There's been a low bar for the opposition response to the State of the Union in recent years. By that standard, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., got a passing grade from both Democratic and Republican strategists in the latest National Journal Political Insiders poll.
Sixty-three percent of Democratic insiders gave Rubio's response to President Obama's address a passing grade, compared to 92 percent of Republican insiders.
What grade would you give Sen. Marco Rubio's response to the State of the Union?
Rubio's lunge for a bottle of water during the speech, did little to hurt the senator, insiders said, despite the Internet meme that ensued.
"Aside from 'water'-gate, it was a solid response," said one Democratic insider who gave Rubio a "B."
For Republicans, 21 percent gave Florida's junior senator an "A."
"The new face for the Republican Party delivered the kind of reasoned and passionate response for which we are all looking. Democrats should be very worried," said one GOPer.
Another Republican called Rubio the Republicans' next presidential nominee, while yet another said he's "the new leader."
Still, about a fifth of GOP insiders wanted to see new arguments made, and the speech fell short of that.
"He looks different, but the GOP was playing the same exact tune," a Republican operative said.
Hearkening back to the widely panned 2009 GOP response, one Democratic insider gave Rubio a failing grade.
"Two words: Bobby Jindal," the insider said.