Rubio's conservative rhetoric doesn't always match record
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio is emerging as the champion of activists fed up with Republicans who don't stay true to conservative principles. But if those turning against Gov. Charlie Crist are looking for a pure, uncompromising conservative, Rubio's legislative record might give them pause.
"He was a big disappointment to us when he was the speaker,'' said NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, who saw Rubio do little to help pass a bill allowing employees to bring guns to work. "He talked the talk, but he didn't walk the walk."
As speaker of the House, Rubio consistently presented smaller budgets than the governor and the Senate. But he also spent eight years casting votes and cutting deals that reflect the reality of the legislative process: hard-line ideology rarely triumphs over compromise.
The 38-year-old campaigning as an authentic, from-the-gut conservative is the same person who spent tens of thousands of dollars to test political messages on focus groups, gave out big staff salaries and, like Crist, favored a $60 million subsidy for a new Florida Marlins stadium.