Rubio's Water Break: The Reaction - WFLA News Channel 8

Rubio's Water Break: The Reaction

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

It was the sip heard around the World apparently: Marco Rubio's water break during his Republican response to the President's State of the Union address that left some viewers feeling a bit awkward.

"I think the biggest takeaway I got from Marco Rubio's speech last night is that he wanted more water - not more government," said University of South Florida Brandon Schuster as he laughed. "It was the hilariously awkward water grab."

Political analyst Susan MacManus says there was a lot riding on Rubio's speech. He's at the top of the list in public opinions polls of Republicans who could potentially run for President in 2016.

"This story spread like wildfire," she said after taking journalists calls from around the World Tuesday about the water break. "The expectations for Rubio's presentation were so high and a stumble like this certainly makes big news."

THE "ROMNEY" FACTOR
Rubio later sent out a photo of the Poland Spring water bottle, obviously poking fun at himself and the awkward moment. MacManus believes it was a smart move.

"Moments like this are either make or break times for a candidate," she said. "It is absolutely important if you've done something that looks ridiculous that you laugh. That humanizes you and that may very well be Marco Rubio's salvation from this incident."

USF student Katie Blair agrees.

"I think Marco Rubio really saved himself by poking fun at himself and it really humanized him - which is going to be really important in this next campaign," she said. "Romney really came from wealth and I feel like a lot of people couldn't relate to him."

WHAT WE CAN ALL LEARN
Blake Paxton is a second year doctoral student in the Department of Communications at USF. He teaches interpersonal communication and public speaking.

"We say so many things without even opening our mouths," Paxton said. "You might be saying ... the right thing but if your body is communicating something differently or your audience is able to see some of anxiety in you ... that could totally go against what you're trying to get across."

The senator wiped sweat from his face several times. Paxton said Rubio had a lot of anxiety and it showed.

"It's a natural part of giving presentations. It doesn't matter if you are the most skilled orator ever and you've done thousands of speeches...or it's your first time. There's always going to be some kind of anxiety," he said. "You'll never be able to completely control anxiety but there are ways to manage it."

He said there a physical things you can do before a big speech: Take time to relax and take deep breaths, go for a walk or listen to relaxing music.

AVOID CAFFEINE AND PAUSE
"Don't drink a lot of caffeine or sugar products," Paxton said. "People think that's something silly but caffeine can hype you up and make you jittery. If you're already anxious about the situation and now you've got coffee in you or soda...that's going to make you even more anxious."

It wasn't Rubio's only address of the night. He also recorded his remarks in Spanish.

"Pausing's okay...although I've never had a student who needed to take a drink of water during a speech," Paxton said. "It was more about how he did it. It was very rushed and you could tell he was shaking. He was trying to get it really fast and put it down."

Paxton said there are things we can all learn from this: "knowing your habits and you can better manage them."

"There are people who are scholars in the field that will come up with these big theoretical texts and really when it comes down to it - it's like practice, rehearse...get comfortable in front of an audience," he said.

He suggests presenters read scripts or speeches aloud three times before they give them. At that point, you'll know your weaknesses like dry mouth.

"Maybe that means I drink a whole thing of water before I speak," he said.

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