Published February 14, 2013
It was awkward. It was a little funny.
But a "career-ender?"
That's the question CNN posed regarding Sen. Marco Rubio's water-swig during his response to the State of the Union Tuesday night.
While Twitter had its fun, and Rubio himself even joined in on the teasing, CNN's Wolf Blitzer devoted a segment to examining whether the moment could squelch his seemingly rising career.
"Can a drink of water make or break a political career?" Blitzer asked. "A U.S. senator, possible presidential candidate. We're going to find out, whether he likes it or not."
As a clip of the swig aired, the graphic on the screen then said: "Career-Ender?"
Conservatives ripped the network. Media watchdog Newsbusters called it absurd.
CNN later defended the graphic, saying it was just a joke.
"It was simply a tease (posing a question) leading up to a segment with our political contributors -- when Wolf specifically said no one thinks this will be a career-ender," a CNN spokeswoman told FoxNews.com.
During a panel discussion, Blitzer asserted Rubio's got a "huge future ahead of him." CNN analyst Cornell Belcher, though, claimed the night would haunt him through his career.
"He goes in stylistically, he's sweating like Nixon. He goes for the water in a really awkward way which will, quite frankly, be what's most remembered from this," Belcher said. "Style matters. And he fumbled."
CNN wasn't the only outlet to find the drink of water exceedingly newsworthy.
According to a tally by The Daily Caller, MSNBC replayed the clip roughly 155 times.
The play was indicative of how some outlets tried to turn the awkward moment into something more significant.
"The Rachel Maddow Show" played a loop of the swig over and over again Wednesday night.
Host Al Sharpton even took a drink from a gigantic Poland Spring jug, just to hammer home the mocking.
CNN played the clip 34 times. Fox News played it roughly a dozen times.