U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a favorite among conservatives to run for president in 2016, will headline a private fundraiser at the home of Dot and Jim Patterson.
Photographer: Alex Sanz
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WASHINGTON -- Both sides from the dueling responses to the president's State of the Union speech are treading carefully heading into Tuesday.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, is giving the official Republican response to the president's speech. Rubio's colleague, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, will deliver the reaction from the Tea Party Express.
But the speeches won't happen simultaneously. A top official with the Tea Party Express, which is hosting Paul's address, says the Kentucky senator's speech will begin a few minutes after Rubio has finished his remarks.
Amy Kremer, the chair of the Tea Party Express, sees the twin speeches as a "victory" for the conservative movement.
"Tuesday night, we have two tea party senators responding to the president's State of the Union address. That is historic," exclaimed Kremer.
Rubio and Paul both rode the tea party wave into the Senate in 2010. Since his election, the Florida senator has distanced himself somewhat from conservative activists on the issue of immigration reform. Paul remains a self-described tea party Republican.
Rubio's top press aide, Alex Conant, was nearly as effusive about Paul's upcoming address.
"Glad that he's doing it," Conant told CNN. "As far as we're concerned, the more people responding to the president, the better."
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