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Former George W. Bush and John McCain advisor Nicolle Wallace this weekend made the case for Marco Rubio being the GOP’s “savior,” because the junior senator from Florida has an unusual credential.

“He’s everything we need and more,” Wallace said on ABC’s This Week. “He’s modern. He knows who Tupac is.”

Last week’s Time magazine cover story called Rubio “The Republican Savior.”

Knowing who Tupac is has become one of Marco Rubio’s favorite interview subjects — he dissected the rapper’s lyrics with BuzzFeed last week, and in an interview with GQ last year (where he was also asked to name his favorite Afrika Bambaataa song), he gave a brief hip-hop history that centered on a documentary of the rapper, who was shot to death at age 25 in 1996.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) disputed  Wallace’s assessment.

“You know, I think all of this stuff is just surface stuff,” he said. “It’s like lipstick on a pig. I mean, the bottom line is, the Republicans have a core values problem, not a ‘who knows who Tupac Shakur is’ problem.”

When it comes to issues, Rubio is nearly identical to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney. He’s dabbled in climate change denial. He has signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to never ever raise taxes. He opposes stem cell research and wants to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Rubio does break with the 2012 GOP orthodoxy when it comes to immigration reform, where he has a position just to the right of President Obama and George W. Bush. He has agreed to a framework for bipartisan reform and will be giving the response to the president’s State of the Union address in both English and Spanish. However, given that Republicans in the House seem unwilling to support any bill that contains a path to citizenship, he will likely barely mention immigration.

But maybe he’ll talk about Tupac!


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