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Will this man be the US President in 2012?

Last updated on: November 3, 2010 15:52 IST

Will this man be the US President in 2012?

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This is an historic moment for Republicans and Americans," said an emotionally charged Rebeca Trujillo, a Cuban immigrant, about the election of Republican candidate from Florida Marco Rubio to the Senate.

She, like several other Republicans gathered in Coral Gables, Miami, who Rediff.com spoke to, believed that Rubio was well on his way to bid for the White House in 2012 when President Barack Obama heads for re-election.

Riding on the back of youthful charisma, dynamism, energy and the ability to inspire confidence among Florida's voters, Republican candidate Marco Rubio got elected to the Senate on November 2.

Talking about Rubio's success, Trujillo said that "whatever Rubio says is the reflection of our country."

Reportage: Prasanna D Zore


Image: Marco Rubio
Photographs: Reuters
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Will this man be the US President in 2012?

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Rubio polled 49.3 per cent of the total votes in a three way contest and defeated his nearest rival and one-time fellow Republican Charlie Crist, an independent, who polled 29.3 per cent of the votes.

Democrat candidate for the Senate Kendrick Meek, as expected, stood a distant third with just 20 per cent of the total votes cast by Florida's voters.

Rubio, as soon as he began his victory speech, set the tone for the evening, indicating that he will not only have to represent those who voted for him but also millions of others who didn't but whose voice needs to be heard in the Senate.

He also struck an emotional chord by harping on his immigrant Cuban roots and the hard work that his parents had to put in to raise him.


Image: Rebeca Trujillo, a Rubio backer
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore
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Will this man be the US President in 2012?

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This evening, as soon as the results came in, Charlie Crist and Kendrik Meek gave us all a lesson in dignity," Rubio said at the beginning of his victory speech in front of an emotionally charged 500-strong gathering that cheered every word the newly-elected Senator spoke.

"They called me up to congratulate me on my victory," Rubio graciously said, indicating that he would try to build a consensus on divisive issues and put an end to three months of the bitter, below-the-belt election campaign.

Rubio was probably trying to convey that he was willing to put all that behind him. "As a Senator of the state, it becomes my duty to not only look after those who supported me but also those who did not," Rubio said during his speech.


Photographs: Reuters
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'Unlike Obama, he will deliver on his promises'

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He is faultless," said 68-year-old Jose Suarez who, like Rubio's father, had migrated to America to escape the suppressive regime in Cuba. "He is likeable, conservative, young, dynamic and energetic. He inspires hope and unlike Obama, he will deliver on his promises," Suarez said. He was confident that Rubio would run for President in 2012 and emerge victorious.

Suarez sported an American hat that read Pennsylvania Ave, where the White House is located.

In fact, Rubio was at his oratorical best as he took on his Democratic opponents without naming them.

Addressing his core constituency, he said he will never forget his roots. "Wherever I go I will always be the son of exiles," he said. However, he added that it was the greatness of his country of birth that despite being the son of Cuban exiles, America had given him a chance to become the Senator of Florida." Driving home his point Rubio -- whose father worked as a bartender and mother as a maid after they migrated to the US -- said stories like his were not unique.


Image: Hose Suarez
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore
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'We will not change'

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Just as I speak, the same story is possibly being repeated within a walking distance of where I am speaking, all across the state and all across the country," he said. "These are our stories. But our stories say more about our country than about us."

He made a fervent appeal to his voters to make the world a safer and better place to live in. "And that can happen," Rubio said, "when America is the strongest country in the world."

Without directly attacking Barack Obama and his inability to fulfil the expectations and hopes of the people that he had promised during his presidential election campaign, Rubio said that people 'change' when they go to Washington as elected representatives of the people.

"I understand that Washington is the place where you send people and they don't come back the same way we send them. It is a place that literally changes people and in a short period of time they forget why they even ran (for office). So tonight I ask you for your prayers for me and my family that we will not change. I have the obligation of knowing that I do not just represent those who voted for me today but the millions of Floridians who did not, but deserve to be represented in the Senate.


Image: Supporters cheer on Rubio on election night
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore
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