In case you missed it, the Washington Post published a Birther-style hit piece on Thursday accusing Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) of lying about when his parents moved from Cuba to Miami.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews invited the author, Manuel Roig-Franzia, to discuss his allegations on Friday's Hardball, and ended the segment by lauding over his guest, "You ought to get some kind of Pulitzer" (video follows with commentary):
I guess for Matthews all you need is to besmirch a rising young star in the Republican Party and you deserve a Pulitzer. Unfortunately, nowhere in this segment were the flaws in Roig-Franzia's article discussed.
As the Miami Herald reported Thursday:
But the top of the story suggests Rubio himself has given this "dramatic account:" that "he was the son of exiles, he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after 'a thug,' Fidel Castro, took power." (Update note: The story struck the word "dramatic").
However, the story doesn't cite one speech where Rubio actually said that.
To back up the lead, the Washington Post excerpts from a 2006 address in the Florida House where Rubio said “in January of 1959 a thug named Fidel Castro took power in Cuba and countless Cubans were forced to flee... Today your children and grandchildren are the secretary of commerce of the United States and multiple members of Congress...and soon, even speaker of the Florida House.”
The catch: If you listen to the speech, Rubio isn't just talking about those who specifically fled Cuba after Castro took power. He doesn't say that his parents fled Cuba. Instead, he was talking about "a community of exiles." That is: He was talking about all the Cubans who live in Miami.
Rubio's office has told both the Washinton Post, the St. Petersburg Times and The Miami Herald that his parents came to the United States prior to Castro taking power. And he has said it more than once. In the article we wrote last month about his pending autobiography, Rubio clearly told us his parents came here before Castro took power. He struggled to recall the year (this isn't in the story, it's in my notes) and said it was in "57 or 58 or 59."
When asked pointedly: Was it before the revolution? Rubio said it was before the revolution.
Not surprisingly, Matthews didn't grill his guest about any of these inconsistencies choosing instead to buy the entire story hook, line, and sinker as he praised the author.
The Hardball host also failed to mention that the information in the Post piece came from a Birther claiming Rubio isn't a natural born citizen.
I guess Matthews felt that wasn't important.
For his part, Rubio released a statement Thursday:
“To suggest my family’s story is embellished for political gain is outrageous. The dates I have given regarding my family’s history have always been based on my parents’ recollections of events that occurred over 55 years ago and which were relayed to me by them more than two decades after they happened. I was not made aware of the exact dates until very recently.
“What’s important is that the essential facts of my family’s story are completely accurate. My parents are from Cuba. After arriving in the United States, they had always hoped to one day return to Cuba if things improved and traveled there several times. In 1961, my mother and older siblings did in fact return to Cuba while my father stayed behind wrapping up the family’s matters in the U.S. After just a few weeks living there, she fully realized the true nature of the direction Castro was taking Cuba and returned to the United States one month later, never to return.
“They were exiled from the home country they tried to return to because they did not want to live under communism. That is an undisputed fact and to suggest otherwise is outrageous.”
If Rubio were a Democrat, this would have been good enough for Matthews.
But as the young, highly intelligent, charismatic Senator has a bright future in Republican politics, his response meant nothing to the Hardball host.
Quite the contrary, Matthews believes this controversy completely disqualifies Rubio from being either a vice presidential candidate next year or a presidential candidate in the future.
Pretty obvious how afraid liberals are of this extraordinary young man.