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Marco Rubio: National Review's coverboy

Republican Senate contender Marco Rubio makes the Sept. 7 cover of the conservative National Review with a story that suggests his bid against Gov. Charlie Crist  "could become the sleeper race of 2010.

"Among Republicans who are familiar with both candidates, Crist’s lead (in a recent Mason-Dixon poll) slips to statistical insignificance," the article says. "It’s basically a dead heat. 'I’m not a kamikaze,' says Rubio. 'At this time next year, you’re going to be analyzing a very different race.' For that prediction to come true, conservatives in Florida and around the country will have to turn Rubio’s candidacy into a cause."

Noting that Jeb Bush is staying on the sidelines, it quotes the former governor on the boyish wonder: “He’s got all the tools. He’s charismatic and has the right principles.” It also quotes Al Cardenas saying nice things about Rubio, but doesn't mention that Cardenas has endorsed Crist.

Here's some selections from "Rubio Rising. The Florida GOP has a new star" by John J. Miller:

Florida governor Charlie Crist is running for the Senate, and he isn’t supposed to lose -- let alone lose in the Republican primary. He enjoys a high approval rating, has a history of success among voters, and raises campaign cash with the intensity of a Category 5 hurricane. His main opponent in the GOP primary is Marco Rubio, a 38-year-old Miami native who quotes Snoop Dogg lyrics on his Twitter account. On paper, it looks like a mismatch between an unbeatable juggernaut and a doomed also-ran....

.... Early on, Rubio began to dabble in politics. He interned for Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and later coordinated the Dole-Kemp campaign in Miami–Dade County. “That was a tough assignment, but Marco was passionate,” says Al Cardenas, a former chair of the Florida GOP. “He had good people skills and helped the volunteers keep their spirits up. That’s when I first thought he might be going places.”.....

 ....As a young legislator, Rubio caught the eye of his elders. “He’s got all the tools,” says Jeb Bush, the former governor. “He’s charismatic and has the right principles.” ....

...But he’s gone about as viral as any state legislator can hope to go without setting his pants on fire. More recently, he has taken advantage of Twitter. He comments on everything from the state of his campaign to how long it takes his wife to get ready for a night out....

 ... Interestingly, Jeb Bush has remained quiet, fueling speculation that he might back Rubio if the race is close next summer. His son, Jeb Bush Jr., is a confirmed Rubio supporter. That Rubio is of Cuban ancestry doesn’t hurt, either. “Finding Latino stars in the Republican party is a big deal,” says Mike Murphy, a GOP political consultant and Rubio donor. “I don’t want to pigeonhole him -- I’d like him if he was Scandinavian -- but it’s a plus.”..