Marco Rubio's memoir is released as his star rises
Marco Rubio's memoir 'An American Son' hit bookstores this week even as rumors swirl that Mitt Romney is considering him for a running mate.
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In it, Rubio charts his family’s journey to America and his own journey to one of the top political offices in the US. His parents fled Cuba in 1956, just before Fidel Castro came to power, then worked blue-collar jobs in Miami and Las Vegas to provide for their four children.Skip to next paragraph
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“I was nothing like my father, motherless and working since he was nine,” Rubio writes in his memoir, as excerpted by the Daily Caller. “He had gone to bed hungry many nights. He had lived in the streets and slept on a wooden crate in a storeroom. He had tried and failed and tried and failed again to start a business. He had lost his country. His work as a bartender had him coming home late at night well into his seventies I had never heard a single complaint escape his lips.”
Driven by his passion for football and politics, Rubio attended a smattering of smaller colleges where he played football before earning his law degree at the University of Miami. A handsome salary at a law firm helped further establish Rubio and his family before the driven first-generation Cuban-American ran for the West Miami City Commission, which led to the Florida House of Representatives, and an extreme long-shot upset against Florida’s popular incumbent governor Charlie Crist that landed Rubio in a Senate seat at the young age of 40 (he’s the second-youngest US senator after Utah’s Mike Lee, who’s just seven days younger).
In the book, Rubio reveals for the first time that he considered dropping out of the Senate race.
“Had the Republican Party chairman or Crist himself reached out to me personally in the spring of 2009,” Rubio writes, “they could probably have persuaded me not to run. I’m not proud of it now, but I think if they had acknowledged my concern that the party had strayed too far from our conservative principles, I would have walked away from the Senate race. I was looking for a face-saving way out. Instead, out of pride and hubris, they chose to intimidate me. And I, too, reacted out of pride.”
It was, we learn in the book, Rubio’s wife, Jeanette Dousdebes, a former Miami Dolphin cheerleader, who persuaded him to stay in when he was ready to quit. “Nothing important in life is easy,” she scolded him at the time, according to USA Today.
Beyond sharing his inspiring, if somewhat conventional rise, de rigueur for any politician on the upswing, Rubio also uses his memoir to clarify some controversial aspects of his history – like the time he told reporters his parents fled Cuba after Castro came to power (they had fled before), the thousands of dollars in personal expenses charged to the state GOP-issued American Express Card he used, and the Tallahassee state capital house he co-owned that went into foreclosure.
Nonetheless, most of Rubio’s memoir follows his “American Dream” of a journey to the Senate – similar, in fact, to that of Barack Obama’s. Only time – and the polls – will tell whether it resonates enough with Americans to have a similar ending.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.