This, in part, is how Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio was introduced at a luncheon for the Latin Builders Association in Miami Friday:
"I think maybe, one day, maybe, he'll be the first Cuban-American president of the United States!" said Noelia Moreno, president of the LBA. (And she was not referring to a GOP presidential straw poll earlier this month that included Rubio.)
The former House speaker was among friends -- about 350 of them -- at a ballroom at the Big Five Club, where the crowd gave a warm reception to a candidate considered one of their own. In giving his usual stump speech, Rubio also took time to praise his friends, saying only his relatives and "a handful of people in this room" thought a year ago that he could win the Senate race.
"Are you running to be somebody? Or are you running to do something?" he said, adding that if he were running to be somebody, he would have picked an easier contest. (Rubio has used this line before, but it still got laughs.)
Before and after the speech, Rubio took some questions from reporters, including several regarding his expenses using a Republican Party of Florida credit card -- though he did not directly address a report about spending on kitchen flooring.
"We’ve been answering questions about this for six months," Rubio said. "I’ve said it over and over again. The answer’s the same as it’s always been. Any time there was anything on there that was personal in nature, I identified it immediately, we paid for it out of my personal funds."
And when a PBS reporter asked him about the presidency, Rubio smiled and brushed off the question, saying he looks forward to serving the public and then returning to Miami to be successful in another field.