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Marco Rubio's a punch line now, but joke could be on Democrats in 2016

It’s official: Marco Rubio is a national punch line.

After the Florida senator’s weird decision to interrupt his Tuesday rebuttal of the president’s State of the Union speech by taking a swig from a bottle of water, he was quickly mocked on The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Late Show with David Letterman.

Four days later, Saturday Night Live worked him over.

But none of it means Rubio’s a joke.

His recovery from the gaffe has been serious business, a clear-eyed example of protecting a political brand as Rubio eyes a White House bid in four years.

Rubio quickly joined the chorus of mockers Tuesday night by poking fun at himself on Twitter. He posted a picture of the Poland Spring water bottle he grabbed. He then fund-raised off it.

The coverage and mockery perversely benefitted Rubio in another respect: It drew attention away from a speech that, in the eyes of liberals, deserved to be torn apart for misrepresenting the president’s record as well as Rubio’s.

“Don’t worry, Sen. Rubio, nobody noticed — that you gave a speech,” comedian Stephen Colbert joked Wednesday after devoting more than 40 percent of his almost half-hour show to Rubio’s water break.

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