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Rubio's sip of water sets social media ablaze

By William E. Gibson

Sun Sentinel

LAST UPDATED: 02:07 a.m. HST, Feb 14, 2013

WASHINGTON » “I am now the proud owner of the most famous bottle of water in American politics,” Todd Harris, Marco Rubio’s political adviser and spinmeister tweeted in the early morning hours Wednesday.

It was the Rubio camp’s spin on an avalanche of tweets in response to the Republican senator’s response to the State of the Union address, a partly successful attempt to laugh off the sip seen ’round the world.

Rubio’s water-bottle-gate moment set political gossips atwitter, but seems unlikely to have much shelf life. It did at least distract momentarily from the Florida senator’s moment as the Republican pitchman on nationwide TV — a sign of our close-up media culture and the rapid sweep of social media.

Rubio’s sober message about the national debt was nearly lost in the clutter when the senator interrupted an otherwise confident-sounding rebuttal speech by reaching well off camera to grab a water bottle and take an audible gulp. It was not the smooth delivery TV viewers have come to expect.

Rubio, a savvy tweeter who seems quite comfortable with social media, took part in the fun by sending off a picture of the Poland Spring bottle and labeling it the Republican response.

“Great move by Rubio to show he’s got a sense of humor,” one defender tweeted.

Others were not so kind.

“I don’t always drink water, but when I do, I prefer to be awkward,” one wag tweeted. “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

“Marco Rubio: the man you want to have a desperate gulp of water with,” said another.

“EBAY it,” another said of the bottle. “I bet it goes for more than Twinkies did after the scare.”

This brouhaha does not appear to have legs, because it does not seemed tied to a perceived weakness.

When a wild hare once attacked Jimmy Carter’s canoe, the quirk of nature reinforced the idea that he was a hapless president. When Dan Quayle looked like a deer caught in the headlights in a debate, it reinforced the idea that he was a dummy. When George H.W. Bush glanced at his watch in a debate, it reinforced the idea that he was aloof during hard times.

Rubio, usually a telegenic presence, was visibly sweating Tuesday night under the hot lights of TV; he wiped away beads of perspiration five times during his 14-minute speech.

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kuroiwaj wrote:
Sen. Marco Rubio, the MAN. What a contrast to Pres. Obama, the waha nui.
on February 13,2013 | 07:24PM
hanalei395 wrote:
What he said before he stretched over and reached way over for that bottle of water ... was then forgotten. What he said after he took a gulp, was ignored. That's because......it was weird.
on February 13,2013 | 07:57PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Rubio the man, NERVOUS and THIRSTY. The Republican's response to Pres. Obama ..... a little man reaching for a bottle of water. (Whatdidhesay?)
on February 13,2013 | 09:30PM
pastormatt wrote:
It's a sad state when people criticize and ridicule someone drinking water and are oblivious to the message. So many easily distra...SQUIRREL...cted from real issues and problems of our nation. Does anyone care about real problems anymore?
on February 13,2013 | 07:27PM
Charliegrunt wrote:
Excellent point!
on February 14,2013 | 06:19AM
makapuu001 wrote:
This is a waste of space and ink. The liberal press are a bunch of nonsensicale morons and feel that most readers are also.
on February 13,2013 | 08:37PM
artwork wrote:
Rubio the man choked and the president the man is still the president! Hah!
on February 13,2013 | 09:05PM
ISCREAM wrote:
The Prez is also your nanny.
on February 14,2013 | 04:55AM
AhiPoke wrote:
Isn't that the real problem?
on February 14,2013 | 06:20AM
nj24 wrote:
His messages was what I came away with. He's not a white man with a sliver spoon in his mouth. He is more "middle class" than anyone in Congress.
on February 14,2013 | 04:18AM
awahana wrote:
Never heard of him. I thought it was the swimming pool game I played as a kid.
on February 14,2013 | 05:16AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
This is NEWS???
on February 14,2013 | 07:31AM
honupono wrote:
rubio the fool. go republicans make him your next romney. if hilary runs you guys are toast. hail the party that tries to cheat their way into the white house.. 47% baby.
on February 14,2013 | 07:38AM
Ronin006 wrote:
The focus on Rubio’s awkward sip of water instead of on his message shows the pea-brain mentality to the liberal media. Obama has had his share of gaffes, but the liberal media rarely mentions them.
on February 14,2013 | 08:04AM
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