Thursday on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” USA TODAY’s Washington bureau chief Susan Page said The New York Times’ recent front-page stories criticizing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, for his driving record and finances are backfiring and making average Americans “identify” with the senator and his family.
Host Andrea Mitchell asked, “So that’s the question. How is it front page news? There is, Susan, there are issues about his backer and his debts, but the way — this treatment did certainly look like an opposition dump?”
Page replied, “I think a lot of Americans would identify with using money from his book advance to pay off his student loan, for instance, you know, the boat he bought. I think this does not seem unfamiliar to people in Florida that they want a fishing boat which cost, I think, $80,000, which is significant amount of money, but on the other hand, it’s not a super million dollar yacht.”
She continued, “In a way, you never want to be the subject of a negative story on the front page of a newspaper, but on the other hand, this is the kind of criticism or skeptical look that I think makes a lot of voters say, hey, I can see myself. This is not a rich guy who has inherited a lot of money from a famous family. This is a guy who is living the life of a lot of Americans.”
Mitchell added, “One of the details was four speeding tickets in 17 years. I think a lot of us could relate to that.”
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