What’s his name?
Rubio’s family calls him “Tony,” an Americanized version of his middle name, which is Antonio. Don’t confuse the Cuban American Sen. Marco Antonio Rubio (R-Fla.) with the Mexican middleweight boxing champ, whose name is — Marco Antonio Rubio.
One of the senator’s early political mentors, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, calls Rubio “Markito” — pronounced Mar-KEY-toe.
Rah, rah, rah
Rubio, 43, is an obsessive football fan who played defensive back for one year in college. He’s married to a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio. One of the groomsmen at their 1998 wedding was Marco Rubio’s then-brother-in-law, Carlos Ponce, the Latin heartthrob singer and actor who played a randy yoga instructor in the film, “Couples Retreat.”
He can 'spit'
Young staffers on Rubio’s 2010 Senate campaign marveled that he could “spit” lyrics of hip-hop songs. He has praised N.W.A., Tupac Shakur, Eminem and many others. In 2013, Rubio quoted Jay Z during a filibuster over the Obama administration’s drone policy: “It’s funny what seven days can change. It was all good just a week ago.”
In an interview with GQ Magazine, he said his three favorite rap songs are “Straight Outta Compton” by N.W.A, "Killuminati" by Tupac Shakur and "Lose Yourself" by Eminem. Rubio told TMZ that he’s “the only member of the Hip Hop Caucus.”
He’s got an inconvenient friend
Rubio co-owns a rental house in Tallahassee with his longtime friend, scandal-plagued former U.S. Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.). They lived in the house together during legislative sessions while both were serving in the Florida House of Representatives. Foreclosure proceedings were initiated in 2010 after Rubio and Rivera failed to make mortgage payments, an embarrassing turn of events in the midst of Rubio’s U.S. Senate campaign. They averted foreclosure by making the missed payments.
In 2012, Rubio hosted a Washington, D.C. fundraiser for Rivera, even as numerous publications were reporting that he was under state and federal investigation for a variety of possible campaign and financial violations. But the two have been seen together far less often as the 2016 campaign approached. And now they’re trying to sell their house in Tallahassee.
His family immigration nightmare
In speeches, Rubio often talks about drawing inspiration from long talks on the porch with his maternal “abuelo,” or grandfather, Pedro Victor Garcia. He has been less likely to discuss Garcia’s immigration troubles.
Garcia immigrated to the United States in 1956 but went back to Cuba after Fidel Castro took power. He had hoped that economic conditions on the island would improve, but become disillusioned and attempted to return to the United States in 1962 without a proper visa.
Shortly before the Cuban Missile Crisis, an immigration judge ordered him deported, but it appears that he evaded the order and remained in the country without proper documentation. Five years after the deportation order, Garcia became a naturalized citizen.
Rubio’s own 'Water'-gate
Many Americans less attune to national politics might best remember Rubio as the guy who awkwardly paused and took a quick sip of water while delivering the Republican response to the State of the Union Address in 2013.
Jokes about the liquid gaffe quickly flooded the Internet (sorry, we couldn’t resist), with all sorts of memes and gifs quickly assembled to call out the senator’s water break.
But Rubio's team seized the moment and made lemonade out of lemons (or maybe an ocean out of water?). His decision to do so earned him plaudits from colleagues and the press.
For example, Rubio teased himself, via Twitter, just moments after the speech:
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 13, 2013
Within days, his campaign operation also started selling special Rubio water bottles, urging supporters to pay $25 in order to “Send liberal detractors a message that not only does Marco Rubio inspire you… he hydrates you, too.” Poland Spring – Rubio’s water of choice the night of the gaffe – also got in on the action, posting this humorous Facebook photo the morning after: