Barely 24 hours after Hillary Clinton's relatively low-key entrance into the 2016 presidential race, Republican Marco Rubio will declare his own intentions amid much fanfare on Monday evening, at a lively campaign launch stage-managed for maximum exposure.
Florida's junior senator has chosen to make his announcement at Miami's Freedom Tower, where hundreds of thousands of fleeing Cubans were processed for immigration in the years following Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution, in an act of deep symbolism. Rubio, who is the son of Cuban exile parents and an outspoken critic of Barack Obama's conciliatory new approach to Havana, is widely popular with the city's large and influential population of hardline expatriates.
The 43-year-old father of four, however, received an early indication of the strong headwinds that lie in his path with the upstaging of his "big announcement" by Clinton's declaration on Sunday. Rather than focusing on the upcoming Rubio campaign in interviews, spokesman Alex Conant instead found himself answering questions about being overshadowed, insisting that Monday's Miami event would still be "ground zero".
"We'll give Hillary Clinton this afternoon and tomorrow morning," Conant said. "Tomorrow afternoon we're going to turn the page and allow Marco Rubio to make his big announcement and talk about the future. We're going to talk about the challenges facing America in the 21st century and we're going to offer new ideas for how to make this a new American century."