Sen. Marco Rubio’s quest for the Republican presidential nomination is getting an unlikely lift from The New York Times.
The newspaper has published two unflattering stories about the Florida senator in the course of five days, including a piece about his family’s traffic violations that was widely mocked on Twitter.
Republican strategists argue that attacks from the mainstream media, and the Times in particular, could help galvanize conservatives behind Rubio’s candidacy.
“If you’re a Republican, there is probably no better bogeyman for you than The New York Times,” said GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak, who also writes for The Hill’s Contributors’ blog.
Rubio tried to press his advantage Tuesday, firing back at a Times report that called attention to his personal finances, including the purchase of an $80,000 boat.
In a statement posted on Rubio’s website, spokesman Alex Conant accused the newspaper of mounting “the latest in their continued hits against Marco and his family.”
“First The New York Times attacked Marco over traffic tickets, and now they think he doesn’t have enough money. Of course if he was worth millions, The Times would then attack him for being too rich, like they did to Mitt Romney.”
The Rubio campaign later on Tuesday sent out a fundraising email to supporters, with the Florida senator arguing that he needs resources to repel “the silly media attacks against” him.
Republican strategist Ford O’Connell said Rubio was right to try to use the coverage to his advantage because “it’s a badge of honor to be attacked by The New York Times, the Democrats’ paper of record.”