Marco can spit! Rap, that is. And does. He also noted his "hairstyling secrets" in his high school yearbook. He's been a Catholic, a Mormon, a Baptist and a Catholic again. Carlos Ponce is his brother-in-law -- the one who didn't go to prison.
Those and other non-revelations appear in two competing books about the rising Republican star from Florida that hit stores today -- one, an authorized memoir; the other, anything but.
One is Marco's much-anticipated personal story, "An American Son." The other is the book it raced to beat to press, "The Rise of Marco Rubio" by Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia.
The stories they tell show distinctly different views of the tea party darling thought to be on Mitt Romney's short list of potential VP picks.
One paints a portrait of a calculating political climber; the other of a focused -- and passionate -- fan of America who feels that he and his immigrant family "embodied everything America's founding generation had hoped America would become."
But neither one reveals much that wasn't known about Rubio.
Yep, he's married to a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, is a fan of the movie "Gladiator," and loves sports so much he once skipped a floor vote to finish watching a Marlins game. (OK, that last one counts as a minor revelation.)
Nope, his parents didn't flee Fidel Castro (they actually fled the guy Castro overthrew), he hasn't finished paying off his student loans, and he's not the youngest member of the U.S. Senate -- he's exactly one week older than Mike Lee of Utah.
But the biggest bombshells (known ones anyway) either already exploded or are pointed out but left ticking harmlessly.
One is ancient history and had so little to do with Rubio it's hard not to feel sorry for him when it¿s brought up again. That's the one about his drug-trafficker brother-in-law, busted when Marco was but a teenager in the mid-1980's. It came up again last year, then, appropriately, faded back into the muck it was dredged up from.
Questions about Rubio's financial dealings, however, don't get the full explanation readers might have hoped for.
The Wall Street Journal took Roig- Franzia to task for bringing up, but not pursuing, a report about Rubio's law firm salary and the company's work with the state.
In a review Monday, the paper said, "the biographer doesn't answer questions about the politician's public record and finances beyond what has been previously reported. What exactly did Mr. Rubio do for the $300,000 he was paid by the law firm that employed him during his speakership? Mr. Roig-Franzia makes a pregnant reference to a Florida newspaper's analysis that the firm did $4.5 million of work for the state in the three years before Mr. Rubio ran the Florida House but goes no further."
In his book, Rubio, does a mea culpa for his handling of a credit card given to him by the state GOP. As the Miami Herald described it, "Rubio writes in some detail about financial disputes during his tenure in the state Legislature that he says reflected sloppiness, not dishonesty. Thousands of dollars in personal expenses appeared on an American Express card issued by the state GOP, but he says he reimbursed the credit-card company for all of them. A house he co-owned at the state capital in Tallahassee went into foreclosure, the result of miscommunication and a situation he quickly rectified, he says."
Overall, though, some of the most interesting facts about Marco Rubio might be in the largely meaningless personal details.
Some of the best were noted by Chris Moody of ABC News:
Rubio caught footballs thrown by both Dan Marino and Tim Tebow on the floor of the Florida Legislature. "You know if I drop this pass, my political career is over," he quipped before Marino threw his.
And Rubio, who later earned a college football scholarship, wore leg braces as a child. In an open letter after his father's death in 2010, he wrote, "I hated to wear them. So my dad would call from work and pretend to be Don Shula telling me I needed to wear them if I wanted to play for the Dolphins. (I always wondered why Shula had a Cuban accent on the phone but not on TV!)"
Source: Terra/Carlos Harrison