"To suggest my family's story is embellished for political gain is outrageous," Rubio said in a statement. "The dates I have given regarding my family's history have always been based on my parents' recollections of events that occurred over 55 years ago and which were relayed to me by them more than two decades after they happened. I was not made aware of the exact dates until very recently."
Rubio's family history has been an important part of his political identity for years, and he often refers to himself as the "son of exiles."
His official biography says "In 1971, Marco was born in Miami to Cuban-born parents who came to America following Fidel Castro's takeover."
From the Post:
[A] review of documents -- including naturalization papers and other official records -- reveals that Rubio's dramatic account of his family saga embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio's parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than 2Â½ years before Castro's forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year's Day 1959.
But Rubio says that his story wasn't inaccurate, because his family members went back a few years later. He said in a statement Thursday that after moving to the U.S., his mother and older sibilings returned to Cuba in 1961 while his "father stayed behind wrapping up the family's matters in the U.S." But shortly after moving back, Rubio says, his mother "fully realized the true nature of the direction Castro was taking Cuba" and came back to America a month later.
"They were exiled from the home country they tried to return to because they did not want to live under communism," he said. "That is an undisputed fact and to suggest otherwise is outrageous."
American Bridge 21st Century, the Democrats' PAC funded by anonymous donors, has already cut an ad asking, "Did Marco Rubio embellish his family's story for political gain?"
Marc Caputo of the Miami Herald reports that Rubio said in a recent interview that his parents came to the U.S. before Castro took power:
Rubio's office has told both the Washinton Post, the St. Petersburg Times and The Miami Herald that his parents came to the United States prior to Castro taking power. And he has said it more than once. In the article we wrote last month about his pending autobiography, Rubio clearly told us his parents came here before Castro took power. He struggled to recall the year (this isn't in the story, it's in my notes) and said it was in "57 or 58 or 59."
When asked pointedly: Was it before the revolution? Rubio said it was before the revolution.
The questions first came to light after the St. Petersburg Times reviewed his naturalization records over claims by a birther who said Rubio would not be qualified to be president because he wasn't born in the U.S.