Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will step into the national spotlight Tuesday night, when he delivers the GOP rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, marking the latest step in the 41-year-old Senator’s meteoric rise in Republican politics.Just two years after winning an upset election to the Senate, Rubio has become ubiquitous, emerging as the de facto leader of the GOP in the wake of the 2012 elections. He is seen as the lynchpin of Congress’ bipartisan immigration reform efforts, and the miraculous answer to the Republican Party’s demographic problems. Time magazine’s latest cover labels him “The Republican saviour .” Early polls show he is already leading the 2016 Republican presidential field.
Despite his new popularity, however, Rubio remains largely unknown outside of political circles and his home state. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that 57 per cent of voters still don’t know enough about Rubio to have an opinion about him — a sign that the Florida Republican still has a lot of people to win over before 2016 rolls around.
To give you a head start, we’ve compiled some of the most interesting details about Rubio, from his deep love for ’90s rap and “Pulp Fiction” to the strange thing he did on the night Obama won the election.
In his memoir, 'American Son,' Rubio recounts how he and his friends would sneak into the gazebos of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Fla., because it 'offered the perfect hiding spot for underage beer drinking.'
The hotel has also played a prominent role in Rubio's adult life. He and his wife Jeanette spent their wedding night at the Biltmore, and he was at the hotel when he found out that he won the Florida Senate election in 2010.
He once got in a vodka-drinking contest and ended up barfing in front of Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
In his memoir, Rubio recounts a rather embarrassing moment, in which he got into a vodka-shot-drinking contest on a flight home from a 1996 Bob Dole campaign event, and ended up vomiting in front of Florida Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Rubio and Ros-Lehtinen now serve together in the 113th Congress.
Rubio is a big fan of rap and hip-hop -- and he wants everyone to know about it. The Florida Senator is always talking and tweeting about his music tastes -- he's a fan of Eminem, Tupac, and Nicki Minaj, and his three favourite rap songs are 'Straight Outta Compton' by N.W.A., 'Killuminati' by Tupac, and Eminem's 'Lose Yourself.'
He is also very opinionated when it comes to '90s gangsta rap, and started a beef with Pitbull fans when he told GQ that the Latino rap star's music is too cheesy.
To be fair, Rubio does seem to know what he's talking about. Watch his interview with BuzzFeed below:
Rubio is a huge Miami Dolphins fan, and his sister Veronica, as well as his wife Jeanette and her sister Adriana, are all former Dolphins cheerleaders.
According to his memoir, Rubio washed dogs every week in 1985 to pay for tickets to go to all eight regular season Miami Dolphins home games. And when former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino threw him a pass in the Florida House Chamber in 2006, Rubio was so excited he told fellow lawmakers his 'political career would be over' if he missed the catch.
Source: American Son
On Valentine's Day in 1997, Rubio surprised Jeanette with a trip to New York, and proposed on top of the Empire State Building.
The couple met through mutual friends. For their first date, Rubio helped organise a small group outing to see 'Robin Hood' with Kevin Costner. Rubio writes:
'I managed to sit next to her. I don't remember what I said, but Jeanette claims I talked so much she couldn't watch the movie. The movie's theme song was by Bryan Adams. To this day, whenever I hear the song, I remember the night I started to fall in love with Jeanette Dousdebes.'
Source: American Son
He had a major knight-in-shining-armour moment when he caught former First Lady Nancy Reagan from a fall.
In his memoir 'American Son,' Rubio writes that his obsession with politics began in 1980, and was sparked by two seminal events -- 'Senator Edward Kennedy's challenge to President Carter for the Democratic presidential nomination and the Iran hostage crisis.'
He adds that he was crushed when Kennedy's campaign against Carter failed.
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