By Luiza Ch. Savage - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 0 Comments
The GOP chooses a fresh face to deliver a new message
Down a flight of stairs, past a burly bouncer with a guest list, a crowd of twentysomethings nursed craft beers and whisky sodas at an underground bar near the Capitol. The host was Buzzfeed, a website that traffics in pop culture and Internet memes like “10 Tips for Perfecting the Music Section of Your Online Dating Profile,” and “The ‘Unflattering’ Photos Beyoncé’s Publicist Doesn’t Want You to See.”
At the far end of the bar, behind a huddle of TV cameras and flashes of iPhones, the website’s editor interviewed Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida.
A week later, Rubio, a 41-year-old Cuban-American, delivered the nationally televised Republican response to President Barack Obama’s state of the union speech, one of the highest-profile assignments for a U.S. lawmaker. (Two years after being tapped for the same task, congressman Paul Ryan was the GOP vice-presidential nominee.) But on this evening in early February, Rubio was meditating on the relative merits of the deceased rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. (“Tupac’s lyrics were probably more insightful”), comparing gangsta rap to journalism (“A lot,” he mused, was “reporting about what life was like in South Central L.A.”), and defending his view that Miami rapper Pitbull is no poet (“He largely caters to a party audience,” Rubio declared, impressing the crowd by referring to Pitbull by his given name, Armando).