Rubio was dubbed last month by no less than the New York Times as possibly the "first Senator from the Tea Party" movement. He has been embraced nationally and in Florida by the collection of angry and fed up voters.
CL spoke with Rubio on September 12 of last year, at one of the more notable Tea Party rallies held in the last year, in Lakeland. (To tell you far the tides have turned, that interview, which was also broadcast on WMNF radio, was titled,"Rubio confident despite poor poll numbers").
That appearance caused some consternation in Tea Party land (see this chat room discussion on the issue), as some in the movement have differing attitudes about having elected officials at their gatherings.
Rubio's hard line stance on illegal immigrants seems to be a part of his cultivation of the solid conservative grass roots movement. If he ultimately becomes the candidate, the question is one that Florida Democrats need to begin thinking about right now - that is, though he is extremely attractive and dynamic on the stump, his record and stances on several issues could be construed as being outside the mainstream of what Floridians in statewide elections have traditionally endorsed.
Florida is considered a "purple" state after having gone "blue" in 2008 , after having gone "red" in 2004, after going into overtime in calculating where it went on the presidential election in 2000.
But the state, at least in my 10 years in following what happens here, has traditionally gone for moderate candidates, whether they be Democrats or Republicans. Charlie Crist falls under that category, and Kendrick Meek does as well (though the RPOF will spend millions this year saying otherwise).
Meek is doing horribly in public opinion polls against Crist or Rubio right now. But though hardline stances against undocumented immigrants no doubt turns on the GOP base, will it turn on the entire state come fall? Or will Marco's star power overwhelm what Meek brings to the table?
Back to Nashville, all eyes will be on Sarah Palin's speech tomorrow. The GOP superstar will collect a reported $100,000 for the speech, will be carried live by Fox News. Palin recently wrote an op-ed in USA Today on why she's speaking at the event. For whatever reason, my browser isn't producing that story, so go on your own if you wish to discern her motivation.