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Maddow: Rubio’s SOTU rebuttal was written for the wrong Obama speech

By David Ferguson
Thursday, February 14, 2013 12:43 EDT
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Maddow pans Rubio performance
 
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On Wednesday night’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow gleefully took apart Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R)’s purported rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech. She noted that Rubio’s speech must have been written ahead of time because Rubio was rebutting a number of statements that Obama hadn’t made.

She began, though, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’s tea party edition of the rebuttal to Rubio’s rebuttal. Rolling video of a Paul staffer standing in front of the camera getting her marks, Maddow explained that the Senator’s team was clearly trying to avoid Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN)’s mistake from 2011, in which she gave her SOTU rebuttal to the wrong camera.

In spite of his staffers’ efforts, however, Paul still ended up seeming a little off-center and unfocused.

“They did the same thing wrong again,” Maddow marveled. “Not only were we treated to not just the Republican response to the State of the Union, but also a tea party Republican response to the response, but once again, the response ended up being unintentionally funny because of bad staging.”

But first, there was Sen. Marco Rubio’s flop-sweaty, water-gulping performance to sit through, what Maddow characterized as the Republican Party’s first chance to make nice with the public that they had apparently so thoroughly alienated prior to Election Day 2012.

However, if you’re trying to win back the 11 percent of women who favored Democrats over Republicans last year, Maddow pointed out, maybe you shouldn’t push the guy who voted against renewing VAWA out front as your new avatar.

The more remarkable aspect of Rubio’s speech, though, was the fact that it seemed to have been written in response to some other speech than the one the president gave on Tuesday night.

“He wrote complaints in his own speech about what he thought President Obama would say,” she said. “But when President Obama did not actually say those things, Mr. Rubio did not adjust his speech to take out the complaints.”

As a result, Rubio came off as debating a president who wasn’t there. “Mr. Rubio’s whole wind-up,” she said, “was about how President Obama had just spent his whole State of the Union address defending big government and demanding even bigger government.”

“And while that might be an effective response to a ‘Yay, big government!’ speech,” said Maddow, “but instead it seemed like a non-sequitur.”

In his remarks, the president explicitly stated that a bigger government was not his goal.

Similarly, Rubio sarcastically said that Tuesday night would have been a good night to put out a new Medicare plan, already. Trouble is, President Obama had just laid out a new Medicare plan in his speech.

The Florida senator made a similar gaffe with regard to the house and neighborhood where he lives, claiming to be residing in the very same “working class neighborhood” he grew up in, when in fact, reports have surfaced that the Rubio family is moving away from that neighborhood and asking $675,000 for their house there.

Why would a person do that, Maddow asked. Why go on record in the highest-profile speech of their life as saying that they love their neighborhood when they’re also on record trying to move away from it?

All of this, she concluded, is cosmetic, though. Beyond the notorious water-gulp, beyond its surface fictions and misrepresentations, Rubio’s speech was a reheated Romney speech, which is essentially reheated Bush-era “free enterprise” boilerplate about supply-side economics and the importance of deregulation.

Watch the video, embedded below via MSNBC:

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David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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