Second only to Mitt Romney's 'Big Bird' slam during the presidential debates, Marco Rubio's 'Water Bottle-Gate' exploded into the public psyche. Nonetheless, Rubio's faux pas during the Republican response to the State of the Union address has landed the conservative Florida Senator some serious bank.
$652,480 in funds were raised from January to March. According to CQ's Roll Call, Rubio's Leadership PAC, called "Reclaim America," invested a mere $47,000 in the merchandise.
The water bottle (pictured right) would run you about $25 each. Thousands were sold in the first days of promotion, capitalizing on the virally awkward sip of water. What have all those funds gone towards? Itemized listings from Reclaim America PAC were reported as:
- $83,000 on web development and online advertising. Primarily for the website ReclaimAmericaPAC.com
- $47,000 on the water bottles
- $30,000 for Senate Conservatives Action
- $15,000 for the National Republican Senatorial Committee
One can no longer purchase them from Reclaim America PAC, but some have popped up on bidding sites like eBay.
Although the gaffe will follow Sen. Rubio well into the year, he may be the last one laughing when he's cashing in on the added name recognition next election.
Since filings were posted over the weekend, Rubio's focus has turned to immigration reform, butting heads with fellow Republicans in an effort to pass a bill drafted by the"Gang of Eight." The bill would offer a path to citizenship and create a guest worker program, neither aspect is particularly popular with his party.
Perhaps he will need to cash in on his water bottle fame early and spend some political capital to get the bipartisan legislation through the Senate.
Whether or not Rubio will out last his thirst-quenching fifteen seconds of fame is yet to be seen. However, turning it into a net positive for his political aspirations will be much more difficult.