Before you read on, click through and check out Matt’s post from Friday on this general subject, which reviews the Washington Post fact-checker’s conclusion that Rubio deserves zero Pinocchios for his explanations of the credit card controversy critics have raised since his 2010 Senate run. Rubio told the truth, the paper concluded, rendering the verdict that his “credit card saga isn’t really a scandal.”
What Rubio was “hiding” were records proving that he spent far *less *than expected on a charge card used for joint expenses – which was issued under his name and secured on his personal credit – than other party leaders at the time. In other words, a non-scandal just got even less salacious. Here’s New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin yawning on CNN that, “if this is all they have to use against Rubio, then they’re going to have to keep looking:”
What may be most interesting about the weekend’s revelation is the campaign’s strategic timing. Over the process of their internal audit, Team Marco recognized the vindicating nature of the yet-unpublished records. Rather than rushing them out immediately, they decided to lay a trap for Rubio’s opponents, holding the exculpatory evidence close to the vest as critics ramped up their attacks and innuendo. With Trump, Jeb and the DNC loudly demanding to see the “risky” or “disastrous” documents he was “hiding,” Rubio finally let the evidence drop with a reverberating thud. Caputo described this political chess move on Meet the PressSunday morning:
Caputo: What they did is, they made the calculation, “we’re going to hold off on this until the appropriate time, and we’re going to let the Donald Trumps of the world say ‘this is going to be a disaster…’”
Todd: It was a set-up!
Caputo: I think it was a trap, yes…when you look at the hype that built it up, and then you look at the expenses, you really have to go out of your way to make it look like a scandal.