When you're running for president and stuck in fourth place in your own home state, is it a good idea to piss off all the students and alumni of one of that state's largest schools? Probably not, but Marco Rubio pressed his luck anyway.
Rubio was on KNXO 1460's The Sports Fanatics Show last Friday. It's a sports radio station in Des Moines in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa. It's one of those softball interviews meant to portray a presidential candidate as just as a regular guy with regular interests like us. (It also reminds us why, among other obvious reasons, we're glad we don't live in Iowa. There are a full six months there every four years where you can't turn on the radio or local TV and not come across someone interviewing a presidential candidate about some stupid topic.)
The state was gearing up for the Iowa versus Iowa State football game this past weekend, and the hosts asked Rubio to compare the rivalry to the annual Florida versus Florida State showdown. Rubio, by the way, earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida.
"I don't have anything against Florida State," Rubio explained to the hosts. "I think there has to be a school where people that can't get into Florida can go to college, and so that's why we have Florida State."
Solid burn, Marco. Solid burn.
Now, in all likelihood, this interview probably wouldn't have been heard by anyone who wasn't listening to an Iowa sports radio station on a Friday afternoon, but Rubio decided to put it on his SoundCloud page (which you can find at soundcloud.com/marcorubio-2 because soundcloud.com/marcorubio is taken by this guy).
And that's how Seminoles fans found out about the comment. They didn't take too kindly to it.
@marcorubio My poli sci degree from FSU taught me rule #1 of running for President is "Don't alienate voters".. I guess UF skipped that.— Laura (@frawls6) September 15, 2015
Marco Rubio bashing FSU...but like hi you went to Santa Fe first. #GoNoles— Kiara Provenzano (@Kiara_Pro) September 15, 2015
Rubio attended the now-defunct Tarkio College in Missouri for one year on a football scholarship before transferring to Sante Fe Community College — which is a school where people who can't get into Florida go for a year or two before hoping to transfer to UF — and eventually ended up at UF.
Dear Marco Rubio, don't expect me or any other fsu fan to vote for you in this election— angela. (@angelamonii) September 15, 2015
Rubio had to clarify things on his own Twitter.
But the fighting didn't stop at Twitter. FSU President John Thrasher also chimed in. Like Rubio, Thrasher is a former state speaker of the house. He's also one of the embarrassing number of former Republican speakers who came out in support of Jeb Bush.
“He’s a nice kid,” Thrasher told the Tallahassee Democrat. “I’m sure he’s frustrated by his low standing in the polls, which I believe could be a reflection of where he got his education.”
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An even more solid burn, Thrasher. Even more solid burn.
To step out of the UF versus FSU angle for a bit, it is kind of interesting to see a presidential candidate boasting about his public school education. Most of Bush's biggest competitors on both sides of the aisle are Ivy League or other elite private school brats, aside from Jeb Bush, who attended Texas (yet somehow has adopted the Miami Hurricanes as a rooting interest, because that's just how Bush rolls).
In any event, Rubio probably doesn't have to worry too much about alienating potential voters.
With those FSU educations, most Seminole Republicans will probably just vote for Donald Trump.