Rubio’s American Express card Exposed

While Rubio demonstrated poor judgment in using an RPOF provided Amex card for personal expenses, it should be noted he probably did not break the law. Further poor judgment was shown when Rubio failed to own up to the issue and release this bad news on his own terms, prior to his political adversaries showing his hand. Politics 101 dictates if you have bad news and you know your opponent knows your bad news, you release it on your own terms and you do it early. Marco’s arrogance and inexperience got in the way of following this dictum. Or did he think Jim Greer and company were nice guys who would never expose Marco’s card problems?

Ding or death knell? Voters will decide.

By Chris Ingram

It comes as no surprise that the Charlie Crist campaign or someone associated with it released Marco Rubio’s Republican Party of Florida corporate American Express card statements to the media. As a result, Rubio “came clean” and admitted his own inappropriate charges yesterday.  Now take note, the inappropriate charges weren’t for strip clubs or trips to Europe, but rather for things like fixing the wife’s minivan and purchasing supplies at a lumber company; things that hardly fall into the category of legitimate Republican Party expenses. While this certainly puts a dent in the armor of Rubio’s Boy Scout image, it probably isn’t the smoking gun Chuckles the Clown needs to completely derail Rubio’s campaign.

Still, for many Rubio supporters they will be asking themselves “is this guy who he purports himself to be, or is he just another typical politician?”

While Rubio demonstrated poor judgment in using an RPOF provided Amex card for personal expenses, it should be noted he probably did not break the law. Further poor judgment was shown when Rubio failed to own up to the issue and release this bad news on his own terms, prior to his political adversaries showing his hand. Politics 101 dictates if you have bad news and you know your opponent knows your bad news, you release it on your own terms and you do it early. Marco’s arrogance and inexperience got in the way of following this dictum. Or did he think Jim Greer and company were nice guys who would never expose Marco’s card problems?

So now “Team Bankrupt America” (aka: the Crist campaign) slips a few card statements to the media and what does Rubio do? He cries foul play as if releasing the statements is somehow worse than the charges. Come on Marco, get with the program. You had to know this was coming and you could have and should have owned up to it a long time ago. Did you think Jim Greer was shredding your statements when the shredder truck pulled up to RPOF headquarters on his last day in office? 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Marco Rubio isn’t perfect.

Rubio has demonstrated amateurishness in his campaign multiple times. This is in my opinion due in large part because he has never lost an election. Having never lost, and having risen to power so young and so quickly has made Marco think he is invincible and that he knows everything. Obviously Marco has a lot to learn. Hopefully he’ll get some adults working on his campaign soon and fewer “yes” men and more people who will tell him what he needs to hear, not what he wants to hear. We as voters need politicians to tell us what we need, not what we want, and so too does Marco Rubio.

Still, not all is bad. Rubio’s fundraising has been far greater than expected, and his “earned media” the last few weeks has been tremendously positive, save for today’s news and that little incident with the dead pig a few weeks ago.

But Rubio and his campaign continue to struggle.

Instead of continuing to act like the underdog, he’s marching forward as though he’s got this race in the bag. But poll numbers change and fortunes in politics tend to fall twice as fast as they rise. This is a hard fact that is difficult to impress upon someone who has never lost an election and who is currently 18 points up in the polls.

The best thing going for Marco is he is the greatest communicator in the Republican Party today. He knows how to deliver a line and fire up a crowd. He is the closest thing to Ronald Reagan the party has seen since, well, Ronald Reagan. But one-on-one, Rubio is not comfortable in his own skin. At events where Charlie Crist is running around smiling at everyone, asking them their names, and making pointless small-talk to make them feel good, Rubio is in a corner somewhere with his I-phone chatting or texting away. Just last week a prominent elected official from the Tampa Bay area told me he saw Rubio at an event in Tampa. He said Marco was off to himself with cell phone in hand all but ignoring a cadre of potential influential supporters. The elected official told me, “I’m leaning toward voting for Marco not because I love Rubio, but because Charlie Crist has shown no leadership and I’ve had enough of Charlie. Marco had a chance to talk to me to seal the deal and he blew the opportunity. ” And so, potential still exists for Charlie “Republcan Bill Clinton” Crist. I’ve heard similar sentiments from countless others.

Another problem is in Rubio’s organization. His campaign team lacks leadership and people with the skills to recognize their weaknesses and address them as a business with a failing product line would by making changes. Denials and lame excuses will only carry you so far with voters. Making necessary changes to the product or assembly line will carry you over the finish line. But hey, I should love these guys, whenever I get mail from the campaign it is addressed to “Dr. Chris Ingram” (even though I am not a doctor and I never played one on TV).  

On the other hand, he still has an advantage in as much as people are still very tired of Too-tan Charlie. But the “hug” and the stimulus issue is only going to get Rubio a few more First Downs, and never a score. This fact is primarily due to Rubio yanking it from the playbook when he said he would have accepted stimulus money. Charlie’s achilles last year was the hug. But it peaked too soon and the heel is now healing. Rubio needs to prove to voter’s he’s the man to address the issues — not just show that Charlie Crist is not.  

Still, while not perfect, Rubio represents a clear choice for Floridians. That choice is between a status quo pushing, establishment-loving, liberal in a Republican’s suit who speaks in platitudes about “the people” so much you want to puke versus an imperfect but young, energetic, “American Dream” candidate with fresh ideas for America’s future.

Marco’s youth and inexperience as a candidate relative to Chuckles is a strength as much as a weakness. A weakness for the mistakes he’s making now, but also strength in that he will, like a bottle of wine, improve over time. The seal on Charlie Crist’s bottle has long since been broken and his wine has slowly begun to turn to vinegar. 

Charlie is what he is: forever just another empty suit.

The Rubio Amex story as reported in the St. Pete Times can be found here.

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of www.IrreverentView.com. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.

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25 thoughts on “Rubio’s American Express card Exposed”

  1. Chris, can you please explain why Rubio even has an AmEx card issued by the RPOF?

    This is very disappointing. I’m afraid that if elected, Rubio will feel more entitled, not less, and the abuse and sense of entitlement will only worsen.

    As to whether the money is spent for lumber or at a strip club, I don’t see much difference. In either case, it is spent for wood!

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  2. My question is . . . Why would he take a card? If I was running against Charlie and Charlie’s folks were in charge of the AmEx, I’d put 100 miles between me and a charge card that my opponent’s people could scrutinize.

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  3. And I thought Marco was a thinker. You’re right Chris, he needs a strong nanny who’s not afraid to slap his hand…….ESPECIALLY when it’s in the cookie jar.

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  4. Not a Rubio supporter (or Crist) at this time. Poor judgement is poor judgememnt no matter who uses it. How about
    recalling all RPOF credit cards. Tip of the iceberg? No
    wonder we must plead for contributions. Who wants to pay
    someone else’s lumber bill. Not I.

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  5. Do you know that it was the Crist campaign who released this info? Just asking. It is interesting that Rubio said nothing when Greer was being accused of misusing the AMX card.

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  6. First; it doesn’t matter what personal use he made of the card. He used it. There is a real problem here that seems to run deep and wide in the state party: honesty. Say want you want but Crist has been governor for four years and hasn’t embarrased us like the former chair, and now an upstart who finds nothing wrong with using the party credit card for personal use. This young man is simply not ready to be a United States Senator. He needs lots of seasoning and a strong father to give him a good talking to about right and wrong.
    Second; Ronald Reagan? You must be joking.

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  7. He does need a mentor. Apparently Jeb hasn’t done the job for him. He is Reagan-esque though, you should see him deliver a speech.

    Chris

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  8. Reagan-esque, what a stretch! Nixon-like possibly.
    Let’s get serious about this credit card situation. Why did Marco not use his own personal credit card and not have to worry about reimbursing the party?
    I carried a government credit card for years in the U.S. Air Force and followed the rules. Never would I put a car repair, liquor store purchase on the card.
    If this is the judgement Marco has used in the past what will he do in the future?
    Chris you state, “Still, for many Rubio supporters they will be asking themselves “is this guy who he purports himself to be, or is he just another typical politician?”
    You have answered it…he’s just another typical politician.
    You also add, Chris, “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Marco Rubio isn’t perfect.”
    That’s for sure. Look as his legislative campaign expenditures.
    The 2006 report is haunting.
    His only opponent was a write-in candidate Brenda Hernandez. Thus, by having a write in opponent Marco could raise and spend money. And, raise money he did.
    Marco did not even organize a campaign to get on the ballot via signatures, but just paid the filing fee.
    Looking at the campaign expenditures for that year you will see he was WASTEFUL in spending dollars. And, admittedly it wasn’t illegal, but I say again poor judgement.
    He raised $233,316.19 and expended $233,621.11, all but $2,500 raised. Just prior to the election he spent $35,657.50 on WLTV Channel 23 and another $35,083.75 on TELEMUNDO – Channel 51- WSCV. That’s over $70,000 in television advertising against a write-in candidate who raised zero dollars!! Was he afraid that Ms. Hernandez was going to win?
    And, I am supposed to believe this is a Reagan-esque individual? That comment would have the late President rolling in his grave.
    Remember Florida political law allows candidates can donate left over funds to charities. I searched the report and did find he contributed $100 to the Disabled American Veterans.
    Oh, and two other entries on the final report raised my eyebrows. He made a payment to American Express on November 10, 2006 of $750.00. Was this to pay off his GOP Amex Card? And the final entry for the 2006 campaign was for $3863.89 at Cafe Vialetto. The Cafe’s website says it seats about 50. Umm, 50 people that equates to about $70 a head for dinner. Another responsible way to spend money and help the economy. Might there have been a homeless shelter in District 111 that could have fed hundreds for that amount?
    Before we all start anointing Marco Rubio as the next savior of the Republican Party, let’s look at the front of his closet and then start digging. If the front door looks bad, I wonder what’s on the inside besides misuse of a GOP Amex Card?

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  9. Scoop, I never said he’s anybody’s savior. I’ve struggled with my support for Rubio because of these issues. In the end, I still support him because I think he stands for more true beliefs than Charlie who just cares about himself. I could be wrong. History would show he’s like 99% of the pols. out there – scumbag who isn’t worth a shit. But I continue to hold out and believe he’s the real deal — with flaws, warts and all. I could be wrong. Time will tell. In the end, if really good people who gave a damned about this country ran for office, we wouldn’t have to suffer with the Charlie’s and Marco’s of the world… But alas, good people don’t want to be a part of this broken system.

    Chris

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  10. Well, I think Marco will be just fine as soon as he gets his hiarcut just right and drinks better wine. (I’ve never seen such a small wine bill at a “spirits store”). At least he hasn’t donated any money to the GOP’s opponents.

    And Dr. Ingrim, how come you never tell us how much Crist spends at the tanning salons?

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  11. Jan, Cut me some slack! I’m no fan of Charlie’s. I couldn’t even imagine how much he spends on that tan. How much does a tan cost? He’s probably got a tanning bed in his house — paid for by the RPOF no doubt! JK!

    Chris

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  12. Marco may not be perfect, but given the choice between a common, working class, family man and a wide eyed, pooched-lipped, married for money, photo opportunist, Marco wins over George Hamilton, Jr. a/k/a Boy Charlie.

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  13. RUBIO…CRIST…”W”BUSH…OLD BUSH..NEW BUSH…NIXON…SEE THE PATTERN HERE…LOOK AT RUBIOS RECORD IN THE HOUSE…MAKES “W” LOOK LIKE SMART…PLEASE THIS GUY CAN’T EVEN BEHAVE PRE ELECTION, WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT IF ELECETED…HE IS FARRRRRR RIGHT THAN RIGHT…IF YOU LOVE PALIN AND THE TEA PARTY YOU WILL LOOOOVE RUBIO…NO THANKS I RATHER SEE THE DEVIL WE KNOW THAN THE DEVIL WE DON’T….PEACE!!

    Like

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