- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It is fortuitous scheduling. Sen. Marco Rubio, the Republican hopeful who recently tangled with Jeb Bush during the third GOP debate, will augment his role as the up and coming young star at a new political event on Wednesday when the New Hampshire Institute of Politics launches  “Life of the Party.” The public policy series is designed to draw in a coveted, often oblivious voting bloc.

Organizers bill the series as “an alternative to the traditional political process,” targeting young professionals with casual questions and free-flowing dialogue.

“Attendees will get to know the candidate as a person, and not just a political figure. Questions will focus on issues that affect the lives of millennials across the state and on genuine conversation, not specifically tied to politics,” producers say.

Mr. Rubio, an increasingly canny public figure, has jettisoned the lingering effects of what the gleeful press once dubbed “Rubio’s Watergate” after he sipped water while offering the Republican rebuttal to President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union speech, during a pivotal live broadcast. Mr. Rubio’s campaign slogan is now “New America Century,” he is adamant that America does not “owe him” and like Donald Trump, has aggressively taken on the press.

“The Democrats have the ultimate Super PAC in the mainstream media,” Mr. Rubio says.

The lawmaker - who at 44 is the youngest White House hopeful of them all - is not opposed to sharing photos of himself playing vigorous football. There’s also an almost inevitable surge in the polls for Mr. Rubio.

“Donald Trump maintains his sizable lead in the New Hampshire Republican primary and Ben Carson holds onto second place, but the latest Monmouth University Poll has found a new occupant in the 3rd place slot — Marco Rubio,” the college reported Monday.

And the numbers: Mr. Trump has 26 percent of support among likely GOP primary voters in New Hampshire, followed by  Mr. Carson (16 percent), Mr. Rubio (13 percent), Ohio Gov. John Kasich (11 percent), Sen. Ted Cruz (9 percent) and Jeb Bush (7 percent). The rest of the field trailed with 5 percent of the vote or less. Way less.

Marco Rubio’s standout performance in the last debate seems to have paid dividends in a contest that was supposed to be dominated by his former mentor Jeb Bush,” says Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth polling.

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