Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Politics

Marco Rubio's first trip to New Hampshire ended, hilariously, in disaster

Sen. Marco Rubio's trip to New Hampshire on Friday was a leap from his first visit to the state, when he thought his political career had ended.

Rubio went to the Granite State while working on Bob Dole's 1996 campaign for president. As Rubio describes in his book, An American Son, some young campaign staffers got some vodka for the plane trip home. A shot contest ensued. Rubio got sick. He ran to the restroom, motion sickness bag in hand. But he didn't make it. Read the excerpt:

"I spent as much time working on the Dole campaign that fall as I did on my law school classes. In early January, the campaign chartered a plane and flew some of us to Concord, New Hampshire, where we walked door-to-door, handing out Florida oranges to voters and asking them to support Senator Dole. I'm not sure how many voters we persuaded, but the trip went well enough and we had a lot of fun. A few of the younger volunteers stopped at a local liquor store and bought bottles of vodka. On the flight home, about ten of us celebrated our successful foray into New Hampshire politics by holding a vodka shot competition. I was one of the few still standing when the contest ended.

"Halfway through the flight, I started to feel sick. I knew I had to get to one of the plane's bathrooms before something unfortunate happened. I made my way to the front of the aircraft clutching a motion sickness bag when I realized I wasn't going to make it. I was going to throw up in full view of some of the most prominent Republicans in Florida. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen sat to my right. To my left sat a well-known political operative who had volunteered on the campaign. I could either vomit on a congresswoman or on a fellow volunteer. I chose the latter. I tried to get as much of it into the bag as I could, but most of it ended up on his jacket. I ran to the bathroom, cleaned myself up as best I could and locked myself in there for the rest of the flight.

"I was beyond embarrassed. I was convinced my brief career in Republican politics had just come to an abrupt and humiliating end, thanks to my own immaturity. When a flight attendant knocked on the bathroom door and informed me the plane wouldn't land until I took my seat, I refused. She persisted, and eventually I summoned all the courage I could muster and walked back to my seat covered in shame, literally and figuratively. John Thrasher, a future speaker of the Florida House, was on the plane and witnessed my humiliation, which he would playfully remind me of years later when he swore me in as a new member of the Legislature."

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