William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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RUBIO SPEAKS – AT 10:58 A.M. ET:  Only eight senators voted against yesterday's "Perils of Pauline" agreement, stopping the locomotive before it hits the girl tied to the tracks.  One of them was Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.  Because he is high on the list of potential presidential candidates for 2016, we note Rubio's explanation

It could be considered the first vote of the 2016 presidential primary, and Sen. Marco Rubio defied most of his party by voting against the "fiscal cliff" deal GOP leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joseph R. Biden struck.

Mr. Rubio was one of just eight senators to vote against the legislation, which cleared in an easy 89-8 vote just after 2 a.m. on New Year's Day.

The Florida Republican is seen as a leading contender for his party's presidential nomination in four years.
In a statement Tuesday morning, he praised Mr. McConnell for striking the deal, but said the agreement failed to get the job done.

"Thousands of small businesses, not just the wealthy, will now be forced to decide how they'll pay this new tax and, chances are, they'll do it by firing employees, cutting back their hours and benefits, or postponing the new hire they were looking to make," he said. "And to make matters worse, it does nothing to bring our dangerous debt under control."

COMMENT:  Clearly, Rubio voted with 2016 in mind.  If things go well with this legislation, he can say he was merely trying to make it better.  If they go poorly, he can say he stood up against the tide and was proved right.  A no-lose situation.

I like Rubio.  He's smart, he's articulate, and he's not afraid to practice the fine art of combative politics.  Unlike many other leading Republicans, he also has a beating pulse.

January 1, 2013