Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, joined the Gang of Eight in crafting an immigration bill with full knowledge of how messy the process could be.
Now, his advisers worry that the moves he's had to make during the process might draw him an unwanted label: Washington insider.
Rubio came to Washington to do big things, the advisers say, and with his prior experience as House speaker in the Florida Legislature, Rubio was fully aware of all that entailed.
Rubio is seen as a presidential contender in 2016, but his fellow GOP senators who are expected to challenge him have taken a different path. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas have avoided being involved in negotiating and compromising with the opposition.
Cruz has taken advantage of the recent IRS scandals to launch an online petition
to abolish the Internal Revenue Service. Paul has been fighting a battle against NSA spying, reports ABC News
But Rubio joined the Gang of Eight, four Democrats and four Republicans, who have been hammering out the Senate version of an immigration reform bill. He has caught flack from both sides of the debate because he has stood for border security, but also has pushed reluctant members of the right to support ultimately bringing illegal immigrants to legal status.
Conservative pundit Laura Ingraham has even accused Rubio of being out-foxed by fellow Gang of Eight member, Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat.
"It's time to stop dividing the Republican Party on this issue, with all your good intentions," Ingraham recently said to Rubio on the Fox News Channel. Rubio denied Schumer is using him.
Advisers believe Rubio comes across as someone who is trying to be a genuine leader rather than an opportunist positioning himself for a presidential bid, so regardless of whether the immigration bill passes, he will be seen as someone following his beliefs.
"Marco Rubio is going to continue to follow his convictions and fight to pass immigration reform that modernizes legal immigration, secures our borders, and deals fairly with the millions of illegal immigrants who have lived in America for years," his spokesman, Alex Conant, told Politico.
Added another adviser: "He looks like a guy who took a principled stand and went to Washington to try to fix things."
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