04/08/2013 01:07 pm ET

Marco Rubio's Balancing Act: Image Vs. Roots

WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio's skittishness on immigration reform in recent days is calculated to send a resounding message to conservatives: I've got your back.

That Rubio even has to wave the flag raises the question if conservatives will have his when the bill is revealed this week.

Until now, it has been a steamy affair. Rubio has raced past the title of "rising star" and sits atop early polls for the 2016 presidential nomination. But his ascendency faces its first real challenge with the immigration proposal — underscoring the precarious line he straddles.

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