Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Senator Marco Rubio has taken the baton of leadership from the Republican Party with solid results thus far in his career. His latest claim to fame is the cover of this week’s Time Magazine declaring him “The Republican Savior.”
Senator Rubio’s star has been on the rise ever since he rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 to the U.S. Senate. His speeches and charisma have been compared to President Barack Obama and in recent weeks, Rubio has started trying to work both sides of the political aisle and the division in his party.
While Rubio came into the Senate on the tea party wave, he has recently angered the more conservative wing of the party with his bipartisan immigration reform plan that provides for a pathway to citizenship.
Many in the media have also declared Rubio the GOP savior because as a Cuban-American, Republicans hope he can help them overcome the massive support gap the party faced in the 2012 election from Hispanic voters.
Hispanic voters went for President Barack Obama by roughly at 70+ percent majority, which Republicans know they have to chip away at in future elections if they want to regain national power.
Senator Rubio’s ability to walk the tightrope of trying to appeal to both the moderate wing of the Republican Party and the more conservative tea party win will be the key to how successful he can be going forward.
“For the record Time magazine called him the savior. I only have one savior and it isn’t Marco. But I do believe he is someone who can do a lot for the party. Certainly a lot for this country, ” Nelson Diaz told CBS4.
Diaz is the chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican party and a longtime friend of Rubio.
For his part, Rubio downplayed the cover tweeting, “There is only one savior, and it is not me. #Jesus.”
The cover story highlights Rubio’s rise to the top of the party. We asked Diaz if he believed the Republican Party needed saving? “It needs help. We didn’t do so well in the last election.” Diaz responded.
University of Miami Professor Joseph Uscinski had a different opinion.
“I think Time magazine is trying to sell copies.” he said.
The political science professor explained the Republican party is gaining ground, especially with Obama in his last term. If anything he believes the Rubio cover story is likely part of a 2016 Presidential run.
“I think it’s a done deal. he’s definitely running. he’s taking all the appropriate steps that one would expect him to take if he was going to run. The campaign started November 3 2012. And its going to continue for four years.” Uscinski said.
Hard to believe just three years ago Rubio was on the ropes. He was expected to lose to former Governor Charlie Crist and a decision to lean toward the Tea Party saved his election.
Could Republicans now be leaning on a Cuban immigrant to save their party?
“I think it says something about our party. It says something about the direction we are going and the outreach that we are going to do.” Diaz said.
Rubio was selected Wednesday to give the Republican rebuttal to President Obama’s State of the Union address next week. It will be a national stage to give Rubio another chance to establish himself as the future of the GOP.
Rubio is said to be considering a 2016 presidential run, but he will have stiff competition from Democrats if both Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both decide to jump into the race as well.