First Mention: Marco Rubio Campaigns For Bob Dole The "First Mention" feature tackles presidential politics as we reveal that Marco Rubio was first heard on NPR campaigning for Robert Dole in 1996.

First Mention: Marco Rubio Campaigns For Bob Dole

First Mention: Marco Rubio Campaigns For Bob Dole

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The "First Mention" feature tackles presidential politics as we reveal that Marco Rubio was first heard on NPR campaigning for Robert Dole in 1996.


OK. Now we're going to dig into the NPR archives for a feature that we call - here it comes.



MCEVERS: First Mention - it's when we look for the first time NPR talked about an idea, a thing or, in today's case, a presidential candidate. And this one today is Marco Rubio.


Picture it - MORNING EDITION, November 4, 1996. It was the last day of campaigning before the presidential election between incumbent Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican Bob Dole. NPR's Cheryl Duvall was talking to volunteers and campaign staffers in Florida.


CHERYL DUVALL, BYLINE: Twenty-five-year-old Marco Rubio, a statewide coordinator for Dole, says the final hours before the election are no time to slow down.

MARCO RUBIO: It's important to get people excited about the political process and understand the importance of their vote, and so things such as street rallies and caravans play into that. They get people excited and make them feel part of something. And maybe someone who wasn't going to vote who hasn't even been interested or paying attention because they were watching the World Series or something on television goes out on Monday morning and sees a caravan or a street rally and is reminded of the importance of voting and gets excited about our candidate and decides, I'm going to take a couple of minutes out of my day and go vote tomorrow.

MCEVERS: That was 25-year-old Marco Rubio getting out the vote in 1996. In the end, he wasn't able to get enough people excited to vote for Bob Dole. Bill Clinton won Florida by about six points.

SHAPIRO: Thirteen years later, Marco Rubio was launching his own first campaign for federal office. Our co-host Robert Siegel went to the cul-de-sac in West Miami where Rubio lived. They sat down together on Rubio's living room couch.


RUBIO: All right.


RUBIO: Thank you.

SIEGEL: And we're down from Washington. I want you to identify yourself by name and every other way.

RUBIO: I'm Marco Rubio. I'm a candidate for United States Senate, and this is October 17 - is that right? - 19?

SIEGEL: It's the 19th already.

RUBIO: Nineteenth of October of the year 2009.

SIEGEL: How do we describe exactly where we are?

RUBIO: You're in West Miami, Fla., which is a small city surrounded by a big city. Five thousand people live in this city. It's where my parents came when we moved back here from Las Vegas in 1985. In fact, I grew up within walking distance basically two blocks away from this very place.

SHAPIRO: That was Mark Rubio, Florida senator and now presidential candidate, back in October 2009.

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