Every morning the Washington Post sends out an email with links to its featured stories of the day. Today, the Post’s number one story was: Does Rubio Have a Spending Problem? The factual basis for the Post’s article was that according to his financial disclosure forms, Marco Rubio has withdrawn $68,000 from a retirement account:
Marco Rubio made $174,000 as a U.S. senator last year. He earned $52,000 from book royalties and a university teaching position, and at least $5,000 more from rental property.
And yet, the 43-year-old Florida Republican also made what is typically viewed as a desperate financial maneuver — cashing out nearly $70,000 in retirement funds.
As Rubio runs for president, newly disclosed personal finance details have drawn fresh attention to a long-running problem during his political career: his struggles with money.
Yes it’s true: Rubio isn’t rich, like Hillary Clinton and so many others in politics. He has made his money honestly, practicing law, earning a salary from public service and publishing a couple of books. No $300,000 speaking fees for Marco. And unlike Harry Reid, he hasn’t gotten wealthy on corrupt real estate deals. Somehow, the Post spins this into a negative.
In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Rubio said that he needed “access to cash” for personal expenses and in anticipation of running for president. He said he has at least two other active retirement accounts.
“My refrigerator broke down,” Rubio said. “That was $3,000. I had to replace the air-conditioning unit in our home. My kids all go to school, and they are getting closer to college, and school’s getting more expensive.”
If Rubio were a Democrat, the Post would say that, unlike the plutocrats in the race, he understands the struggles of the average American–or, at least, the average prosperous American. Which is a lot more than you can say for Hillary Clinton.
Rubio and his wife, Jeanette, have four children in private schools. In total, they pay about $40,000 in tuition per school year.
Florida Democratic strategist Christian Ulvert said Rubio’s explanation could be politically problematic.
“Most average Americans are not buying a $3,000 refrigerator,” he said. “Most families don’t have the luxury of sending their kids to private schools.”
The hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Can you name a Democratic presidential contender whose children attend, or attended, public schools? Has the Post ever criticized Barack Obama for sending his daughters to Sidwell Friends, which costs far more than $10,000 per student? Of course not.
In the context of what we now know about the Clintons, this is almost unbelievable:
Rubio’s close relationship with billionaire businessman and philanthropist Norman Braman, a longtime backer, highlights another unorthodox element of his family’s finances.
Rubio’s wife owns an event-planning business that does work for the Braman Family Foundation. Her business was valued at between $15,001 and $50,000, according to Marco Rubio’s latest financial disclosure. His campaign said her revenue came exclusively from her work for the Braman foundation.
Between $15,001 and $50,000? That’s not even a rounding error for the Clinton Foundation. But that’s different, of course: Hillary is a Democrat.
Brace yourself. We will be seeing hit pieces like this on the Republican contenders on a daily basis, from now until November 2016.