Though stimulus has done its job, GOP has done its job in convincing the public otherwise

Marco Rubio is in Washington today, where he will give the keynote speech today at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee's annual confab, where all the stars of the right wing come and play (Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich area also on the program).

As the Miami Herald/St. Pete Times reports today, he's come a long way, baby, since the dark days of last summer, when the former House Speaker trailed Charlie Crist by as much as 29% in one respected poll in their matchup for the Republican nomination for Senate here in Florida. And his CPAC speech comes a day after the anniversary of the signing of the $787 billion stimulus package, a bill that has been so good to Rubio.

Not only has his criticism of Crist for  supporting the plan and the now infamous hug with President Obama been a key talking point for Rubio, but it's also been financially beneficial, as he recently launched a "stimulus money bomb" fundraising effort that raised over $860,000 for his campaign, culminating last week on the anniversary of "the hug" in Fort Myers.

But though Rubio and his fellow Republicans say otherwise, a group of leading economists are claiming the stimulus has been a success, though you'd never be convinced of that watching or reading daily news coverage of it.