Fox News Latino's full interview with Congressman Charles Rangel, conducted by Juan Williams, is posted above.
Charles Rangel, the 82-year-old congressman from New York, a Democrat, said in a Fox News Latino exclusive interview that Sen. Marco Rubio embarrassed himself and the Republican Party with a poor response to President Barack Obama’s SOTU address.
"Most people were embarrassed by his performance, he didn't live up to the expectations that Republicans had," said Rangel.
In his response to the president’s speech, Rubio appeared nervous and he began to sweat, appearing to dab his forehead left and right and also wiping his mouth. He then appeared to have trouble speaking because his mouth was dry and his breathing became labored. Finally he reached out of the television shot to get a bottle of water and quickly drink from it. He did not appear to be the polished political figure that Republicans had been advertising.
Rubio, 41, the Florida senator who is the son of Cuban immigrants, has been described as a “savior” for the Republican Party by Time Magazine. His response to the SOTU was broadcast in Spanish as well as in English in the hopes of trying to reverse big losses by the GOP in 2012 that are being attributed to the failure to attract Latino voters.
For example President Obama won over 70 percent of the Latino and many senate races in several states appear to have been decided by the rising numbers of Latino voters.
Rangel, the son of a Puerto Rican father who represents a heavily Dominican and Puerto Rican district in Harlem, described the Republican Party as using Rubio to disguise the fact that they have been antagonistic to Latinos' political interests, beginning with immigration reform.
"No matter what you hear about expanding the Latino base, they're talking about how they need them to get elected, they need them to save the Republican Party. But they never said they need them because they need Americans and we need the diversity," said Rangel.
Rangel mentioned in the interview that he’s hearing from his constituents that Republicans have to prove they like Latinos in order to make a convincing case to win their votes.
The split between the older Democrat Rangel and the younger Republican Rubio is representative of a larger political split in the Latino community. At the moment Republicans are failing to attract Latino immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, even as the GOP continues to do best with Latinos who come from Cuba.
The Republicans' hope is that the bilingual Rubio can make inroads with the larger and growing base of non-Cuban Latinos.
Rangel’s open expression of disdain for Rubio could be a first act in the political drama to come when a prominent young Democrat of Mexican heritage, Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, begins his rise as a competitor for Rubio.
Juan Williams is a Fox News political analyst. He is the author of several books including "Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It" and "Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate."