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DC's Rubio round-robin: Jay Carney whacks Marco Rubio who whacks Janet Napolitano


Another busy day for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Just hours after his State of the Union rebuttal swamped Twitter late Tuesday, Rubio did the media rounds Wednesday morning, poked fun at himself and slipped in some policy. Then White House spokesman Jay Carney criticized him. And then he criticized Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano during an afternoon hearing.

From The Miami Herald's DC bureau's Anita Kumar:

White House spoksman Jay Carney said Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who delivered the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night, sounded familar. 

"While the messenger may have changed, the message we heard last night from the Republican speaker was entirely consistent with the policy ideas that Mitt Romney campaigned on last year that the American people did not support," Carney said. "This was not a focus of his address last night, but I know -- and the president is aware of the fact that Senator Rubio wants to play and is playing an important role in an effort to achieve bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform. But aside from that, if you look at the remarks by Senator Rubio last night, they could have been delivered by Governor Romney in their policy essence."

Meanwhile, you will not be surprised to know that Carney said White House officials "believe the speech went off very well and has been received very well."

Obama outlined a second-term agenda Tuesday night with proposals designed to create jobs, expand the middle class and spur financial growth.

"I think what the president was saying last night is we need to move forward on an agenda that builds the middle class; that produces not a bigger government but a smarter government; and that grows the economy while reducing our deficit in a way that's fair, that doesn't ask senior citizens or middle-class families sending their kids to college, or parents with disabled children to bear the burden solely of reducing our deficit," Carney saud. "That's an approach that doesn't just have the president's support or the Democratic Party's support, or even support of independents, which it does. It has support among Republicans out in the real world, and it has support of numerous Republican former elected officials who have led or served on bipartisan commissions who have looked at deficit reduction."

From The Tampa Bay Times Alex Leary:

A Senate committee took on immigration reform for the first time today and battle lines quickly formed, with Republicans insisting border security must be the first priority and a top Obama official countering that the border has never been more secure.

"Too often the border security refrain simply serves as an excuse," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

That brought a response from Sen. Marco Rubio, who is helping craft the immigration legislation -- and walking a fine line between the conservative base and the GOP's desire to find a solution to the issue.

“If we are going to pass bipartisan immigration reform this year, the Administration must accept the principle that security triggers must be met before anyone who is currently undocumented is allowed to apply for a green card," Rubio said in a statement. "This is a principle agreed to by the bipartisan group of senators I am working with and it is something that must be included in any legislative proposal if it is to be successful. Secretary Napolitano’s refusal to accept this bipartisan principle at today’s Senate hearing is discouraging for those of us who are serious about permanently fixing America’s immigration system. By continuing to oppose a key security principle with bipartisan backing, Secretary Napolitano and this Administration appear to be laying the groundwork to scuttle the bipartisan effort in the Senate.”