Last week, the New York Times dinged Marco Rubio over the 17 traffic tickets he and his wife have racked up over the years. Today, the paper takes a deeper dive into how the senator and would-be president manages his personal finances—and is not impressed. "Among the serious contenders for the presidency, Mr. Rubio stands out for his youth, his meteoric political rise—and for the persistent doubts about his financial management, to the point that Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign flagged the issue when vetting Mr. Rubio as a possible running mate in 2012, interviews show," write Steve Eder and Michael Barbaro. The piece begins with an example: When Rubio got $800,000 from a publisher in 2012 for his memoir, he spoke of getting rid of his heavy student debt. But he also dropped $80,000 on a speedboat.
The story suggests Rubio likes to spend—like his lease of a $50,000 Audi—and has long had a miserable savings rate, even when making good money. It also cites "inattentive accounting that led to years of unpaid local government fees." Then there was the time he used a GOP credit card to pay for stone pavers at his house while a Florida state lawmaker, a flub he has called an honest mistake. A former GOP colleague there notes that Rubio didn't grow up rich or schooled in the ways of money. “It’s a two-edged sword,” he says. “That’s part of the excitement of Marco.” The story says the 44-year-old has gotten things under better control in the last few years, and a spokesperson emails Politico to slam the story. "Now they think he doesn't have enough money in his bank account," he writes. "Of course, if instead he was worth millions, the Times would then attack him for being too rich, like they did to Mitt Romney." (Read more Marco Rubio stories.)