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... And they're off! Losing Republican vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio, once seen as a prime contender to be a losing Republican vice-presidential nominee, appeared at the Jack Kemp Foundation awards dinner Tuesday night, and both were trying to establish themselves as totally not Mitt Romney. Do you hear that, 2016 voters? Neither of these men has personally made millions putting you out of work, and they have definitely learned a lesson about not calling 47 percent of you moochers, at least not where a hidden camera might catch them.
Sure, they both offered Romney-style policy ideas like cutting anti-poverty programs (Ryan) and school vouchers privatization (Rubio). Making the wealthy pay more taxes? Forget about it. But they tried to convey that they'd pass these terrible policies with love and compassion and understanding for the poor, working-class, and middle-class people the policies would hurt.
"We must speak to the aspirations and anxieties of every American," Ryan said. And "In most cases, we’re still trying to measure compassion by how much we spend—not by how many people we help." Also, "poverty." In fact, Ryan said "poverty" 15 times, so he must really really really care.
Rubio was not to be outdone in the caring about people department, especially when it comes to immigrants like his parents. Except for the part where he opposes immigration reform that would give people from places other than Cuba the opportunities his parents had. But "One of the fundamental promises of America is the opportunity to make it to the middle class," people, and don't you worry your pretty little heads about what Rubio would or would not do to actually expand that opportunity. The point is, he cares.
In addition to all that caring and concern for the little people, Ryan and Rubio showed off the comedy chops that will have us all busting a gut throughout the 2016 primary process:
"I'll see you at the reunion dinner, table for two. You know any good diners in New Hampshire or Iowa?" Ryan joked to Rubio during his speech. "I’m sure the press won’t read too much into that."
Rubio shot back later with a smile, saying that he appreciated the offer, but "will not stand by and watch the people of South Carolina ignored."
Har har har. Can you even stand it? No? Me neither.
Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 12:59 PM PST.