Rubio denies embellishing parents' history

Oct. 21, 2011 at 2:58 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Friday a Washington Post story questioning his account of his parents' arrival from Cuba is "outrageous" and "an insult."

"The Washington Post on Friday accused me of seeking political advantage by embellishing the story of how my parents arrived in the United States," Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a Politico op-ed.

"That is an outrageous allegation that is not only incorrect, but an insult to the sacrifices my parents made to provide a better life for their children."

The Post story said Rubio's parents fled Cuba before Fidel Castro came to power, and "being connected to the post-revolution exile community gives a politician cachet that could never be achieved by someone identified with the pre-Castro exodus, a group sometimes viewed with suspicion."

The official biography on Rubio's Senate Web site says his parents "came to America following Fidel Castro's takeover," the newspaper report said.

"If The Washington Post wants to criticize me for getting a few dates wrong, I accept that. But to call into question the central and defining event of my parents' young lives -- the fact that a brutal communist dictator took control of their homeland and they were never able to return -- is something I will not tolerate," Rubio wrote, adding the story his parents told him was "not a timeline" or "specific dates."

"I am the son of immigrants and exiles, raised by people who know all too well that you can lose your country. By people who know firsthand that America is a very special place. …

"People didn't vote for me because they thought my parents came in 1961, or 1956, or any other year. Among other things, they voted for me because, as the son of immigrants, I know how special America really is. …

"Ultimately what the Post writes is not that important to me. I am the son of exiles. I inherited two generations of unfulfilled dreams. This is a story that needs no embellishing," Rubio said.

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