Talk about a change of fortunes. Sen. Marco Rubio started off 2014 on a downswing, but while scandal and controversy have been plagued other prominent American politicians, Rubio has been flexing his “statesman” muscles on a trip to Asia.
While there are a lot of reasons being a U.S. senator can be detrimental to a presidential aspirant, there are some upsides, as well. Rubio sits on the Intelligence Committee and is the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee’s East Asia Subcommittee, which means this is official business.
But that doesn’t mean it also isn’t good politics. Rubio (to the extent his trip has been covered) will return to America looking the part of a serious leader. This is especially true when compared to recent stories (ranging from the serious to the bizarre) about Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Bob McDonnell, Mike Huckabee (and on the other side of the aisle) Wendy Davis, Martin O’Malley, et al.
The contrast couldn’t be starker.
While rivals were plagued with missteps, Rubio was meeting with the president of South Korea, the president of the Philippines, and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan. (Note: The photo above seems to have proven controversial. It looks like the Prime Minister is bowing to Rubio. Word is the picture is getting a lot of play in places like China.) During the trip, he also came face to face with a North Korean soldier, in the DMZ.
And — speaking of dichotomies — at the end of his speech at a prominent think thank in Seoul this morning, Rubio delivered an inspirational speech about the difference between South Korea and North Korea. The contrast couldn’t be starker. Watch here: