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Excerpt: "An American Son: A Memoir" by Marco Rubio

Excerpt: "An American Son: A Memoir" by Marco Rubio

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Published by wamu885
Excerpted from AN AMERICAN SON: A MEMOIR by Marco Rubio by arrangement with Sentinel, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright (c) Marco Rubio, 2012.
Excerpted from AN AMERICAN SON: A MEMOIR by Marco Rubio by arrangement with Sentinel, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright (c) Marco Rubio, 2012.

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Published by: wamu885 on Jul 17, 2012
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CHAPTER 1
November 2, 2010
W
E’RE CALLING IT FOR YOU.
At exactly eight p.m. eastern time, Brendan Farrington, anAssociated Press reporter, turned to me and spoke those words.Seconds later, the AP report fashed simultaneously on multiple televi-sion screens. Fox News called the election as well, conrming the consen-sus that I would be the new senator rom Florida. Aer all these years o watching elections, it elt a little surreal to see my name with the words“projected winner” underneath my picture. But there it was right in ronto me: “Projected Winner: Marco Rubio.”Te next ew minutes were a blur. I shook some hands. I kissed my wie, Jeanette, and was whisked away to a separate room to eld phonecalls. Te entire day—the entire two years o my lie beore that night—culminated in a furry o congratulations, handshakes and hugs. In themidst o the celebration, I elt a tug on my jacket and saw my eight-year-olddaughter, Daniella, looking up at me. “Daddy, did you win?” she asked.“Yeah, I won,” I answered. “No one told me,” she complained as I bent tohold her in my arms.My amily later told me I had seemed like someone else. Te manbounding up the steps to the stage, grinning and waving rom the podium,was attentive and expansive. Tat man, the gregarious public man, didn’tappear in their company very oen. He didn’t live at our house.
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2 AN AMERICAN SON
Te husband, ather and brother they knew had been a remote gure intheir lives over the last two years, a tired and distracted candidate who camehome only to seek relie rom the pressures o a demanding campaign. Teperect strangers whose votes I hoped to earn, who shook my hand and toldme about their lives, got the best part o me. My amily got what I had le,which wasn’t much. In the intimacy o amily lie, I was quiet and with-drawn, and resisted attempts to pull me into conversations about the cam-paign, although my mind rarely concentrated on anything else.I had imagined election night many times during the campaign, ongood days and harder ones. I had pictured all o it: the people, the place, thesounds, the shared eelings o pride, relie, exhilaration. Even on days whenI did not believe it would happen, on a long drive home rom a und-raiserwhere we had collected a ew hundred dollars or aer another poll had methirty points behind the sitting governor o my own party, I would envisionthis night or encouragement. I would put on my iPod earphones, listen tomy guilty pleasure, hip-hop, close my eyes and see it. And here it was, atlast, no more vivid in reality than it had been in my imagination.We were at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. I had grown up lessthan two miles rom the Mediterranean-style landmark nestled betweenlarge banyan trees and lush gol courses. We live a short drive rom it today.Te Biltmore had once boasted the world’s largest swimming pool. Tehotel had been the tallest structure in Florida when it opened in 1926, and inits long and colorul history it has welcomed as guests royalty and moviestars, politicians and mobsters. A amous gangster had been murdered there.My high school riends and I had snuck onto the resort’s gol course atnight; its gazebos oered the perect hiding spot or underage beer drink-ing. When I practiced law, I would meet clients or breakast or lunch in itsground-foor caé. As a city commissioner and later a state legislator, I at-tended dozens o und-raisers and other political events in its suites andballrooms. And in November o 2006, as the incoming speaker o the Flor-ida House, I had waited or election results in there. Jeanette and I had beenmarried two blocks rom the Biltmore and had spent our wedding night ina room on the seventh foor. Tere isn’t another place in the world I wouldrather have held what I expected would be my victory celebration.I had good reason to be condent. Every recent public poll conrmedthat I held a commanding lead. Our own tracking polls oered as good or
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NOVEMBER 2, 2010 3
better news. Te Republican turnout in absentee ballots and early votinghad given me a comortable cushion. But as the day progressed, I couldn’tshake the uneasy eeling the race would be closer than expected and Imight end up on the wrong side o a historic upset.In the open-air courtyard on the west side o the hotel, workers set upan elevated stage and placed a podium in the center, in ront o a row o American and Florida state fags. Family, riends, supporters and specta-tors congregated in the courtyard throughout the aernoon and into theevening. Behind them stood a large riser or television cameras and mediacrews rom around the country and the world, providing an unrestricted view o the podium where I would deliver my speech.On the ground foor beneath the ballroom, campaign sta gathered inan improvised war room. Tey stared at laptops and television screens,worked their phones and chatted nervously about the weather and turnoutin this or that county.Around hal past six in the evening, my twenty-our-year-old nephew  Orlando, or Landy as we call him, picked us up in a rented minivan anddrove us to the Biltmore. As soon as we arrived I was briskly escorted to thewar room, where aides were still sitting in ront o their laptops and hold-ing their phones, waiting or news o nal turnout numbers. Numeroustelevisions sat in the middle o the room tuned to the broadcast and cablenetworks that would soon begin reporting election results. Most polls inFlorida close at seven p.m. eastern time, except in the Panhandle, which isin the central time zone. Te polls there close an hour later, so the mediarerains rom projecting winners until then.A little beore eight o’clock, Brendan Farrington took a phone call. Iknew rom the look on his ace it was important. Over a year earlier, Bren-dan had traveled with me on a campaign swing through the Panhandle.We were halway through the rst day’s drive when a source called to tellhim I was about to drop out o the Senate race.I had all but convinced mysel to quit. I had discussed getting out withseveral people whose discretion I trusted. I was badly trailing GovernorCrist in popular support and und-raising. Even i I were to get a little trac-tion eventually and start to close the gap in the polls, he would have raisedmore than enough money to bury me in negative advertising, and I wouldn’thave anywhere near enough to respond. I eared he would so tarnish my 
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