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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio hails Jim DeMint in new book

demintbook.One of Marco Rubio's first national backers in his seemingly quixotic campaign against Charlie Crist was Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina. Now DeMint, a patriarchal figure in the tea party, has written a book about movement called The Great American Awakening: Two Years That Changed America, Washington and Me.

The forward is written by Rubio.

"I was supposed to lose Florida's 2010 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, and I was supposed to lose big," Rubio wrote. "I will always be grateful to Senator DeMint ... When other people in our party cared more about popularity and power above all else, he insisted that Republicans stay true to their principles. Thanks to his willingness to take a chance on a new crop of committed conservatives, he won't be the only one in Washington standing up for the principles of freedom."

The forward could pass as a chapter in Rubio's own book, and there's speculation (Marc Caputo's blog entry here) he is near a deal to write one. Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos would only say, "He has long been interested in writing a book at some point, but there is nothing to announce for now."

In his book, DeMint writes about the Rubio-Crist battle, seeing the former governor as a "political opportunist" who committed the sin of endorsing President Obama's economic stimulus yet scooped up early support from Republicans in Washington.

"For me, the choice was clear," DeMint writes. "It certainly wasn't for the others. My colleagues literally laughed at me."

[Last modified: Friday, July 8, 2011 10:13am]


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