POLITICS

Marco Rubio gets rock star treatment from young Republicans in packed Cleveland bar

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., greets supporters after speaking at a rally at Town Hall in Cleveland, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, before Thursday's first Republican presidential debate being held at the Quicken Loans Arena. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., greets supporters after speaking at a rally at Town Hall in Cleveland, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, before Thursday's first Republican presidential debate being held at the Quicken Loans Arena. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Ahead of the first GOP presidential debate, Sen. Marco Rubio got a little love from hundreds of Republican college students in Cleveland, showing young conservatives are excited by the Florida senator.

Sporting a tie-less blue shirt and joined by his wife, Jeanette, Rubio kept the vibe playful, clicking with the college students at TownHall bar on Wednesday.

According to the Washington Post, Rubio bantered in Spanish with the audience, touching on his usual themes and joking that he'd come to Cleveland early to try “to convince LeBron James to come back” to the Miami Heat.

“Don’t worry,” Rubio said amid some boos from the crowd. “It didn’t work, it didn’t work.”

Football also came up.

“You’re a patriot!” a woman reportedly yelled near the end, the Post reported. “I’m actually a Dolphins fan,” Rubio replied, playing with the words.

He said his lack of sympathy for embattled New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has cost him votes in New Hampshire.

Aside from the jokes and laid back attitude, Rubio touched on the issue affecting thousands of college students around the country: loans.

He opened up about his own college loans that at one time totaled nearly $100,000, and then he mocked the news reports about his purported luxury boat.

“Any boat where you have to go to the bathroom off the side of the boat is not a yacht,” he quipped.

Rubio, who never brought up Donald Trump and mentioned tonight’s debate just in passing ("don't miss the debate!"), focused his attention on promises of making the U.S. greater for younger Americans.

“This is still a great country, but it can better,” he said. “It is being held back by leaders who do not understand the 21st century.”

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