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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scores line up to greet Marco Rubio at South Tampa book signing


Christian Demaio, 16, and Bob Demaio, 19, (left to right) pose for a photo with Sen. Marco Rubio at Inkwood Books in South Tampa on Sunday evening. (Times photo, Carolina Hidalgo)

TAMPA — It wasn't intended to be a campaign stop, but as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio visited a South Tampa book seller Sunday to promote his memoir, a throng of vocal and partisan supporters were waiting to cheer him on.

As the 41-year-old senator stepped from a black tour bus — emblazoned with a photo of the cover of An American Son — applause and shouts of "Marco" erupted from the crowd. Some waved flags. Others, decked out in "Elect Rubio" buttons, stretched to shake hands with Rubio who smiled and quickly entered the store, Inkwood Books.

A line of about 150 supporters snaked outside. Some said they came to meet their senator. Many said they were there to cheer a rising star in the Republican Party.

"I've always been inspired by Marco, I mean Mr. Rubio," said 19-year-old University of Florida student Robert DeMaio, 19, who drove from Seminole with his brother, Christian DeMaio, 16.

Rubio's two-hour visit had the feel of a campaign stop, but the Republican dismissed assertions the visit was connected to Mitt Romney's presidential bid. He said he was there just to promote his book and meet supporters. (story here)

[Last modified: Monday, July 2, 2012 9:09am]


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