Update: Marco Rubio announced on Fox News today that he will indeed make a presidential campaign announcement on April 13, but the Freedom Tower site is so far unconfirmed.
Like all the other GOP presidential candidates except for Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio hasn't officially announced that he's making a bid for the White House — even as he banks millions in fundraising and sets up sophisticated ground games from New Hampshire to Iowa.
But that could change next week; GOP insiders say Rubio is leaning toward making his presidential campaign official on April 13 and he wants to do it at the symbolic heart of Miami's Cuban-American exilio community: Downtown's Freedom Tower.
The Tampa Bay Times broke news of the potential announcement, noting that Rubio's already booked the space for an undisclosed event. Politico says GOP insiders confirm he wants to make the campaign official at the tower, though he's still weighing the timing to ensure maximum impact.
The Freedom Tower would certainly make symbolic sense for Rubio. He's always framed his campaign around his family's personal narrative: Fleeing despotic Cuba for greater freedom in the U.S. of A., and no building better represents that immigrant story than the tower, which became a kind of Cuban Ellis Island in the 50s as the federal government processed thousands of exiles there.
(Of course, Rubio tends to leave out the part of the narrative where his parents returned to Castro's island for a while before coming back to Miami again.)
But as long as the decision is still up in the air, Rubio should consider a few other spots for his announcement.
Braman Motors: OK, the car dealership might not have the same pizzaz as the photogenic Freedom Tower. But it would have the benefit of honesty. After all, billionaire owner Norman Braman is Rubio's most stalwart backer and national press have already singled him out as the single biggest factor behind Rubio's ability to mount a serious challenge on the GOP ticket. Also, Republicans love a good luxury ride.
His Tally House Co-Owned With David Rivera: Sure, Rubio's been trying for years now to distance himself from Rivera, his old buddy from the Florida capitol who lost his U.S. House seat amidst a landslide of state and federal ethics and criminal probes. But Rubio has been having a hell of a time unloading the house he and Rivera co-purchased as young legislators in Tallahassee. Think of the value jump when the home becomes the site of a historic presidential announcement — that $125,000 asking price will leap in no time.
His First Home In West Miami: The Republican narrative is all about bootstraps, starting-at-the-bottom and working your way to success, so what better way for Rubio to illustrate that tale than by announcing his campaign at the quaint home he bought in his native West Miami in 2003 for just $175,000. Why, just four years later, Rubio sold the pad for a cool $380,000 — just as Miami's real estate market was cooling. That's entrepreneurial spirit in action! (Of course, Rubio may want to leave out the fact that the house was bought by the mother of a prominent chiropractor who'd spent months successfully lobbying for Rubio's vote in favor of an insurance law change.)
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