Marco Rubio's State of the Union Response Drink: A Deconstruction

Elspeth Reeve
The Atlantic Wire

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was giving a pretty good Republican rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union address — in the top 10 percent of rebutters, really — when he awkwardly took a drink in the middle of talking. What was so funny about Rubio's not-so-smooth slug was that he tried to maintain eye contact with the camera as he reached for, and drank from, his mini-bottle of Poland Spring. Rubio must have been pretty thirsty, though there were no giveaway glances at the bottle before he dove for it. But make no mistake: This was a very consequential sip of water, given that Rubio's lines about "big government" were quite familiar, as was his biography. That made his sip the most memorable thing about his speech. Let's break down the one moment America may remember about Tuesday night more than Obama's gun refrain.

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First, there was the look — was the water still there? Rubio saw that it was.

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Then, the reach. Rubio did this while maintaining eye contact with the camera and keeping his head level. Our of frame, he must have been doing a weird crouch.

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At the moment of contact, Rubio must break eye contact with the TV audience and look at his beverage. A false move and he would have toppled the mini-bottle! So it's a quick camera-bottle-camera zag. Poor guy didn't know his nose was behind the C-SPAN logo.

Mini-bottle in hand, Rubio drinks while regaining his posture. He stares deeply into the eyes of TV Land. As he sips, he seems to think he's doing something wrong, but he can't stop.

Thirst quenched, he then sets the bottle down.

Bottle dealt with, Rubio actually talks his way back up, into position, at which point he clasps his hand together, as if he's getting back to business.

The full thing:

Rubio, who seems to have a sense of humor, is trying to own the moment. He tweeted: