GOP consultant Rick Wilson tweeted a critique of The New York Times on Friday morning: “So we've already reached the bottom of the oppo barrel, have we?” On their "First Draft" blog at 9:15 am, reporters Alan Rappeport and Steve Eder have reported that Sen. Marco Rubio and his wife Jeannette have 17 traffic citations between them over the last 18 years.
Mrs. Rubio was tagged for 13 out of the 17. Is this supposed to punish the Rubios when Hillary Clinton hasn’t driven a car during this entire 18-year period?
The Times wise-cracked at the end: “If Mr. Rubio is fortunate to make it as far as the White House, there will be many perks that come with the job. Chief among them, however, might be having a driver.”
But they made the four tickets for the Senator sound quite serious:
Mr. Rubio’s troubles behind the wheel predate his days in politics. In 1997, when he was cited for careless driving by a Florida Highway Patrol officer, he was fined and took voluntary driving classes. A dozen years later, in 2009, he was ticketed for speeding on a highway in Duval County and found himself back in driver improvement school.
Things got more complicated in 2011 when Mr. Rubio was alerted to the fact that his license was facing suspension after a traffic camera caught him failing to stop at a red light in his beige Buick. His lawyer, Alex Hanna, paid a $16 fee to delay the suspension and eventually it was dismissed.
“Senator Rubio’s license has always been in good standing,” Mr. Hanna said in a statement provided by Mr. Rubio’s campaign. “This matter was resolved by the court system and at no point was the license suspended by the D.M.V.”
And then, horrors! They decided to start contesting the tickets instead of paying them:
The Rubios have spent more than $1,000 paying traffic penalties over the years, but after Mr. Rubio was elected to the Senate in 2010 they took a different approach to handling their tickets.
Mr. Rubio hired Mr. Hanna, a Miami-based lawyer and donor, whose website sales pitch says, “Have you received a traffic ticket? Don’t pay it.” With Mr. Hanna’s help, Mr. Rubio’s last two citations were dismissed and seven of Ms. Rubio’s last eight were cleared.
They even displayed Hanna's Internet pitch: