Monday, April 9, 2012
Sen. Marco Rubio has every excuse to stay away from his old South Florida friend Rep. David Rivera.
Rivera is facing state and federal inquiries stemming from his conduct in the Florida Legislature, while Rubio is seeking to project a squeaky-clean image as he faces national scrutiny and tops the prospective GOP vice presidential list.
But Rubio is giving a full-throated endorsement to Rivera, raising money for him and defending a man who served with him in the trenches of Florida politics dating back to when they were young volunteers on Lincoln Diaz-Balart’s first House campaign in 1992.
Despite Rivera’s insistence that the allegations against him are “false” and that he has heard nothing from investigators, Rubio’s decision to embrace Rivera is a risk. If the inquiries pick up steam, Rubio’s name could be dragged into the headlines just as Mitt Romney is considering whether to put the freshman senator on the ticket. But if Rubio distances himself from Rivera, it could amount to an act of disloyalty to one of his closest confidants and fellow Cuban-American whom he rose with through the ranks of the Florida political establishment.