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Lemons into lemonade. Or cold hard cash.

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It's a rare politician who can turn a gaffe into a positive.

Likely because it's a rarity that a politician - or anyone else for that matter - will agree to have a laugh at their own expense.

But Republican Sen. Marco Rubio from Florida is doing just that and he's cashing it in.

During a televised response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, Rubio awkwardly paused to grab a water bottle sitting just out of his reach, and out of camera ranger, and took a sip.

It was one of the moments people might raise an eyebrow at only because it was kind of awkward. Surely Rubio's handlers were covering their eyes in horror although truly, it wasn't really that much of a gaffe. The man needed water. Wouldn't it have been worse for him to suddenly stop being able to talk because his throat was like a desert?

Rubio however proved laughing at oneself can pay off. He has made fun of himself on various other televised appearances, made light of it during a visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Israel, and perhaps most importantly, he's laughing all the way to the political fundraising bank machine because of it.

His team quickly launched the Marco Rubio Water Bottle as a fundraiser, with his picture and the slogan: "Send the liberal detractors a message that not only does Marco Rubio inspire you…he hydrates you too."

More than 4,000 bottles were already snapped up at $25 a pop, and raised nearly $120,000 for his political action committee in a single week.

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.

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