Has Marco Rubio lost his mojo?
It's not so much that the thrill is gone with Marco Rubio, but definitely the passion has cooled.
Back when he was the daring insurgent taking on Charlie Crist, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate was exciting, edgy, a national superstar. Now, he's the de facto Republican nominee, while Gov. Crist is all over TV talking about the oil catastrophe and other primary campaigns look much more exciting than Rubio's.
"We've lost that aggressiveness and passion that we had with Marco Rubio when he was behind in the polls. We were ready to take the hill," said Tom Eckert, a Republican activist from Oldsmar at a Rubio campaign stop Monday in Tampa. "Now it's a period of regrouping."
About 60 people showed up at Datz Deli in South Tampa for a meet-and-greet with the Miami Republican who used to routinely attract 150 people or more at Tampa Bay campaign events.
Rubio is essentially running now as a general election candidate, though Monday saw little sign of him reaching beyond tea party activists and archconservatives.
Audience members asked whether he agreed that President Barack Obama was intentionally letting the gulf oil spill keep gushing to promote his environmental agenda — (no, said Rubio, but the administration is inept) — and whether he agreed the Obama administration is violating the Constitution and destroying America (Rubio cherishes the Constitution, he said, and won't second-guess Obama's patriotism).