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The Rubios: We're Prepared for 'Public Scrutiny' of Politics

Friday, 18 May 2012 01:43 PM

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Though they may look like a typical young American couple, Marco and Jeanette Rubio are far from that.

He is the most visible Latino in national politics today – a prospective running mate for likely Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney – while she is a quiet supporter, working behind the scenes and is raising their four children.

According to Politico, which interviewed the Rubios, the couple met after high school and have been married 14 years. Both say they are ready for the grueling public scrutiny that comes with Marco Rubio’s quick ascension in American politics. Whether or not he is on the 2012 ticket, Rubio, 40, will be at the top of the 2016 list of GOP contenders if Romney loses.

“I’m prepared for the idea that no matter what he does — especially when there’s talk of him being the VP candidate — that [there] are things that are going to come out,” Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, 38, told Politico. “And through the Senate campaign, we already went through a lot. … That really prepared us, or at least me.”

Rubio, 40, continues to raise his profile through national speeches and interviews – and a forthcoming memoir, “An American Son.” An unauthorized biography is due out the same day by Washington Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia, “The Rise of Marco Rubio.”

Jeanette Rubio – now in foundation work after stints as a Miami Dolphins cheerleader, university student and bank teller – largely stays out of the spotlight, choosing to focus on raising the couple’s children, ages 4 to 12.

“I’m not pushing myself out there. I need to be with [the] kids just to give them that balance,” she said. “If he’s out there, I feel like I have to be here for them, to give them that reality.”

But she added,“in the future, if I have to do it, of course I’ll do it. But in general, I am shy.”

Those who know the couple, however, say Jeanette Marco is integral to everything her husband does. Marco Rubio writes in his book that when his long-shot quest for the Senate in 2010 was going slowly Jeanette persuaded him to stay in the race.

"There were times that he said, 'I don't want to do this,' and I just encouraged him," she said. "I really believe that when things are hardest - those things make you stronger."

The Rubios live in a Hispanic enclave in West Miami, Fla., surrounded by family. They met at a neighborhood recreational center as teenagers 22 years ago. They both attended South Miami Senior High School, meeting a few years after Marco graduated.

A Cuban-American, Marco then graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville and later from the University of Miami School of Law. Jeanette, the daughter of Colombian immigrants, attended Miami-Dade Community College and in 1997 followed his sister and her sister to the Miami Dolphins cheerleading squad.

She quit when Marco proposed and enrolled in the International Fine Arts College, pursuing a degree in fashion design. They married in 1998.

For the past year, Jeanette Rubio has worked at the Braman Family Foundation, run by Miami businessman and philanthropist Norman Braman. She helps identify projects and coordinates the foundation’s giving.

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