The sip heard round the world: Marco Rubio’s desperate grasp for a tiny gulp

If, like me, your vote to watch Tuesday’s episode of “Dance Moms” was vetoed by nobler Americans in favor of watching the State of the Union address, you may have seen Florida Senator Marco Rubio deliver the GOP response. More likely is that in all your social media goings on, you’ve stumbled upon some sort of reference to his awkward intermission and grapple for a tiny bottle of water.


Courtesy of

Bless him. “Marco Rubio water” pops up in the Google search bar before you can even finish typing the poor guy’s last name. In case you missed it, here’s the video. Or one of them. There are many YouTube submissions of the gaffe with titles ranging from the demure to “Marco Rubio is THIRSTY.”

I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Rubio’s, simply because, in the words of the Scottish Korean man from the Starburst commercial, he’s a juicy contradiction. At 41-years-old, Rubio is the GOP’s next big thing. The Miami native is the son of Cuban immigrants, but only about 18% of Latino voters classify themselves as Republican. (Resurgent Republic has a great site full of other statistics on Hispanics in America.)

I couldn’t tell you much about Rubio’s speech, aside from that uncomfortable reach off-screen for the world’s tiniest bottle of water. The media has dubbed the bottle snag “The new ‘Watergate.'”


Courtesy of

Far from a scandal, “The new ‘Watergate'” has made Rubio look pretty darn good. It seems that the public has responded well to the gaffe. Rubio’s response? “I needed water. What am I going to do?”

An article on highlights some of the most hilarious tweets about the incident, in addition to explaining that Rubio had taped the response to the State of the Union in Spanish immediately before he addressed the nation. Of course the guy was thirsty.

An NPR story extolled Rubio’s authenticity. On a night where everything from suits to speeches to hugs and handshakes were choreographed, Rubio’s thirst may have been the only authentic thing. It generated an honest response, both on the part of the Senator and the public. It was obviously unplanned (that great big reach out of camera shot) and incredibly uncomfortable. And we ate it up.

So, my hat’s off to Senator Rubio. Thank you for providing us social media fodder and the opportunity to show off our water puns. But most of all, on a night that was planned to the T, thanks for giving us a little something human. Stay thirsty, my friend.

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51 responses to “The sip heard round the world: Marco Rubio’s desperate grasp for a tiny gulp

  1. This kind of obsession with the minutiae of the performances of our public figures makes me think most of the human race lacks meaningful purpose in their lives and either need to pick up a hobby or a cause. A sip of water is a big deal? Really?

    • I didn’t see it live, and so when I saw the resulting media frenzy I imagined the worst. When it turned out that it was a simple matter of a man responding to his thirst… It’s water. You said a mouthful, Ashana M. People have too much time on their hands.

    • It isn’t JUST a sip of water. We expect our politicians to be polished. They are up there representing us because they feel, as do we, that they are the right person for the job. We understand that they are human and might be a little nervous (although some may argue that a politician should have immaculate public speaking skills, since its a large part of the job) but he was just so AWKWARD about it.

      It does not mean that people lack a meaningful purpose, it just means that we like to laugh at humorous things when they happen on national television.

  2. Funny how something so silly becomes a big deal. I think maybe it is more than the water bottle that makes this such a hit. Maybe the man has personaility- some what likeable even?

  3. How can it be that you are the first person to say ” stay thirsty my friend” about Rubio?!? Great catch for pop culture! And nice ( and kind) take on his appearance.
    Greetings from the Chesapeake.

  4. Pingback: Humor & Grace – Oh My Lord! |

  5. I love posts like this. It points out the obvious but in a really good way. Well done.

  6. Personally, I thought that it was very unprofessional and kind of lowered Rubio in my eyes. Also, I thought his response was more a response to Clint Eastwood’s chair than to what President Obama actually said.

  7. Great post, and a fair observation. I believe it says more about those who criticized Rubio than Rubio himself.

  8. Maybe when he’s president he’ll have better aides who give him a glass of water that is within reach when he’s speaking. I missed this when it happened, so loved seeing it here on your blog, and it got you Freshly Pressed too!

  9. Nervousness and fear cause dry mouth. So does prevarication. A human being would very likely experience the first two if he felt guilty of the third. My first, middle and lasting impression of Rubio was that he was having a great deal of “trouble” with what he was saying on several levels. If they can’t break him and train him in time to do their explicit bidding, I believe the Republican party would do well to shift their bets to a new minority horse.

  10. Why Rubio Why! You were supposed be the savior of the Republican party. How come they just don’t drink a gallon of water beforehand. God help us.

  11. I just don’t get where the controversy is….I heard people say “it’s because he did it awkwardly.” Put yourself in his shoes though, you’re on national TV with millions of people watching you and nobody on your staff was smart enough to put a water bottle in reachable distance – of course you’re going to look awkward when getting the bottle! I don’t think it makes him look less or more competent. Just thirsty.

  12. I get dry mouth when giving speeches. For me, it’s nerves. I’m guessing it’s the same for Marco.

  13. In fact, I think that the water debacle was probably a good thing for Rubio and the Republicans. His speech was terribly written because it didn’t actually respond to anything Obama said. So it’s best that everyone was distracted by him ducking off camera, rather than criticizing the content of his speech. The Republicans really need some better candidates!

  14. Congatulations Marco Rubio! You are now a household name!

  15. It is pretty sad that the majority of the people and the media focused on Marco Rubio’s awkward thirst scene. Demonstrating that the people lack intelligence to focus on the important issues addressed, instead, waste countless of hours on this pathetic scene.

  16. That this is what people remember about his speech really does bring home just how vapid and pointless mainstream political debate has gotten in this country.

    I look forward to a day when real principles (and fiscal sanity) will make a return to the mainstream. Today, all we have is a short-range, pragmatic free-for-all in the face of a coming debt crisis, the likes of which we have never endured.

  17. “It seems that the public has responded well to the gaffe.”-

    What gaffe? Most people can’t remember a sentence of what he said, which is the ‘actual news’ the people need and the obligation of the press to provide. But as usual, the American media doesn’t produce news, because ‘real news’ might make the populace smart. Who knows what will become of Rubio(I hope his career is short-lived), but this so called story is another example of the MSM doing what it does best: nothing.

    At least now he knows what not to do if he wants to be ‘taken seriously.’ Drink water without making any noises! Ridiculous.

  18. Dragonflyboy

    Reblogged this on nealstotts.

  19. Social media fodder indeed! :=)

  20. It is amazing that the lap-dog media regularly ignores gaffes by the Democrats (like Bidens’ “put you’all back in chains” remark) but pounces on Rubio sipping a bottle of water. Can you imagine if a prominent Republican made that remark? It would have been front and center news for months. Consequently, I have lost respect for the liberal media which regularly furthers their political agenda over the truth and what is newsworthy.

  21. Cut him some slack. Until you have been facing the nation in front of a very unforgiving camera and have your mouth go dry…when it is supposed to be wet…you don’t understand. He is an exceptionally articulate man and we need more like him. He is great before the camera and is faced with giving an opinion opposite to the President of the United States…there’s pressure there….cut him slack.

  22. Not ready for primetime. Regardless he has a couple of years to work on those annoying brow and forehead wipes as well. I feel kind of bad if Marco Rubio is the best the GOP has to offer in 2016.

    • I agree. I don’t care for Senator Rubio, so I found it hysterical that he stared into the camera while he lunged for the water. Shouldn’t he or someone else have placed it within his grasp on camera? It didn’t help that he kept swiping away at his sweat. A fan or a few well-placed ice packs in his suit could have remedied his physical issues, but it wouldn’t have made his speech any better.

  23. I’m more concerned about what he said in his speech than how he looked when he was reaching for his water bottle. His speech basically sounded like a Romney campaign speech. What he may have forgotten is the fact that an election took place since then and the very talking points he put forward in his response were soundly rejected.

  24. Al Kline

    He may be our next president, so watch closely.

  25. Any vapid thing for a distraction from what is really going on. Our media is terrible. Loved this post. Congrats on Freshly Pressed! Good job.

  26. He simply needed water…was funny though but guess what? That simple gaffe that made him the laughing stock of America and the butt of all jokes also grabbed the attention of many and who knows….kinda helped people notice him more!!

  27. Yet liberals ignore the flies constantly landing on Obama’s face. btw, Rubio is not the GOP’s next big thing. Sorry.

  28. At least he didn’t have the “call of nature!” LOL

  29. You are absolutely right about the water moment being ” the only authentic thing ” . Sad , or what ?

  30. I didn’t think it was made out to be especially contraversial by “the media” as people are complaining that it was, but I saw a lot of fun being poked. It was an awkward moment for sure, and the ensuing jokes were hilarious. When he interviewed on FOX the next day he had a great sense of humor about it, and accepted the offer to take a swig before commencing that interview.

    I may not agree with all of his positions, but I do believe he is fully prepared for the national spotlight. His RNC speech was just fine.

  31. Yes, it was awkward and funny at the same time. Get the guy a drink!

  32. It is actually very simple. It is the Nixon/Kennedy debate. Kennedy won on TV because Nixon was sweating, pale, and looked nervous. Same with Rubio. It began with him wiping his temples. Then his mouth. Then the lunge for the water. It made him look nervous. Now, the lights are hot and he is a young Republican following the State of the Union. Plenty of reason to be nervous. However, image is everything in politics. People perceive nervousness as guilt. Guilt in a politician is never a good thing. I cringed when he began wiping his face, because I knew how that would be perceived. I guarantee his handlers were covering their faces and pulling at their hair in horror. Is it fair, no, but it would have been the same had it been a Republican President and a Democratic response. America loves to watch politicians flounder. And I agree, it did distract from the speech which may very well help the GOP…few followed up on his claim of living in a ‘working class neighborhood.’

  33. oneintercessor

    Some stuff just makes you laugh, like your title and saying, “Stay thirst, my friend.” I think it’s impressive how he talked so well, quickly glanced that faraway mini-quencher, retrieved it while barely taking his eyes off the camera, and kept on going, likely thinking, “Man, I can’t wait to gulp down a huge glass of water after this is over!” You can tell he was thirsty leading up to that less-than-fulfilling swallow. Great job, Rubio 🙂

  34. Unfortunately, “Watergate” will overshadow the ridiculous Republican CONTENTS of the speech. Republicans ludicrous obstruction to our President is damaging to our country. They are DEAD WRONG on how to get us out of this depression and they KNOW IT but it doesn’t matter to them. They don’t care about the country, they just try to find angles to get re-elected. Period!

  35. When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer stupidly asked if the sip of water might have ended Rubio’s career, it reminded me of Democrat Howard Dean’s run for the presidency. And how, by making him look like a loon for a moment of enthusiasm at a campaign rally, the media essentially destroyed his campaign. If you’re a person who looks to corporate media for fair and unbiased news reporting, you’re out of your mind.

  36. Others said that he wasn’t thirsty actually, but he was just looking for a break/breath and gain some time…but, it lasts about 2 seconds, maybe 3 or 4 lol after such a “tiny glop/amount of time won” I don’t think he feels much more different than before ^^ Some of the funny things we see from time to time.

  37. Rubio’s sip was simply awkward. He was constantly touching his hands to his face. I guess it doesn’t mean much about him as a person, but it kind of makes him appear as a bafoon.

  38. This entire episode is liberal smoke and mirrors to get your mind off of what President Obama’s agenda really is and what he has in store in the coming years. Deflection if you will is the tactic of the liberal press.

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