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« CPAC Marks Rubio's Debut In National Spotlight | Blog Home Page | CPAC Opens With Renewed Confidence »

Crist Camp Offers Mock Speech For Rubio

This morning I wrote about Marco Rubio's (R) upcoming keynote speech to the CPAC gathering tomorrow. This afternoon, Gov. Charlie Crist's (R) campaign looks to get out ahead of his moment in the spotlight by attempting to advance their narrative that the former House speaker is more hype than reality.

In a mock draft of Rubio's speech, the Crist camp has the candidate saying, "I'm thrilled many of you don't know me or what I've done during my 8 years in Tallahassee." They also acknowledge a sore spot for Crist in his effort to woo primary voters, as "Rubio" says, "I owe most of my recent success from a single photograph. I say, 'image is everything' - and luckily, I found a photo with the Governor of Florida greeting the President of the United States. And Presto! Instant candidacy for moi!"

You can read the full faux speech after the jump.

Good morning.  Thank you for that warm welcome and the opportunity to speak to you about why I'm running for the U.S. Senate.  [WAIT FOR APPLAUSE]

Since my campaign began, I've had the privilege of becoming the latest cover boy. Ask my lobbyist colleagues -- I'm a capitalist (at least when it comes to benefiting financially while claiming to serve the people of Florida).  And, capitalizing on that wave, I have successfully painted myself as a political outsider.  Our success in convincing voters that I am a new voice in Florida politics is surprising even to me.  It seems that people are quick to forget (and I certainly won't remind them!) that I was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000 and rose through the Republican leadership ranks to become the Speaker of the Florida House.  All of this by a spry 36.

I owe most of my recent success from a single photograph.  I say, 'image is everything' - and luckily, I found a photo with the Governor of Florida greeting the President of the United States.  And Presto!  Instant candidacy for moi!  Sure, my opponent was aware Florida was facing a $6 billion dollar deficit and supported getting Florida our fair share of federal money. And, sure, I admitted I would have accepted the stimulus money too in a recent interview (Stimulus! See, just like that, I say the word whenever I can). But that's the Magic of Marco - I just back-tracked.  I find it's easier to criticize when you are out of office than when you are in office.  I'm glad I was not Speaker at that time, or else I would have joined my Republican colleagues in the Florida Legislature and supported the stimulus money for our state, which would have been much harder to back track.  That's what you call lucky.

Concerned about out of control spending in Washington?  Me too!  Pay no attention to the fact that I sent my opponent, Gov. Crist, our state budget loaded with hundreds of millions in special interest earmarks - Crist vetoed $459 million of it.  I've helped support enough earmarks during my time in Tallahassee to make even Shamu's head swim!  I even tried to score some new turf for my flag football league (who wouldn't want me on their team? I deliver!), but that was found out and promptly vetoed too.  I even spent over half a million dollars of Republican Party of Florida money just on my 100 ideas book - including about $175,000 to seek other people's ideas and another $150,000 for other people to write them all down.

We all hate taxes.  I hate them even more.  Like when I proposed the largest tax increase in Florida history - boy, I hate that.  Lucky Grover Norquist doesn't hold it against me that I raised taxes when I was in local government too.

I enjoyed speaking to some of you prior to my remarks.  Besides the issues I just touched on, I heard directly about your concerns relating to illegal immigration and cap and trade.  I want to touch on both topics now. 

When it comes to immigration, I am all about talking tough - my approach stems from the fact that it is easier to discuss the issue than to fix it.  I had a bear of a time back in 2007 with this issue.  Six Republican members introduced legislation that would have cracked down on illegal immigration in our state.  Frankly, I had no appetite to deal with this, so I never called one bill up for consideration.  Pay no attention that my more lenient views on immigration were well documented by many at the time.  I supported legislation that would have given illegals in-state tuition discounts instead of out of state costs.  I even won the support of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) - they gave me their highest award in 2007!  They do seem to be a bit miffed at me lately, they claim I'm not the same guy I was in 2007.  Whatever ... Stimulus!

I now say cap and trade is wrong, but I supported a carbon tax.  May sound strange (does to me too), and I know that shakes many of you to the core, but it's true.  Before I became a candidate for U.S. Senate I supported giving Florida's Department of Environmental Protection agency a mandate to go out and develop a cap and trade program including a carbon tax.  This position was to get ahead of what would be coming down from Washington. Clearly I read the political tides wrong, but I cannot stand by my comments from March 2008 or all of you will see right through me, I mean, that's a lifetime ago in politics.  Moving on .

More than anything else, my political rise provided me with the ability to influence public policy and see firsthand why Americans are tired of insider deal making and self-interest influence.  We must put an end to this type of influence in today's politics.  There is no one who understands this more than I - a lobbyist while serving Floridians in the House.

I am not naïve when it comes to dealing with this kind of corruption in the political system. I have learned these lessons from firsthand experience.  You see, when I was Speaker of the House, I tried to influence the political process by inserting language into three pieces of legislation to help a campaign contributor and close political ally be able to secure business with the Florida Turnpike.  I'm sure many in this room during a recent trip to Florida became familiar with the Florida Turnpike.  I slipped this language in to the different bills with the hope it would not cause a concern.  However, my actions hindered my chance of helping my donor and unfortunately all the bills were vetoed by Gov. Crist (three separate pieces of legislation, it can't get better than that- sorry buddy I tried!). 

Being out of office now has benefits, though.  I'm able to crisscross Florida any time I want because of the flexibility I have from my current job at Florida International University.  Education is very important to me.  Although I never really paid FIU any attention before, as Speaker, I made it a priority during my two years to funnel millions of dollars to FIU so that they could be leaders within our state university system.  I knew they were counting on me and, let me tell you, my partnership with them paid off big time.  I was so excited about taking a part-time job, thankfully unadvertised, with FIU making $69,000 a year with full health benefits.  I hear the challenges of folks every day when it comes to health care.  I'm just glad I was taken care of.  I showed my good pal Ray Sansom, my successor and hand-picked budget chief how to do this too - unfortunately for him, he wasn't near as sly as I was.

I'm thrilled many of you don't know me or what I've done during my 8 years in Tallahassee.  My record is irrelevant in this campaign.  My previous statements and actions serve no purpose in this campaign.  The fact that I'm a lobbyist and lobbied during my time in the Florida House has no place in this campaign.  Many sundry things about me are out there but they have no place in this campaign.  As I've said before, everything is done in the context of the moments in which you're living. So, anyone who brings up the fact that I have a record or even refers to me as Speaker must be running the most negative campaign in the history of modern politics, and, because of such, I refuse to talk about my past.  I'm like the Great and Powerful Oz - pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!  All you need to know is that I'm an outsider, I mean Conservative Outsider! [APPLAUSE]. (Oops, I almost forgot that one).  I'm the new guy.  I just hope this best kept secret remains just that.  Despite my experiences and time in Tallahassee, I thank you for your support.