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What Happened to Marco Rubio?


Marco Rubio was the breakout star of the Tea Party movement, but with Independent, Republican and Democratic candidates in the Florida Senate race, the Florida state House Speaker's campaign has seemed to lose some momentum.

"He was viewed as the rising star of the conservative moment, but he has struggled to get some attention in this new three ring circus," New York Times' chief political correspondent Jeff Zeleny told CBS News' Jan Crawford on Tuesday's "Washington Unplugged."

Zeleny called into the webcast from Pensacola where he is traveling with the Rubio campaign. "He peaked early this year, he got a lot of attention but now he is in an unusual fight," he said.

With a week to go to primary, Zeleny characterized Florida as "one of the most interesting places in the country." What happened to Marco Rubio is not the only question mark in the primary. Some question who President Obama is actually backing -- Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek, the establishment candidate who still faces a primary next week versus billionaire Jeff Greene, or Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican now running as an Independent.

"I'm hearing that some in the White House are not sure Meek would be the strongest candidate in November and in fact, the president would not be disappointed if Independent Charlie Crist ended up winning there," CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer said Tuesday on the show.

Former President Bill Clinton has campaigned in South Florida this week for Meek. "Officially President Obama is behind Meek, but it is a week before the primary and Obama is making his first trip down to support him," Zeleny reported.

If sent to to the Senate, it's possible Crist would caucus with Democrats.

"The end game for Democrats is holding on to control of the Senate," Zeleny said. "The White House is doing the pragmatic thing here."

Watch the show above, which also includes an interview with Politico's Kiki Ryan on the big entertainment stories this week in D.C.

"Washington Unplugged,"'s exclusive daily politics Webshow, appears live on each weekday at 2 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.

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