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The political trajectory of Marco Rubio took off not long after that Clearwater dinner seven years and seven days ago. It has been steady and at times soaring as he reached the top tier of presidential candidates — elbowing a mentor out of the way — but now Rubio's fortunes are in free fall.
When the final Florida primary votes are cast Tuesday, he is expected to get beat by Donald Trump, and his future moves to the place Rubio hates most: uncertainty.
This portrait comes from Tampa Bay Times interviews of more than 40 people who know and or worked for Rubio, as well as documents and more than a decade of journalistic coverage of the senator. Rubio and his staff declined to be interviewed.
The traits of Rubio's success, as they often are in politics, make up the foundations of his failings. Impatience. Ambition. Opportunism. Confidence on the campaign trail, indecision in the halls of power.
Once thought to be the most marketable Republican in a crowded field, a young Hispanic candidate who could beat Hillary Clinton and make history, Rubio seems to have few allies to call on.
DiMatteo helped Rubio after that dinner. He sums up Rubio this way: "He is extremely skilled and ambitious. He is also extremely not loyal."
Martinez said Rubio would call him all the time but suddenly stopped in 2005 when Martinez left office. A couple of years later, Rubio asked to meet for lunch at a Latin American cafeteria in West Miami. He was thinking about running for Miami-Dade mayor and wanted help. Over a Cuban sandwich, Martinez let him have it: "I wouldn't support you for dog catcher."
The guy is a sleazy rat who can't be trusted
He's a backstabber, a flip-flopper,