The fallout from this morning's take down of Marco Rubio's supposed family story in the Washington Post has been fierce and fast. First, The Miami Herald came to Rubio's defense and challenged some of the Post's assertions. Now Rubio has penned his own editorial for Politico and calls the story and "insult to the sacrifices my parents made to provide a better life for their children."
This is what we know for sure: Rubio's official senate bio did proclaim that his parents arrived in Florida after Fidel Castro came to power on New Year's Day in 1959. In fact, his parents did come to America two and half years earlier. What's up for debate is whether or not that fact is really central to Rubio's political identity, and whether that claim actually came from Rubio's lips.
The Herald's political writer Marc A. Caputo fired a shot at WaPo's story early this morning by claiming it was embellished.
So to suggest Rubio serially embellished the "dramatic" story of his parents fleeing Cuba could be a little too dramatic itself. And it might be an embellishment as well -- absent more information clearly showing Rubio has repeatedly said his parents fled Castro's Cuba.
Rubio's office has told both the Washinton Post, the St. Petersburg Times and The Miami Herald that his parents came to the United States prior to Castro taking power. And he has said it more than once. In the article we wrote last month about his pending autobiography, Rubio clearly told us his parents came here before Castro took power. He struggled to recall the year (this isn't in the story, it's in my notes) and said it was in "57 or 58 or 59."
When asked pointedly: Was it before the revolution? Rubio said it was before the revolution.
Rubio himself took to his own defense in Politico and claims that his understanding of his family's history was based on stories he's been told. Remember, it was about 15 years after his parents left Cuba until he was born.
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"If The Washington Post wants to criticize me for getting a few dates wrong, I accept that," the Senator wrote. "But to call into question the central and defining event of my parents' young lives - the fact that a brutal communist dictator took control of their homeland and they were never able to return - is something I will not tolerate."
Rubio then recounts his family's story as best he can, claiming that his parents thought about moving back to Cuba but ultimately decided to stay in America for good once Castro came to power and established himself as a dictator.
In other words, it's not quite such an outrageous and boldface lie as when Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff claimed he was the grandson of NBC founder David Sarnoff.