Morning must-read: the Rubio and Ryan makeovers

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Marco Rubio doesn’t want to be the ‘Hispanic candidate.’ Paul Ryan doesn’t want to be the ‘austerity guy.’ Both want to run for president, or keep the option wide open. So each is trying to change his own image – and with it, the Republican Party’s – starting [tonight] with dueling speeches at the Jack Kemp Foundation’s awards dinner. While Congress dawdled this summer, Rubio, 41, assigned his policy experts to figure out ways to help make the middle class wealthier … Reaching out to academics and think tanks to build Rubio’s network, the senator and his staff developed a two-year reinvention project and an ‘upward mobility agenda,’ including programs like early childhood education, school choice and incentives for entrepreneurs. … ‘The answer,’ Rubio will say in his after-dinner remarks, ‘is not to make rich people poorer. The answer is to make poor people richer.’ …

Ryan, 42, will kick off his own drive to redefine the party – and himself – as the pre-dinner keynote speaker, … detailing his thinking on how people of all classes can rise up economically and improve socially. Top Republicans tell us Ryan tried to push his ideas for a more creative ‘war on poverty’ during the presidential campaign but was muzzled by nervous Nellies at Mitt Romney’s Boston headquarters who didn’t see an immediate political payoff. So Ryan seethed when the ’47 percent’ tape emerged, convinced that the impact was worse because the campaign had no record on issues relating to inclusion or poverty, exacerbating the out-of-touch image that the hidden camera cemented. …

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal – the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association and himself a possibility for 2016 – told us[:] ‘The rich can defend themselves … It’s not about betraying our principles or becoming a second Democratic Party but, rather, showing how our principles work to help real families, and connecting that to the American dream.’ … Ryan will speak on strengthening civil society and improving social and economic mobility – areas where he believes serious Republicans and serious Democrats can find common ground in an otherwise bifurcated Washington.

Excerpted from Behind the Curtain via Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.