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Politics, Poland Spring and Sen. Marco Rubio - reactions to speech from around the Web

Sen. Marco Rubio delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
Here's a roundup of stories-reactions to Sen. Marco Rubio's speech - from the serious to the not so serious (yes, the water bottle sip became a story)

Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a forceful argument for the Republican agenda for the middle class Tuesday night, contrasting his party’s vision for economic prosperity with President Barack Obama’s call for a more robust federal government.
In his bilingual response to the State of the Union address, infused with personal anecdotes as a child of immigrants, Rubio depicted the GOP as the party who would best advocate for a free-enterprise economy, generate economic growth and ultimately lift the middle class.
“Presidents in both parties – from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan – have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity,” Rubio said in his response, at times delivered cautiously and interrupted once for a drink of water. “But President Obama? He believes it’s the cause of our problems.”
While Obama touted his view of a “smarter government” to work on behalf of the middle class, Rubio repeatedly drove the message that the president wanted to expand the presence of the federal government in people’s lives — much to the nation’s detriment, the senator argued.
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From the Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address included an impromptu water break to quench his thirst.
Rubio appeared to wipe away sweat during his rebuttal from the Speaker's conference room in the U.S. Capitol shortly after Obama's address. At one point, Rubio reached out with his left hand and took a quick swig of water from a small Poland Spring water bottle.
The brief sip of water lit up social media outlets such as Twitter, with people commenting on Rubio's thirst.
Garrett Jackson, Mitt Romney's personal aide during his 2012 presidential bid, tweeted that he "would have had that water bottle closer, had it been the Gov. Haha. Marco needs an aide."
Rubio tweeted a photo of the water bottle.

From McClatchy Newspapers DC Bureau
WASHINGTON - In English and Spanish, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday night delivered a scathing rebuke of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, signaling a Republican battle for middle-class voters that could help re-energize his party and also propel a potential 2016 White House run.
The Florida senator delivered his party’s official rebuttal to Obama’s speech, but he wasn’t the only Republican responding Tuesday night. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, another potential Republican presidential contender, responded to Obama’s talk on behalf of the tea party.
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The Washington Post
Republicans chose Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a fresh new face of the party, to respond to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
But if the messenger was new, the message Rubio offered was back-to-basics, a re-commitment of the party to traditional conservative notions of economic growth.
He argued low taxes, limited regulations and smaller government would free the economy from the shackles of big government he contended Obama offered in his own address.
But the Florida senator offered a new laser focus on how such ideas could boost the middle class and improve the lives of individual people, part of a new Republican effort to more clearly connect their visions with the everyday problems of ordinary Americans.

New York Times Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal
In his speech, Mr. Rubio followed the Republican rebranding strategy by rephrasing the party’s grand old policies without offering any new ideas. He did a pretty good job sounding like he learned the lessons of 2012.
Mr. Rubio declared that he was particularly concerned about seniors who depend on Medicare, like his mother, and that “anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare exactly the way it is right now, is in favor of bankrupting it.”
Funny Mr. Rubio should say that, because on Tuesday night, Mr. Obama argued that we can’t leave Medicare as is: “Those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms.”

New York Time Political Reporter Jeff Zeleny
The Republican response by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is now competing with chatter about his awkward sip of water during the middle of his speech, but his pointed message about which party treats the middle class better could be the ultimate takeaway.
“The idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle class taxpayers – that’s an old idea that’s failed every time it’s been tried,” said Mr. Rubio, who made at least 16 references to the middle class during his remarks.
Mr. Rubio kept a sharp focus on President Obama. It was one of many signs throughout the evening that Republicans are still intently fixated on criticizing the president above anything else. He used the speech – one of his biggest steps yet on the national stage – to introduce himself and his own upbringing.

From National Public Radio
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio drew on his own humble beginnings and the continuing struggles of his West Miami neighbors — many of them immigrants like his Cuban-born parents — in the Republican response Tuesday to President Obama's State of the Union address.
In a speech delivered from the Speaker's Conference Room in the U.S. Capitol, Rubio strove mightily, and somewhat nervously, to transform the perception — cemented during last year's presidential race — that his party's embrace excludes those who aren't rich and white to one that has middle-class interests at heart.

Best of Twitter

Rubio: I don't always drink water, but when I do, it's only during my State of the Union rebuttal. Stay thirsty my friends #watergate

And if you missed the Water-gate moment, click here