Sen. Marco Rubio just gave us a call to explain why he was so offended with a recent Washington Post story that said he "embellished" the story of his parents arrival. Rubio repeatedly has given different dates, often 1959. They came in 1956 first (before the Castro revolution). Rubio said his error was just a mistake based on an oral history that dates back half a century.
A partial transcript:
"The essence of the story was not the date. Without any research or any backing, he asserts there’s a functional difference. What’s the essence of my story is how I’m the child of immigrants and the child of exiles and how that led me to reach to political conclusions and led me to politics and to succeed.
"It was very painful to them. The exile experience was painful. The inability of my dad to take to place he used to play baseball. He was never able to see his two brothers before they died. My mom was never able to take us to the place where she met my dad, or where they got married. The things that people do with their kids they were never able to do because the place was off limits to them. It was just a deep part of their psyche. They couldn’t believe Cuba had become a Communist country. Never in their wildest nightmares did they think it would become part of the Soviet bloc or that the revolution would outlive my dad.
"I didn’t lie about the date. I wasn’t aware of it. (The inaccurate date on his Senate bio)
"It’s irrelevant to the central narrative. The date doesn’t really add anything. It doesn’t embellish anything. The date is less relevant than the experience, the experience of people who came here to make a better life and who could never go back.
"(The Washington Post) is acting like how I gave a story that my parents were political prisoners and that my dad sneaked out on a rubber boat and fought in the Bay of Pigs. I never said any of that stuff. The date, yeah, I got it wrong. But my broader point is the date doesn’t add anything to the story. The story is why they came and the fact they stayed.
"They came because they’d have chances to do things they couldn’t do in Cuba. It was both economic and political. After the revolution, like millions of people, they hoped it would bring change. But in 1961, when my mom went back, she returned after a few weeks. It was just before the Bay of Pigs.
"My parents immigrated legally to this country, though the existing legal immigration process. My parents came with immigration visas. I’m a big fan of legal immigration. That’s how my parents entered the US, not through the Cuban Adjustment. Not through some special exemption."