Sen. Marco Rubio Passes The Daily Show Test

AP Photo
AP Photo

Sen. Marco Rubio continues his media blitz while promoting his new book, featuring an appearance on the Daily Show last night with Jon Stewart.

For a Republican, it’s an important test. Can you face an aggressive liberal host with an audience giving him the upper hand in an argument? Some Republicans succeed but others struggle.

Rubio arguably performed well on the show, earning some respect from the audience, and finished by earning some begrudging admiration from Stewart.

“You’re a Democrat. In your heart you’re a Democrat,” Stewart insisted after a discussion about government and conservatism. “You care about the things that have happened to you … so you have empathy and you understand it.”

“I think you misunderstand conservatism,” Rubio replied, arguing that conservatives care about people and want them to succeed.

Rubio also managed to earn respect from the audience with self deprecation, joking that his book cover was photoshopped and bantering with Stewart’s jokes about Florida.

At one point, Rubio earned chuckles from the audience with a joke, causing Stewart to react in mock horror.

“Shun him!!” he yelled at the audience.

As Stewart confronted him with a defense of government, Rubio successfully defended Republican skepticism about the system. Government had a role to play, Rubio argued, but crony capitalism had given big companies an unfair advantage.

At one point, Rubio referred to “Obamacare,” prompting Stewart to clarify that Obama’s health care bill was called the “Affordable Care Act.”

“In Florida we call it Obamacare,” Rubio quipped in response, pointing out that it was actually a bailout for insurance companies.

“Listen, I agree with you on that, it’s certainly a boon for the insurance industry, no question about that, I think you’re right.” Stewart admitted.