Gaffe Track: Marco Wants a Potent Potable With Malala

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.
“CHUG!” (John Locher / AP)

The candidate: Marco Rubio

The gaffe: It’s a classic political question: Which candidate would voters want to have a beer with? But when someone turned the question on Marco Rubio, the Republican came up with an odd answer.

Yes, that’s right: He wants to have a beer with a practicing Muslim who is not yet of drinking age.

The defense: Malala is pretty darn cool.

Why it matters (or doesn’t): Look, Marco Rubio is the most dudely candidate in the race, right? Is there a bigger bro in the field? Martin O’Malley, maybe, but he always seems to be trying too hard. It comes naturally to Rubio. This is a guy who can’t help but talk about the Dolphins constantly, even when they are 3-4. And yet the answer he comes up with isn’t Marino but Malala. Is this just awkward pandering, or is it the new masculinity?

The lesson: At least he didn’t say Roger Ailes. Or Karl Lagerfeld. Or even Walt Weiss.