Marco Rubio is a good-looking, smooth-talking political animal. He side-stepped the dubious Time Magazine characterization of him as a “savior” deftly enough to put a lid on the jokesters of late night.
Because I prefer to hear both sides of just about any story, I stayed tuned for Rubio’s Republican answer to President Obama’s State of the Union address. He got off to an impressive start, learning from Michelle Bachmann’s mistakes and looking directly into the camera, which seemed to be inches from his boyish face.
The first time he reached to wipe the side of his face, I thought little of it. But the second, third and fourth times got me to thinking about how distracting those beads of sweat must have been for him, because they certainly were for me. I was pretty bored by the same old warmed-up GOP campaign rhetoric he was delivering by then and it was easy for me to stop listening and just keep worrying about that sweat pouring of the sides of Rubio’s face. I imagined one trickling into his eye before he could catch it, and wondered if her would squint through it while the salt stung his eye to tears.
Then came one of the most awkward moves I have ever seen on live television. I guess all that sweating had depleted Rubio’s supply of body fluids and his mouth was getting drier and drier. With that camera trained on his tonsils, there was really no suave way for him to reach the one item he needed to slake that thirst.
All of a sudden Rubio’s head slid down the center of the screen, then leaned diagonally , almost disappearing altogether. Was he fainting? WTH? Ah, there was the water bottle and the dainty attempt at taking a sip without the world audience noticing. The look on his face was hilarious, like a little kid who had just swiped a sip of Grandpa’s beer.
THEN, instead of just holding the bottle in his hand and out of camera range, he leaned once again over to wherever that bottle had been perched to replace it!
The Public Relations woman in me rolled her eyes heavenward. Whatever points Rubio scored at the beginning of the speech went flying out of the shot with that bottle. The Twittersphere lit up with joke after joke after joke.
@jamespoyser: "I don’t always drink water, but when I do, I prefer to be awkward. Stay thirsty my friends."
From Democratic strategist Paul Begala: "Marco Rubio, the man you want to have a desperate gulp of water with."
And from Marco Rubio himself?
Maybe this guy has the chops he’s going to need to “save” the Republicans from themselves. He has a sense of humor, something sorely lacking in the Stupid Party. Jindal's words, not mine.