The most-serious and honest political discussion didn't happen under the official Republican National Convention banner.
It occurred just up the street, where Florida Sen. Marco Rubio joined Jon Stewart in Tampa on The Daily Show. Laced with humor and all-too short, the back-and-forth showed why Stewart is one of the best interviewers in the business and why Rubio is probably his party's best standard bearer.
The two also seem to genuinely like each other. And Rubio should be particularly happy about that. He wasn't picked to be the RNC's keynote speaker (NJ Gov. Chris Christie was), but the Daily Show broadcast is sure to be watched by as many, if not more, people than those who see Christie's speech.
Here's some of the banter that happened in the web-only broadcast:
On taking the stimulus:
Rubio: "The bottom line is ultimately the state is going to do what’s in the best interest of the state
"I was not a fan of the stimulus a) because it was borrowed money and I didn’t think the rate of return on it was good enough. We now owe $800 billion for it and really didn’t get any economic growth as a result of it, certainly not the kind of economic growth that we’re looking for."
Stewart: "But it got you some..."
Rubio: "But not the kind that you would have thought for $800 billion." A third of it was tax incentives and tax cuts. Florida had the battery plant, the SAFT. "Do you know that one, SAFT?"
Rubio: "I’m not familiar with it.."
Stewart: "Well, I read the Florida papers.."
Rubio: "I only read the accurate ones…"