An American Son: A Memoir

Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a stinging indictment of President Barack Obama on the final night of the 2012 Republican National Convention, declaring that Obama isn’t a bad person, just a bad commander-in-chief.

Giving what was arguably his biggest-ever speech—the all-important prelude slot leading to Mitt Romney’s acceptance address for the GOP presidential nomination—Rubio said the past few years under Obama have driven America backward, not forward, and that “hope and change” have become “divide and conquer.”

“Our problem is not that he’s a bad person, our problem is that he’s a bad president,” Rubio said. “His new slogan for his campaign is ‘forward.’ Forward? A government that spends $1 trillion more than it takes in? An $800 billion stimulus that created more debt than jobs? A government intervention into health care paid for with higher taxes and cuts to Medicare. Scores of new rules and regulations.”

“These ideas don‘t move us ’forward,’” Rubio said. “These ideas move us backwards.”

Here’s Rubio’s address:

Once Romney became the frontrunner for the GOP nomination early in the election season, Rubio was considered a viable candidate for his vice presidential running mate. In fact, Rubio was vetted for the VP slot and a favorite in a CPAC straw poll. (Even Jon Stewart seemingly endorsed Rubio for the job.)

While Rubio didn’t get the nod, he praised newly born Romney-Ryan ticket, calling the Paul Ryan pick “a truly inspired choice.”

“Throughout his life, Mitt Romney has made great decisions, and choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate is a truly inspired choice,” Rubio said in a statement, according to the Sunshine State News. “I got to know Paul during my Senate campaign when he endorsed me early on when I was still considered a long shot. Paul Ryan is a courageous reformer who understands our nation’s challenges, has proposed bold policy solutions to solve them, and has shown the courage to stand up to President Obama and other Washington politicians trying to tear him down.”

Rubio instead became a strident and compelling voice as a Romney advocate and supporter, culminating with his crucial RNC address before a national and international audience.

Few politicians have risen to national prominence as quickly as Rubio. Only in his early 40s, he’s the subject of widespread interest and speculation—and his draw continues to grow. But with An American Son: A Memoir, Rubio finally tells the full story of his unlikely journey, with all the twists and turns that made him who he is today.

Here’s Rubio talking about his memoir with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren:

Rubio’s journey began when his parents first left Cuba in 1956. After Fidel Castro solidified his Communist grip on power, Mario and Oria Rubio could never again return to their homeland. But they embraced their new country and taught their children to appreciate its unique opportunities. Every sacrifice they made over the years, as they worked hard at blue-collar jobs in Miami and Las Vegas, was for their children.

Rubio played football at a small college in Mis­souri, then came back to Florida to attend Santa Fe Community College and the University of Florida. He went on to earn his law degree from the University of Miami and took a job at a law firm, which paid him a handsome salary that allowed his father to retire.

As a young attorney he ran for the West Miami City Commission, a role that led to the Florida House of Representatives. In just six years he rose to Speaker of the House and became a leading advocate for free enter­prise, better schools, limited government, and a fairer, simpler tax system. He found that he could connect with people across party lines while still upholding conserva­tive values.

His U.S. Senate campaign started as an extreme long shot against Florida’s popular incumbent governor, Charlie Crist. Undaunted by the early poll numbers and the time away from his wife and kids, Rubio traveled the state with his message of empowerment and optimism. He upset Crist in both the primary and a dramatic three-way general election, after Crist quit the GOP to run as an independent.

Now Rubio speaks on the national stage about the challenges we face and the better future that’s possible if we return to our founding principles. As he puts it, “Conservatism is not about leaving people behind. Con­servatism is about allowing people to catch up.”