Manuel Roig-Franzia Talks with Juan Williams: Unedited
Juan Williams sits down with Manuel Roig-Franzia to discuss his new book “The Rise of Marco Rubio.”
- Duration 17:03
- Date Jun 22, 2012
Juan Williams sits down with Manuel Roig-Franzia to discuss his new book “The Rise of Marco Rubio.”
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Manuel Roy friends via.
Author of the new book the rise of Marco Rubio thank you for joining us -- this Fox News Latino exclusive it's great to be here.
This book has been controversial.
From the start before it was published there was great fear among Marco Rubio with allies.
This that the senator would be belittled.
Damage politically by revelations in this book.
But now it looks like people are saying.
The book is fair it's new -- and in some sense celebrates Marco Rubio what do you say.
Hope it's sort of headline news I guess in Washington when somebody writes but that's balanced.
I think that Marco Rubio and Andy's story is fascinating.
It's it's a classic American story that starts in Cuba.
And goes to Florida and moves on to the United States.
That there's a lot of emotional.
-- in that story and I wanted to get out that in writing this book and I wanted to write about.
The good things that people have to say about him and think about him and not be afraid to write about the things that people criticizing.
Well let's talk about some of the big revelations in particular.
The one point of controversy came out again before the book's publication that has to do with the fact bit.
Rubio Stanley left Cuba before Fidel Castro took power.
And the way that Marco Rubio had built the narrative about his story before political audiences with that -- -- -- fled.
Oppression by Fidel Castro.
Do you think now that this has damaged the Marco Rubio story.
I think it's going to be a part.
Of the as we -- in journalism the -- matter the background material.
About Marco Rubio for a long time because it was so important to his political identity.
His political identity that he's built as he was rising in Florida.
Was as the son of political exiles who were pushed off of that island by Fidel Castro a person who.
The people in South Florida look at as one of the great oppressors in world history.
And so when I got started doing the research for this book had very innocent -- was looking up background material about family and stumble upon this date 1950 cents on some immigration documents and I tell you what I thought it was a -- I thought it was a -- -- and I found another document that said the same.
And -- third and that's when I realized it was true and.
We really felt the obligation at that point to -- for the Washington Post in -- of wait for the publication of the book.
Another revelation that somewhat is at odds with the fact that Marco Rubio is a conservative -- Tea Party favorite.
Is the idea that his grandfather.
-- Victor Garcia came here illegally in 1962.
Yeah I I became very fascinated with.
That -- Victor Garcia it's taken him back a little bit further and I think he he was born in this little town in Cuba called she -- tea.
And his mother was illiterate.
They lived in -- house that was mean out of.
That's palm leaves it couldn't have been a more humble start so he was a migrant who came to the United States in 1956.
And the thing about immigration in the United States that not everybody understands.
Is that it doesn't work out for every -- And it wasn't working out for -- -- Victor he wasn't making a living so they went back to Cuba in 1959.
Key date why 1959.
Because Castro -- taken over.
Promising to change Cuba.
And -- Victor thought that he could have a better life there he quickly figured out -- in the course of several years that Cuba had changed.
And he tried to come the United States and that's when things got bad.
He was stopped at the airport.
Because he had no -- Eventually he was ordered deported from the United States to -- He had seven daughters living in the United States at the time.
He had a wife living in the United States at the time and he was still considered an illegal aliens.
He was still considered somebody who wasn't welcome here he had to have been.
One of the most horrific experiences.
For a man who at that point was already a grandfather.
But he was an illegal immigrant to the United States and only later becomes legal as a result again a well.
I guess it's a technicality and they allow him to stay in the united.
-- he was ordered deported.
And in those days you weren't immediately sent away you were told to leave.
And he did not leave and then he caught a real break because shortly after that deportation order.
Was that Cuban missile crisis.
And at that point who could have faulted him for evading the deportation order.
The airports were closed it it was a worldwide crisis that we're bigger problems -- the immigration saga.
Of one man from Cuba.
And for years his immigration status was really in limbo here he he was technically here without permission -- is what.
Now call and documented.
That's exactly it will come but again this is the difference between Cubans and other Hispanics in the United States they're pretty happy special status and they make it to be cures for the most part the US government.
It will grant them citizenship.
Now let me ask you about some of the other revelations in your book.
In the book it mentions that.
There is questions about rubio -- use of the Republican Party credit card.
About a political committee.
It uses in some cases for personal expenses.
Add them to some of this questionable potentially scandalous behavior of one of its allies in the Florida State Legislature David -- What.
You did you find out in your research for the book about these questionable.
Financial activities by right now senator mark.
Yeah when people talk about senator rubio as the future vice presidential candidate whether it be in this cycle or some other cycle -- future presidential candidate.
These issues that you're referencing things he's going to have to deal with the credit card thing.
Is is is almost impossible job he he he had a credit card that was given to him by the Republican Party -- And he spent.
Thousands of dollars on that credit card.
On personal items some of the things were just silly.
Wine and a wine shop near his house -- 132 dollar -- -- Around that figure for a haircut and I had.
-- just looking over the list it's it's it's hard to and that -- never explain.
Is that he it was a mistake.
That he hadn't intended to use it and no criminal prosecution there is never criminal kind of what about -- paid I should say to you -- -- them well yes once it was uncovered.
He was called to account oh yes and what about David repair.
Well David Rivera the folks that I talked to up in Tallahassee have spent a huge amount of time with both of them.
But they described Marco Rubio and David Rivera as closer -- Brothers.
A very what are the charges against repair.
Well there's no charges right now but there's been meaning media reports about ongoing investigations of him.
In Florida related to contracts that.
He's his family had gotten to -- law before arson gambling insurers and others.
I mean I should stress that.
He hasn't been charged with anything it hasn't been convicted of anything.
Watchdog organizations have called him.
The most -- a member of congress it's an issue that Marco Rubio would have to deal with some people would consider it an albatross -- also.
Own a house together in Tallahassee.
And it's one of these things where you live down in Miami.
You have a house up there after the legislative session.
And that house became a point of controversy to.
-- -- fell behind in their payments the bank began foreclosure proceedings for closure which.
Obviously was a big deal critical has -- accusing the United States and it was an embarrassment they.
Once it came out again they cleared it up they paid what was and but -- Beckett already started upper quarter and that's why it was it was because obviously they -- -- -- given opportunities to settle it and didn't do -- And all of these things worked against the narrative.
Pushing a message of fiscal responsibility for the government.
I mean that's something that has been very central to his time in Washington DC.
The government getting its financial house in order these financial problems that he's run into.
It in the past.
Under cut that message.
Also in the book one of revelations if you well they've got coverage before the book's publication.
Was that rubio had been born a Catholic and his parents converted to mormons and rubio himself became a Mormon and now he's a Baptist.
Well there's one last step in and now -- primarily identifies as as as a Catholic -- -- again -- so it's Catholic Mormon.
Baptist -- -- and now and now Catholic you know.
He has described it as a faith journey obviously a person's faith is a very personal matter he's clearly interest and in religion.
I spoke with some of his very close friends in Florida who have talked to him about this and you know his wife was going to this.
Church that was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention her family.
And you know they told me that -- told them he just did not feel comfortable completely leaving behind the Catholic faith.
And that's why he sort of straddle the two for awhile and to this day he also attend services at this there.
Church -- well while being a regular.
I I guess it could go under the heading it's complicated.
-- -- -- but is that in some ways political is that any way that he's trying to fit into one folder another.
Well I think senator rubio would tell you that it's not political that it's that it's a personal journey.
But there's no question that there have been and -- Catholic bloggers in particular who paid very close attention to this who have.
Level that same sort of suspicion.
That he's trying to be everything to.
One of -- again.
Ironies about this book is the date of publication.
Marco Rubio has his own biography coming -- you written and -- authorized biography.
The rubio people have tried to switch the -- -- publication so that their book comes out.
Closer to the time -- your books but if you -- the date of your book's publication as well.
What is this about.
What are they trying to stave off and what are you trying to establish.
I was trying to read a book about one of the most important and interesting rising figures in American politics and -- about book was scheduled to be released in early July.
The senator decided that he wanted to do his own book and announce that it would come out in October.
Day eventually decided they wanted to bring it out before my book in.
On June 19 and my publisher which was already ready with a book since I've been working.
On it for a long time decided to move up and you know some people of called it a book -- The competition between the two -- -- I don't really look at it that way I mean we we were working on a book that was.
That was independent.
Any schedule that the senators.
Had for his book and now I I I wish him well and and I look forward to him reading my book and I hope that I can sit down and have a conversation with him about my book like -- it with the union did you interview the senator for your book.
I spoke to him right after.
Discovery of that discrepancy with the 1956.
But prior to that the senator had told me that because he was working on his own book that he was going to cooperate -- -- -- the upset.
Was he upset about the story yes.
Yes he thought it was unfair.
-- told him that.
We were bending over backwards to make it fair I think I think it was was.
Journalists fact check.
And and this was a very important fact in the life of -- very important politician and you know we had to write that story.
In recent days there have been reports that the Romney campaign is not considering has not vetted.
Marco Rubio for a vice presidential slot.
Do you believe those stories -- you.
Romney campaign has -- come back and said those reports are not true what is going on -- from your perspective as the unauthorized biography.
You know what this tells me I think it's a perfect example.
Of the appeal of Marco Rubio.
And the danger of -- -- the.
They're the same.
It's that when Marco Rubio -- name comes up.
A huge amount of attention is drawn to people our interest -- in the guy and he has a following so what happened.
This report came out that he wasn't being vetted then.
That that he was being vetted it became blah story of the day the Romney campaign had spent much of the day talking about.
-- vice presidential choice instead out their criticisms of the Obama administration's handling of the economy.
Instead of other issues that they want Americans -- to look at so I could see.
The Romney camp looking at this and saying.
Wow this guy really gets a lot of attention he he could help and I can also see people within.
That group saying wow this guy gets a lot of attention he.
Her -- your book will be published in Spanish soon you were born in Spain yes.
But came here to the United States and you works for the Washington Post graduate of UCLA event yes yes -- Bruins have -- so.
You're story is also an immigrant story and -- your success as a journalist.
The question is do you believe there's an audience for this story that Marco -- story in Spain and Mexico and Latin America.
Well based on the -- for their requests I've gotten from media in all of Latin America and and in Spain I would say yes.
You know the -- peace in the obvious saying newspaper one of the largest in in in Spain Marco Rubio is.
He'll extends beyond that the borders of the United States and and I'll tell you why.
Because he is -- Latino.
Or Hispanic whichever word you choose to use.
Who has had the best most realistic chances.
Getting to the White House in it in our history I know Bill Richardson.
-- for president.
And that's no way to diminish him -- it.
Very talented politician.
But people look at Marco Rubio and and think here is someone who has the potential to be a historic figure.
And when you're talking about historic figures.
There's interest in them whether you're into peca or whether you're in Lima.
Or whether you're in Washington DC -- me.
-- way much like the fascination surrounding Barack Obama.
How interesting would it be if in.
Consecutive election cycles.
We ended up -- a candidate who represented the first in American history.
-- it would be one heck of a narrative.
Manuel roared -- the author of the rise of Marco Rubio thank you so much for joining us for this Fox News Latino explicit blessing.