Last night was a big night in Marco Rubio's career. Not only did he make his first major speech outside of Florida and D.C., but he also saved a collapsing Nancy Reagan. Rubio was walking down the aisle before his speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California with the former president's widow when 90-year-old Nancy lost her balance. Rubio caught her before she hit the floor.
After the unplanned heroics, Rubio delivered a speech that some observers say might position him as a vice presidential nominee frontrunner. Rubio has said time and again he will not run as VP in 2012; however, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library will be the site of the next Republican primary debate.
Politico also characterizes the speech as a move for Rubio from Tea Party superstar to Republican establishment favorite.
"On the one hand, he wants to remain a favorite of the tea party faction," Jack Pitney, a Claremont McKenna College political science professor tells Politico. "On the other hand, he wants to reassure the party establishment that he isn't the warm-weather version of Sarah Palin."
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Rubio is in California for a jam-packed schedule of fundraising, both for his re-election campaign and for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He'll stop for a fundraiser breakfast in Santa Barbara this morning, lunch in Los Angeles, and dinner in Beverly Hills before heading home to Miami tonight.
Rubio also held a Miami Dolphins-themed fundraiser at the Silicon Valley mansion of literary agent Jillian Manus and venture capitalist Alan Salzman last night. Servers at the $1,000-per-person event wore Fins jerseys, and a banner read, "Marco Rubio: A Winning Touchdown for a Team."