The New York Times Wants You To Know About Marco Rubio’s Traffic Tickets For Some Reason

The New York Times is on top of the breaking news about Marco Rubio's driving record for some reason.


The most prominent newspaper in the United States of America apparently considered it a wise use of resources to assign reporters to research Marco Rubio’s driving record:

Senator Marco Rubio has been in a hurry to get to the top, rising from state legislator to United States senator in the span of a decade and now running for president at age 44.

But politics is not the only area where Mr. Rubio, a Republican from Florida, has an affinity for the fast track. He and his wife, Jeanette, have also shown a tendency to be in a rush on the road.

According to a search of the Miami-Dade and Duval County court dockets, the Rubios have been cited for numerous infractions over the years for incidents that included speeding, driving through red lights and careless driving. A review of records dating back to 1997 shows that the couple had a combined 17 citations: Mr. Rubio with four and his wife with 13. On four separate occasions they agreed to attend remedial driving school after a violation.

Mr. Rubio’s troubles behind the wheel predate his days in politics. In 1997, when he was cited for careless driving by a Florida Highway Patrol officer, he was fined and took voluntary driving classes. A dozen years later, in 2009, he was ticketed for speeding on a highway in Duval County and found himself back in driver improvement school.

Things got more complicated in 2011 when Mr. Rubio was alerted to the fact that his license was facing suspension after a traffic camera caught him failing to stop at a red light in his beige Buick. His lawyer, Alex Hanna, paid a $16 fee to delay the suspension and eventually it was dismissed.

“Senator Rubio’s license has always been in good standing,” Mr. Hanna said in a statement provided by Mr. Rubio’s campaign. “This matter was resolved by the court system and at no point was the license suspended by the D.M.V.”

That was not the last time Mr. Rubio was ticketed. In 2012 he was caught failing to obey a stop sign, but the infraction was dismissed.

But these intrepid journalistic pioneers didn’t stop there, they also looked up the driving record of Senator Rubio’s wife:

According to the records, her driver’s license faced suspension on three occasions, including after a 2009 episode where she was driving a white Cadillac at 58 miles per hour on a road in West Miami with a speed limit of 35 m.p.h. She paid a $302 fine and agreed to attend a four-hour course at a local traffic school.

However, Ms. Rubio, who also took a four-hour basic driver improvement course after a careless driving incident in 2000, failed to complete the class and had to pay another $34 penalty.

The lessons apparently did not stick. A year later, in 2010, she was stopped for driving 23 m.p.h. in a school zone where the speed limit was 15 m.p.h. She was fined $185.

It is not clear how the numerous infractions have affected the Rubios’ car insurance policy or premiums. On at least one occasion, Ms. Rubio was cited for lacking documentation that her car was insured.

I wish I could have been present for the editorial meeting where it was decided that this investigation was something worth pursuing for the Old Grey Lady. Who exactly was it who decided that looking up traffic records was a worthwhile use of time for reporters who, obviously, could be covering things far more important in the context of the 2016 election?  Yes, if a candidate for high office had a criminal record of some kind that would most certainly be relevant news, especially if it occurred in the recent past. If they’d been sued in the past for something related to their business dealings, that would arguably be relevant too. For the life of me, however, I cannot figure out how traffic tickets are relevant to a campaign for President of the United States, and I’m at even more of a loss in trying to understand how the driving record of a candidate’s spouse is even the least bit relevant. Does the Times believe that Marco Rubio is going to be behind the wheel of the campaign bus speeding dangerously on the highways of America? Is his wife going to be driving on the wrong side of the road while taking little old ladies to the polls on Election Day? Are they afraid that if Rubio is elected he’ll take over the driving duties on the Presidential limousene and put tourists visiting Washington, D.C. in danger? Or, is it just that there were two very bored Times reporters who wanted to make sure that their boss didn’t think they were just watching YouTube videos all day?

Is this what our news media has been reduced to? If so, then we are in far worse shape than I had thought.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. ElizaJane says:

    Agreed. This was a remarkably silly article. For what it’s worth, though, all they conclude is that if he’s elected president, having a driver will be a good thing. I mean, they’re not trying to make a lot out of the nothingness of it.

  2. T says:

    Actually, I think this says a lot more about Rubio and his wife than any interview could do. They clearly put themselves above the law and don’t see why they should have to play nicely on the roads like everyone else.

  3. Tillman says:

    For the life of me, however, I cannot figure out how traffic tickets are relevant to a campaign for President of the United States, and I’m at even more of a loss in trying to understand how the driving record of a candidate’s spouse is even the least bit relevant.

    But, but he wants to take the wheel! Of America! Shouldn’t we see how well he’s driven in the past? Driven literal cars made of metal and plastic, as opposed to cars made of flesh, patriotism, and paperwork? Endless frickin’ paperwork?!

    The public has a right to know any inane detail it wants about a candidate’s life! Which is why only the most shameless psychopaths want high office anymore.

  4. superdestroyer says:

    IF the NY Times was being honest, they would report equally on all of the candidates driving records.

    On a similar topics, during the Morning Joe program on MSNBC, the guests were making fun of the NY Times for burying the story concerning the EPA’s report on fracking.

    Does anyone believe that a story on an EPA report that said that fracking was adversely affecting drinking water would be buried on Page A12 of the NY Times or below the obituaries on the front page of the website?

  5. stonetools says:

    Well, actually, Doug, the NYT did do a serious report on Marco Rubio. Here is an excerpt:

    As Mr. Rubio has ascended in the ranks of Republican politics, Mr. Braman has emerged as a remarkable and unique patron. He has bankrolled Mr. Rubio’s campaigns. He has financed Mr. Rubio’s legislative agenda. And, at the same time, he has subsidized Mr. Rubio’s personal finances, as the rising politician and his wife grappled with heavy debt and big swings in their income.

    Now, with Mr. Rubio vaulting ahead of much of the Republican presidential field, Mr. Braman is poised to play an even larger part and become Mr. Rubio’s single biggest campaign donor, with an expected outlay of approximately $10 million for the senator’s pursuit of the White House.

    Oddly enough, you didn’t comment on that article. But you did this one. Huh.

  6. charon says:

    This story only matters if you think a President’s behavior tendencies matter.

    Which I do.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    C’mon Doug, they’ve got column inches to fill and this is way cheaper than reporting on policy.

  8. Scott says:

    So which of the other Republican nominees alerted the NYT to the traffic ticket story?

  9. ElizaJane says:

    @T: Come on, he’s had 4 tickets since 1997. Don’t get me wrong, I am NO fan of Rubio’s (and have never had a moving violation myself) but running a stop sign does not mean that you think yourself above the rules of the road. Around here, in liberal California, it makes you pretty normal. His wife on the other hand is clearly a Bad Driver.
    (Cannot believe that I am defending Marco Rubio!)

  10. John D'Geek says:


    … play nicely on the roads like everyone else.

    Wait? Play nicely? In Florida?!?!? That would be like claiming Connecticut has low taxes or New Jersey has the safest drivers in the nation ….

    Seriously, though … I lived in Florida for a bit. “Safe Drivers Course” has got to be political ploy … there just aren’t that many safe drivers down there.

  11. charon says:

    Is there any correlation between a President’s lack of caution and irresponsibility at driving and the way he would exercise his powers, for example his war powers?

    I do not know, but given this New American Century guy’s very hawkish statements, I would prefer not to find out.

  12. WJS says:

    Definitely not relevant because you can run over someone and kill them and still be First Lady and anyone who mentions that is automatically not a serious person.

    But if Hillary had a speeding ticket, it would be the end of democracy on planet Earth.

    Even the liberal New York Times…

  13. charon says:


    That is 4 more than I have.

  14. Ron Beasley says:

    I am 69 years old and have had 3 traffic tickets in my life. That number of tickets in that time period does represent a certain disrespect for the law which makes it relevant.

  15. Jack says:

    I consider this standard fare for Old Grey Lady. Right up there with recipes on page A above the fold.

  16. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Is this what our news media has been reduced to? If so, then we are in far worse shape than I had thought.

    I look forward to your delayed post about the article that stonetools linked to, especially considering the number of blog posts written about the Clinton foundation.

    Or is this blog post what this blog has been reduced to? And if so, what shape would you say that it is in?


    Sugar daddy is a slang term for a man who offers support (typically financial and material) to a younger companion (typically a female), with the sugar daddy getting favours (typically sexual) in return from the younger companion.

  17. CSK says:

    In Boston, this would be considered a good driving record, or at least a normal one.

  18. michael reynolds says:

    What it tells me is that these two are idiots. How do you get caught that many times? I drive up and down the 131 and the 101 every day and – like everyone else on the road – I speed. I’ve only been pulled over twice in the last 4 years and both times they let me go without a ticket.

    Obviously I should have a talk with Marco at some point and explain that cops lurk in certain places. They love to sit on a freeway on-ramp and wait to see you blazing by obliviously off in the fast lane then swoop down. So when you see an on-ramp about to join the freeway you slow a bit – not all the way, let’s not get crazy, but you knock five mph off and look right before regaining speed.

    And if you get the Waze app you may get advance warning of cop locations so you can. . . you know, be sure you’re obeying the laws.

    Really, speed limit laws are absurdly low. They date from an era before disc brakes, hi-tech tires, ABS, traction control, lane assist etc… If Rubio ran on an across-the-board 10 mph increase I’d support him.

  19. JKB says:


    Yeah, driving record is important.

    Not at all like a presidential contender who attended a church for years and never had a clue as to what the preacher preached.

    Of course, that guy has repeatedly told us that he never heard nothing about it until the reporter asked a question about it. Latest example, the OPM data breach. Apparently, Obama pays as much attention to his daily briefings as he did his racist pastor.

  20. WJS says:

    @JKB: Yeah, thanks Obama! You were asleep when those Chinese hackers attacked us!

  21. grumpy realist says:

    I’d worry about the “going through the red stop light” except based on my own experience that might simply mean he did a right-on-red and didn’t stop long enough for the camera to register it.

    Guess I’ll never be able to run for POTUS. Le sigh.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist: Actually one of my pet peeves. There is a moderately busy two lane street intersection with a stop light at the corner of my block. Using the cross walk is all your life is worth for right-on-red turners staring fixedly left before gunning it, many making no pretense of stopping. Stop, look both ways, go. How the frack hard is that?

  23. John says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What it tells me is that these two are idiots. How do you get caught that many times?

    Well, obviously….PROFILING! Cops are racist!

    Enough with your White Privilege, michael reynolds!

  24. Franklin says:

    First off, the spouse’s driving record is off limits and completely irrelevant, even if she was drinking and driving. Because she’s not the one running for president.

    But I do think there’s some sort of reasonable limit here for the candidate himself. People would take notice if he had 20+ tickets in 18 years, which shows some sort of recklessness that may represent his way of thinking. But he only has 4 tickets, more than most people but nothing outrageous.

  25. Paul L. says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    represent a certain disrespect for the law which makes it relevant.

    Exactly Why does this women Tanya Weyker who was arrested for DUI think she is entitled to have her Medical bills paid?

    Now the NY Slimes is lying about the source of this story.

    Wait. Dem oppo group pulled Rubio traffic records *last week* & NYT claims their “scoop” was totally original & timing coincidental? Okay.

    NYT claims that a F-150 truck is a SUV.

  26. Franklin says:


    … the spouse’s driving record is off limits and completely irrelevant …

    Just to clarify, it’s off limits and completely irrelevant with regards to Rubio’s candidacy. Obviously it is relevant to law enforcement (and other drivers).

  27. Scott says:

    @Paul L.: I thought it was a Jeb Bush operation. It was the Democrats. So what, either way. Still a stupid article.

  28. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The New York Times Wants You To Know About Marco Rubio’s Traffic Tickets For Some Reason

    Because David Brock, the head of American Bridge and Media Matters For America, fed them the information. And as noted, they’re lying about how they got the information.

  29. al-Ameda says:

    Full disclosure: Since 1985 I’ve received speeding tickets (9 in aggregate?) in the finest states on the west coast – always on the highway, never in residential areas, and always within breathing distance of the posted limit (80 in a 65, 65 in a 55, 77 in a 65, etcetera.) I drive 25,000 commute miles a year.

    That said, for the most part, only the ‘driving through red lights’ concerns me. THAT said, if I was Republican it wouldn’t keep me from voting for Rubio, not a deal breaker. Within reason, other factors are much more important.

    Put another way: Who would I vote for (1) Sarah Palin or Ben Carson with a perfect driving record or (2) virtually anyone else with Rubio’s driving record? Yep — anybody else.

  30. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    It’s a pity that Mary Jo Kopechne isn’t available for comment…

  31. David M says:

    So there hasn’t been a 7 year long temper tantrum that the Press didn’t do enough to investigate the backgrounds of Presidential candidates? WTF is going on here? First Pinky tries to claim that conservatives are deeply concerned with the truth, and now this?

    Do these morons think everyone else will just pretend the last 7 years didn’t happen? Not that I care about Rubio’s driving record, but it would be nice if conservatives even pretended to care about intellectual consistency.

  32. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It’s a pity that Mary Jo Kopechne isn’t available for comment…

    Of course, if the Rubio’s continue to run red lights there may be, in the future, a person or two who will also be permanently unavailable for comment.

  33. Matt says:

    @superdestroyer: You do realize that the majority of our water supply isn’t near oil wells and as such it’s no surprise that the EPA found no widespread effect on the nations water supply.

    Although just below the first paragraph there is this.

    Nevertheless, the long-awaited draft report found that the techniques used in hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, do have the potential to contaminate drinking water.

    It notes several specific instances in which the chemicals used in fracking led to contamination of water, including drinking water wells, but it emphasized that the number of cases was small compared with the number of fracked wells.

    Note that the majority of wells in the USA are fracked. It’s a fairly common technique these days according to the petroleum engineers that have come to speak at my college. I’d wager that there are several thousands of wells that are located offshore or nowhere near drinking water. So it’s absolutely no surprised that the number of cases contamination is small compared to the number of fracked wells.

  34. stonetools says:

    @David M:

    Indeed. If the right can hyperventilate about Obama’s birth certificate and Obama’s university transcripts, then the left wing can talk about whether Rubio’s blatant disregard for the traffic laws says something about his ability to “faithfully execute the laws of the United States.” Two can play the crazy game.
    The right wing long ago forfeited any right to people using any and everything to smear a candidate in order to win an election. It’s become par for the course for right wingers,so Jenos’ outrage here is entirely misplaced. We didn’t start the fire, Jenos.You want to get mad, get mad at Nixon, Atwater, Gingrich, Rove, the Swift Boaters, the Birthers, etc, etc, etc.

  35. grumpy realist says:

    @al-Ameda: Well, as said, it depends what “running a red light” means. I did a right on red (dedicated turn lane) after coming to a stop (the car STOPPED, dammit–I felt it!), but according to the camera I didn’t stop long enough for it to register on THEIR sensors, so I got dinged for $100.

    Moral of story: when dealing with a right-on-red turn, make sure you stop there long enough that it’s obvious.

  36. al-Ameda says:

    @grumpy realist:

    @al-Ameda: Well, as said, it depends what “running a red light” means. I did a right on red (dedicated turn lane) after coming to a stop (the car STOPPED, dammit–I felt it!),

    Oh, I agree. You did the much more socially acceptable red-light-run – from a right turn lane.

    I was thinking of the “damn, it’s yellow but I can make it” red light runners. Those types are all over San Francisco, and some boulevards are incredibly dangerous for pedestrians and cross street vehicles.

  37. Tyrell says:

    If anyone has ever driven in Miami they know that is the way everyone drives. As bad as D.C.

  38. Neo says:

    At least we know that Rubio still knows how to drive a car.
    How many years since that candidate in the other party drove a car ?

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    There’s never been a problem with the scrutiny the mainstream media gives presidential candidates, on average. If you balance the incredible scrutiny applied to Republicans (Mitt Romney’s high school misadventures, for example) and the free passes given to Democrats (John Edwards’ affair and out-of-wedlock daughter, for example), it comes out pretty balanced. Now if they could only distribute it a bit more equitably…

    But to recap: David Brock’s pro-Hillary SuperPAC dug up the Rubios’ driving records and fed them to the New York Times, who republished them and lied about how they got them.

    And I’d wager that many of the people who talk about how it reflects on the Rubios’ character never said a damned thing about Ted Kennedy killing a woman with his car, and probably didn’t like it when people brought up Al Gore III’s own driving misadventures.

  40. anjin-san says:

    Well, they both seem to have a pattern of driving recklessly. Put that together with the fact that their personal finances seem to be very chaotic, even with generous assistance from a wealthy patron, and it says something about Rubio that is not very flattering.

  41. superdestroyer says:


    But is should be a surprise to the editorial staff of the New York Times that has run numerous stories on the dangers of fracking. The NY Times support the ban on fracking in New York State.

    Of course, what the NY Times never admits is that without fracking the price of electricity would be much higher, the unemployment rate in the U.S. would be higher and the U.S. would be importing natural gas from the countries that are willing to use fracking. What the NY Times editorial board seems to believe is that the use of fracking in the U.S. has no impact on the price of energy.

  42. anjin-san says:


    without fracking the price of electricity would be much higher, the unemployment rate in the U.S. would be higher and the U.S. would be importing natural gas from the countries that are willing to use fracking

    Got data?

  43. Matt says:

    @superdestroyer: There are very real dangers from fracking. Just because the vast majority of wells are located in areas where the danger doesn’t matter doesn’t mean that the dangers suddenly vanish.

    The range of the effect of the dangers might be far bigger then we expected. Look to Oklahoma and the massive rise in earthquakes since widespread fracking for example.