Way back in January, freshman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had been in office for a few hours or so when someone asked him if he was going to run for president. He let reporters know his intentions in that regard as politely as anyone being asked an utterly daft question at the dumbest possible time could have:
"It's a circus. You guys are part of the circus," Rubio told a half-dozen reporters in a cramped temporary office. "This is stuff (running for president) they talk about. They'll talk about somebody else next week. I'm here to be a United States senator from Florida and the best senator I can. I mean that. That's what I ran for and that's what I want to be."
But that apparently wasn't clear enough, because reporters are still asking him about "'rumors' that he's considering running for president in 2012" -- which could mean anything. I mean, "rumors?" Who is spreading these rumors? (Answer: Other reporters.)
"I'm not running for president in 2012," said the Florida Republican, who leveraged tea party support to beat then-Gov. Charlie Crist in a GOP primary and, ultimately, in the general election, where Crist ran as an independent. "I want to be United States senator. I want to be the best United States senator that Florida's ever had."
"I just got elected three months ago," Rubio said, in an apparent appeal to reason. But there's the rub, because Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has also been a senator for three months, he also "leveraged tea party support" and he hasn't entirely ruled out the possibility that he'll run for president in 2012. And so, "MARCO RUBIO" is sort of like "RAND PAUL" and "RAND PAUL" equals "might run for president" and so by the Transitive Property Of Premises We Can Just Make Up Out Of Whole Cloth, maybe "MARCO RUBIO" also equals "might run for President." But again: Marco Rubio is not running for president in 2012.
Years from now, Marco Rubio may well decide to actually run for president. And when he makes the announcement, the press will pepper him with questions like, "But I thought you said you wanted to be the best Florida senator, ever?" They will think to themselves, "Ha, gotcha, Marco Rubio."
And Rubio will have a pleasant enough response, probably something about the age we live in and his belief that he has something to offer on the national stage, blah blah blah. And he'll give his pretty-sounding answer to reporters. But he'll be thinking, "Ugh, you guys are really just the worst." (He'll be right about that, by the way.)