Here are a few things that are true about politics in Miami: People love to spread crazy rumors about their political opponents; some of our politicians do indeed have quite a few skeletons in their closest; some of them (though, thankfully not all) are incredibly good at covering things up.
So, the only thing surprising about Gawker's decision today to run with two unfounded rumors that Marco Rubio might have impregnated some ladies who weren't his wife is that they decided to run them at all.
Earlier today, BuzzFeed political writer McKay Coppins penned an article about the perpetual vetting of Marco Rubio as the possibility of his 2016 presidential bid nears. One strategist calls Rubio "the most vetted of the 2016ers," and Coppins runs down all the potential complications from Rubio's career past that could hurt him in a presidential run. It's nothing new to anyone whose been closely following Rubio's career: his connection to David Rivera, financial problems, the flap about whether his parents were true Cuban exiles, yadda, yadda, yadda. Though, Coppins says that nothing has really emerged as a "smoking gun" that could end Rubio's career.
Gawker editor John Cook though seems to think Coppins is writing his way around the existence of more bombastic rumors (though Coppins doesn't really directly hint at that much), and decided to print the rumors he's heard and has tried to pin down:
Rumor Number One: Marco Rubio slept with a Tallahassee lobbyist, got her pregnant, and she had an abortion.
Is this true? I have no idea. But I know that many reporters, both local and national, have attempted to run it down. I spoke to one of those reporters before the 2012 election, and he told me that "all parties" involved denied the story.
Rumor Number Two: Marco Rubio Has Fathered Two Children By a Woman Other Than His Wife.
Is this true? I have no idea. But I know that many Democratic operatives in Florida have heard this story, and believe it. I've spoken to at least three of them, who said it goes like this: Rubio, who is married to a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, has two children by another, different, former Miami Dolphins cheerleader. In the version of this rumor I heard, it's unclear whether these purported children were born before or after Rubio married his current wife. The children, the rumor goes, live in New York with their mother.
Interesting, rumor-mill stuff, and maybe it's worthwhile knowing what rumors are out there, but here's the thing about politics and even more true about politics in South Florida: there's crazy rumors out there about everyone.
I have no idea how many tips of this type that co-workers and I have received. Too many mistresses and secret children to count. Republican politicians raised by lesbian mothers. More than one "Cuban" politicians who may not even be fully Cuban. Prostitutes. Drug addictions. Wife beaters. And those are just the salacious ones.
Sometimes they're outright false. Sometimes they seems pretty plausible, but you can't nail it down 100 percent. Sometimes we occasionally prove it and run it.
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So there's nothing all that surprising about these rumors existing (and certain Rubio detractors sending reporters on wild goose chases trying to pin them down), but now a pretty sizable online outfit has directly printed the rumors.
It's unlikely anyone could even prove the first (unless the supposed lobbyist decided to come clean, which is unlikely), and the second case seems a little too outrageous to be true.
So we doubt any of this will hurt Rubio as long as they remain in rumor land. After all, if crazy rumors like this hurt politicians all that much just about no one would have a successful political career. Especially out of Miami.