Marco Rubio is one of the more interesting candidates being vetted for Mitt Romney’s running mate. Many politicos say it’s just not Rubio’s time to shine. As a junior United States Senator from Florida, he’s just barely dipped his toe in the political landscape of Washington after spending nearly a decade in the Florida House of Representatives. Romney is likely to pick someone with more entrenched experience, although few carry as much “star power” as Marco Rubio. Here are some very interesting facts about this Veep Contender…
1. Marco Rubio is one of the least wealthy members of the Senate.
Few people understand the pain of student loans more than Marco Rubio, whose net worth is – $400,000, thanks to the student loans he’s still paying off and the rather sizable mortgage on his home.
2. His first job was to build exotic bird cages.
Marco worked for his brother-in-law’s company.
3. He’s Catholic, but was baptized in the Mormon faith when he was 8.
Rubio explains that his mother had been looking for a “wholesome environment” to raise her family and was “a big admirer” of the family-friendly atmosphere at the LDS Church. After four years, 12-year-old Rubio says he “started feeling called back to the Catholic Church.” It was “just a calling” that he’s had twice in his lifetime, he adds.
4. He wore leg braces as a kid, but became a football star.
“As a young child, I wore braces on my legs to correct a knee problem,’ Rubio wrote in a letter after the death of his father in 2010. “I hated to wear them. So my dad would call from work and pretend to be Don Shula telling me I needed to wear them if I wanted to play for the Dolphins. I always wondered why Shula had a Cuban accent on the phone but not on TV!” Later, he received a football scholarship to Tarkio University in Missouri. (He attended the school for a year, transferred to Santa Fe Community College, and eventually graduated from the University of Florida).
5. Sometimes his fanatic love for sports gets in the way of work.
Once he skipped an important vote — touted by some as “one of the most important in Florida history” — to watch the Marlins play in the World Series. He also says the coolest thing he’s done in his political career was to “catch passes from Dan Marino and Tim Tebow.”
6. He hates Disco, but loves hip-hop.
He describes the 1970s as “a very frightening time” when “we had to overcome disco and bell bottoms and the Bee Gees.” Rubio’s first concert was Prince — with his future wife / then-girlfriend Jeanette Dousdebes. He loves Nicki Minaj. On long campaign trail car rides, “Rubio liked to blast hip-hop on the stereo, Snoop Dogg and other edgy rappers,” according to The Rise of Marco Rubio. “You know, I get in trouble when I talk about that a little bit, because maybe I shouldn’t listen to that any more, but the music is good,” Rubio later said. “[You've] just got to sometimes ignore what their politics may be and just enjoy the music,” he added.
7. His wife, Jeanette, is a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader.
Did you know another Veep contender, Bob McDonnell, married a former Washington Redskins cheerleader? Well, Jeanette also has the street cred of being featured in the team’s first swimsuit calendar in 1997. “I always wanted to be an NFL player,” Marco Rubio said in an interview with Politico. “Now I’m going to have to tell my kids that the only one of her two parents that ever touched an NFL field was her mom.” During his race for the Florida legislature, his opponent started a rumor that he was gay. He fretted about it for a time and finally decided to distribute photos of his attractive, then-pregnant wife — thus squelching the rumors for good.
8. His favorite movies are Pulp Fiction, Wedding Crashers and the Godfather trilogy.
Yet Couples Retreat should be on the list, since his brother-in-law, Carlos Ponce, played the speedo-clad yoga instructor in the film! Rubio is also a huge fan of the movie Braveheart. After watching this Senate campaign video for the first time, he emailed a campaign staffer and said:
Man, let me tell you guys something. I just ran this on my computer and three things happened. 1. I got chills. 2. My wife and children painted themselves up in blue face like Braveheart. 3. I went to the closet and got out my costume from Gladiator and I could hear the crowd chant: ‘Maximus! Maximus!’
9. He teaches political science at Florida International University.
On Mondays and Fridays, “Professor Rubio” can be found teaching political science at Florida International University. Yes, he’s the “cool professor.” He doesn’t get into Senate gossip, although he does love to tell the story of the time he saw Bill Clinton jogging to get his McMuffin. He also likes to relate to students on a level they can understand and remember. “It’s almost like The Hangover,” he said of the boom-to-bust cycle of the economy. “It was a big, wild spending spree and then all of a sudden you realize it’s 5 a.m. and it’s like, ‘Man, I’ve got to go to work tomorrow.’ ” (Check out this article about the Marco Rubio classroom here.)
10. His favorite possession is a mystical sword named “Chang.”
When Rubio became Speaker of the Florida House in 2005, Jeb Bush gave him this special gift. Bush told the audience “the sword belonged to ‘a great conservative warrior named Chang.’” He went on to explain, “Chang is somebody who believes in conservative principles, believes in entrepreneurial capitalism, believes in moral values that underpin a free society… I rely on Chang with great regularity in my public life. He has been by my side and sometimes I let him down. But Chang, this mystical warrior, has never let me down.’” In reality, the sword was just some cheap relic purchased off the Internet by Bush aides, but Rubio hangs it in a place of honor in his office as a symbol of “his deep bond with a son and brother of presidents.”