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Marco Rubio Gives the Boot to Mocked Footwear

2 minute read

Amid questions about tensions in the Middle East and research dollars for Alzheimer’s, Marco Rubio on Thursday fielded a question about his shoes. Yes, his shoes.

The White House candidate is campaigning in show-covered New Hampshire, where voters are scheduled to cast their ballots on Feb. 9. As is custom, Rubio opens his events for questions and comments from all comers. And one voter in Nashua, New Hampshire, wanted to praise Rubio’s decision to ditch a pair of heeled boots that won him mockery online.

“You made a better shoe choice today,” the man told Rubio.

The first-term Senator had a chuckle about it and tried to be a good sport.

“So let me get this right: ISIS is cutting people’s heads off, setting people on fire in cages. Saudi Arabia and Iran are on the verge of war. The Chinese are landing airplanes on islands that they built,” Rubio said, forcing a smile. “Our economy is flat-lined, the stock market is falling apart. But, boy, are we getting a ton of coverage about a pair of boots. This is craziness. Have people lost their minds?”

Why Republicans Run in Cowboy Boots

Politics. Personalities. USA. pic: August 1981. Santa Barbara, California. President Ronald Reagan shows off his cowboy boots. Ronald Reagan (born 1911) became the 40th President of the United States serving from 1981-1989.
Like a lot of Republican ideas, the trend toward wearing cowboy boots began with Ronald Reagan.Popperfoto/Getty Images
President George W. Bush, showing off boots with the presidential seal here at his inauguration, furthered the trend.Pablo Martinez Monsivais—AP
Cowboy Boots Tim Pawlenty
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, shown here on the stump in Iowa, favored cowboy boots.Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images
Cowboy Boots Rick Santorum
They're also a favored fashion statement for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.NBC News/Getty Images
Cowboy Boots Rudy Giuliani
Even former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was known to sport a pair.Jose Luis Magana—AP
Cowboy Boots Sarah Palin
It's not just men. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been known to put on a pair of cowboy boots.Jeff J. Newman—ZUMA Press/Corbis
Huckabee Campaigns As January 3rd Iowa Caucus Approaches
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also goes for the look.Justin Sullivan—Getty Images
Like his predecessor, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry long favored cowboy boots, but he's no longer able to wear them.Tom Worner—AP
Ted Cruz
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is also a fan.Charlie Neibergall—AP
On the Road with Rand Paul
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul also favors boots with blue jeans, a classic Western look.Charles Ommanney—Getty Images
Cowboy Boots Bobby Jindal
These days, if you're running for president as a Republican, chance are good that you are wearing cowboy boots.Richard Shiro—AP
Cowboy Boots Paul Ryan
Even Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has been known to wear them.J.D. Pooley—Getty Images

The minor brouhaha started Monday, when a New York Times political correspondent tweeted a picture of the black boots. It quickly became a Thing in this campaign. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul called them cute. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said his own shoes weren’t high-heeled. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s spokesman said “a vote for Marco Rubio is a vote for men’s high-heeled booties. Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina asked Rubio is he could wear boots with heels as high as hers. ANd Politico tracked down the maker: Florsheim. The whole incident was a reminder that politics can be petty and trivial.

“I got a chuckle out of it,” Rubio insisted, while wearing a different pair of shoes. “Who knows? Maybe they’ll make a comeback soon. Stay tuned.”

Read More: Republicans Fight to Be the Not-Trump in New Hampshire


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Write to Philip Elliott / Nashua, N.H. at philip.elliott@time.com