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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Marco Rubio wins Iowa and the nomination. Oh, wait ...



DES MOINES — Marco Rubio had a yuge Monday night.

But to hear him tell it, he didn't place third but first. He has secured the nomination. Rubio's post-caucus speech was carried live on the cable TV networks and he hit all the notes, sounding Obama like.

Certainly he moves to New Hampshire in a strong position, the clearest anti-Trump, anti-Cruz candidate for the establishment to rally behind. That means Rubio will get more money, endorsements and grassroots support.

It also means he'll strap on an even bigger target. He should expect more aggressive attacks from caucus winner Ted Cruz on his Gang of 8 role. Govs. Bush, Kasich and Christie will be gunning for him as unaccomplished.

Rubio has largely stayed clear of Donald Trump but Trump won't stay clear of him any more. As Trump was on his rise last year, he trashed Rubio as excessively sweaty, unprepared and an amnesty lover. Look for "anchor baby" talk.

"We'll be ready for it," Rubio strategist Todd Harris told the Tampa Bay Times last week after an event in West Des Moines.

If Rubio can withstand the coming week, maybe his Iowa stagecraft will prove prophetic.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 11:19am]


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