WASHINGTON -- Last summer, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio quietly visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, and as he walked around, he probably felt the youthful optimism and maybe a shade of commonality.
The Florida Republican is on the brink of announcing a presidential campaign that would project the same transformational appeal as Kennedy, the youngest ever elected to the office at 43 and the first Catholic.
But for Rubio, who would be the first Hispanic and only 45, a more obvious and problematic comparison arises.
Like Barack Obama as a candidate, Rubio is a first-term senator who lacks sweeping accomplishments and is known as much as anything for his powerful rhetorical skill.
“For six years the right has told America we made a mistake hiring a one-term senator for president. So it is going to be awfully hard to say the GOP should nominate a one-term senator. That’s just the truth,” the widely-read conservative blogger Erick Erickson wrote recently.
Counters Rubio: “I’m a senator. I’m in my 40s, and I’m in my first term. I think that’s where the comparison ends.”
In an interview at his office on Capitol Hill last week, Rubio gave every sign he has decided to jump into the race, and an announcement could come next month.