Smith and Leary did extensive interviews, including one with Rubio, and put together a concrete 1,200-word story that convincingly demonstrates that Rubio is not merely sitting on the sidelines waiting for a phone call from the GOP nominee—with the intention of declining.
In the process, the reporters also came away with a quote that suggests that when the media pays close attention to politicians say, at least in some cases it really can make the politicians more careful with their words. Here’s how Rubio explained the decision to hire a researcher:
“You make it sound a lot more exciting than it really is,” said Rubio. “I think any time you’re involved in a political endeavor it’s an ongoing process and you clearly want to be up to date on everything.
“The main thing is you don’t ever want to say something that’s not true, or be inaccurate, because the way words today are parsed in politics. Everything you say is going to be analyzed very carefully, so you want to make sure everything you say and do is 100 percent accurate.”
What the Times reporters did here is what has frequently kept them, and their partners at The Miami Herald, ahead of the competition on presidential campaign stories that involve Florida. The rest of the media in the Sunshine State should take note.