Marco Rubio, the junior Republican senator from Florida, announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, receiving little attention in the national media.
Sen. Marco Rubio confirmed his 2016 presidential campaign Monday, but an apparent musical analogy in his announcement speech was a bit off key. Said Rubio: “And so our leaders put us at a disadvantage by taxing and borrowing and regulating like it’s 1999.” In fact, Tax burdens were different, the federal budget was running a surplus and a major focus of the 2000 presidential campaign was what Al Gore and George W. Bush would do with all this extra cash America had.
Gillin, who also writes for Politifact, goes on to state:
Rubio’s campaign didn’t answer our emails, but we’re going to go ahead and assume that last bit is a cheeky reference to Prince’s 1982 smash 1999 — you know, the one that goes “So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.”
We’ll note the irony of a candidate touting his youth as a campaign strength by citing a 33-year-old pop song. And because it’s a joke to make the point that his opponents are stuck in the past, we won’t put it on our Truth-O-Meter.
With a left-hook and then a right, Gillin delivers his final knockout punch to Rubio, writing:
President Bill Clinton first saw a budget surplus in 1998, and the positive trend continued until 2001 (keep in mind the fiscal year starts in October). The last time the federal budget had run a surplus was in 1969. Even with servicing debt in 1999, borrowing in 2014 far outstripped that year — or any other year of Clinton’s two terms.
So while Rubio likely isn’t making a literal comparison to 1999, his talking points would be off if he did: Taxes were higher back then, but the budget was balanced, while the opposite is true today.
And what specifics did Rubio give about how he would change America’s fiscal policy? As Prince might say, “Party over, oops, out of time.”