But advisers and former colleagues said his decision to shun national exposure is unlikely to hurt the freshman Senator with those who supported him during the campaign.

“The most important thing for grass-roots tea party members is how you vote, it’s not what caucus you join or what TV shows you are on or what speeches you give,” Rubio adviser Todd Harris said. “The tea party as a movement is into changing the way politicians in Washington vote and make decisions.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) told Roll Call that Rubio’s decision to step back from the glare of the Washington-driven spotlight was very much in line with the former state lawmaker’s personality and legislative style.

“If anyone who supported him thought that they were electing a show horse they were wrong; he’s a workhorse,” Diaz-Balart said. “A show horse without substance fizzles away fairly quickly.”

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