FIX: Are you surprised that Rubio is going to run, given the Jeb candidacy? Why or why not?
Adam: Not really. He's been been moving in that direction almost since he came to Washington, assembled a large and strong campaign team, and never sounded interested in becoming a longtime, senior senator.
I doubt he expected Jeb Bush to run, and was told as much by his paid advisers. But given Bush's weakness with the base, the public's appetite for a fresh face, and the potential for a billionaire to ensure Rubio has sufficient resources, Bush is not the insurmountable obstacle he would have been in a "normal" election cycle.
FIX: For most people, the story of Marco Rubio starts in 2010, when he won a Senate seat. What’s the story of Marco Rubio in Florida state politics before that?
Adam: Not much. He was a talented, young legislator who clearly had a lot of ambition. But he could point to few big legislative achievements as Florida House speaker. On most big issues, he was rolled by then-Governor Charlie Crist and the more moderate Florida Senate.
FIX: Why is he giving up his Senate seat? Is this up-or-out mentality consistent with what you know about him?
Adam: A lot like Jeb Bush, Rubio is an impatient guy. It was always hard to see him as a lifer in the Senate. Nor has he shown much enthusiasm for the slow, nuts-and-bolts work of actually legislating. He's more about announcing big policy ideas than actually crafting bills and corralling votes to implement them.
Personal finances, I think, probably also played a role. Four kids in private school, and living in both west Miami and D.C. is not easy financially.
FIX: What’s Rubio’s biggest weakness as a candidate? Does he have an obvious Achilles heel?
Adam: His youth and inexperience is a blessing and a curse. It makes him a fresh face, but also invites unwelcome and obvious comparisons to Obama. He's 43 and could pass for 35. That doesn't help him pass the "seems presidential" threshold.
FIX: Fill in the blank: Marco Rubio’s fate in the 2016 presidential race is _____________________.
Adam: . . . dependent on Jeb Bush failing to convince enough primary voters that he's a true conservative and Rubio consolidating enough of the anti-Jeb vote.