Marco Rubio -- the Tea Party's wunderkind, GOP's great not-too-white hope, and water's most awkward chugger -- had his moment in the national spotlight last night, delivering a rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union speech in both English and Spanish. The reviews are in, ranging from the Daily Beast's "winsome" to Maureen Dowd's "parched, sweaty and shaky."
But let's talk for a moment about his humbleboast, "I still live in the same working-class neighborhood I grew up in." Yes, that would be West Miami, where Rubio has been trying to sell that house for an un-working-class-like $675,000 so he can up and move his family to GODLESS ELITE DC.
- Marco Rubio, Tea Party Pretty-Boy
If Rubio's rebuttal had one central theme, it was America's middle-class and who knows what's best for them. In fact, he said the words "middle-class" 17 times during the rebuttal. His West Miami shout-out was central to his argument that, unlike a tax-and-spend liberal elite like Obama, Rubio and his party know how to help regular Joes. Here's what he said about his hood:
Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren't millionaires. They're retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They're workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They're immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy.
West Miami is, in fact, a fairly blue collar town, just west of tonier Coral Gables. But it's pretty brazen to put your residence there in a nationally televised speech when 1) you are actively trying to leave that working-class neighborhood and 2) you stand to make more than a half-million bucks by doing so.
Not to mention that Rubio only owns the home in question through a bit of political back-room dealing with a friendly supporter at a local bank. Let's revisit how Rubio got his West Miami dream pad (via New Times 2008 profile of Rubio):
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Rubio's questionable financial judgment re-emerged just two months after his September 2005 ceremony with Jeb Bush. Back then, he owned one home, a small ranch-style place in West Miami on SW 14th Street that he'd purchased in 2003 for $175,000.
In December 2005, he bought a new, larger house a few blocks away on SW 13th Street for $550,000; he took out a $495,000 mortgage.
The fishy part: A month after Rubio purchased the home, U.S. Century Bank reappraised the house at $735,000 and then offered him a new $135,000 home equity loan that the speaker gladly accepted. U.S. Century's board of directors included Sergio Pino -- a megadeveloper who allied with Rubio on a key vote against slot machines -- as well as GOP lobbyist Rodney Barreto and consultant Jose Cancela. Essentially, a bank controlled by supporters printed Rubio $135K out of thin air.
"It's very unusual to get a new equity line so quickly," says Michael Cannon, managing director of Integra Realty Resources in Miami. "The average person would never get a deal like that. He got it, clearly, because of his connections."
Even worse, Rubio never disclosed the line of credit. Confronted about the error, he laughed and told a Herald reporter he couldn't understand why it was a story.
Don't worry, though. If Rubio finds a buyer for his home, he won't abandon the Sunshine State. "If he can sell his home in Miami he would be able to afford to move his wife and kids to Washington during the school year and still own a home in Florida," spokesman Alex Conant tells the Daily Caller.
Presumably, that would be the Tallahassee home he co-owned with David Rivera -- the disgraced, defeated Congressman that Rubio has spent the past three years sprinting away from. Yes, the same house that embarrassingly went briefly into foreclosure in 2010 as Rubio was harping on themes of financial responsibility.