WASHINGTON--Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday night--and created a viral video when he lunged almost off camera to take a swig from a bottle of Poland Spring water.
I did not see this when it happened on live TV because I was in the House press gallery writing my column on the Obama speech on a tight deadline. After I was done, I headed down to the second floor of the Capitol where I ran into Todd Harris, Rubio's top political advisor. Harris was holding a Poland Spring bottle that appeared empty and when he told me this was THE bottle, I replied I did not get the reference.
"Watch the video," Harris advised.
Meanwhile, Rubio, hailed as the Republican "savior" on the cover of Time Magazine, invoked a standing political rule: defuse a situation with some self-deprecating humor. Rubio posted via Twitter a picture of the water bottle and joked about it on a Wednesday morning TV hit on FOX News Channel's "FOX & Friends."
Rubio said, "My mouth got dry, and I had to get some water. You know, when you give a speech, you have a podium and the water is right there, but when you don't, then you'll start looking around thinking, 'Where am I going to get the water from?' I figured I was better off just taking that water and taking the hit for it then being unable to pronounce my words at the end of it. It'd been a long day at work. We'd already done an 18-minute recording in Spanish -- and you know, my mouth got dry, what can I say? But I was happy overall with what we were able to deliver in the speech."