RNC Takes Responsibility For "Socialist" Mistake In Sen. Rubio's Fundraising Letter

March 18, 2011 12:54 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Sen. Marco Rubio

Yesterday, the St. Petersburg Times noticed an apparent shift in Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) rhetoric. In a fundraising letter for the Republican National Committee, the freshman senator described Democrats as "socialist," a word that he avoided using during his campaign:

But we cannot set the agenda -- or reverse the damage the socialist Democrats have made -- until commonsense conservative Republicans also control the U.S. Senate, and most important of all, we have a Republican President in the White House.

As it turns out, however, Rubio did no such thing. According to a statement from RNC Chief of Staff Jeff Larson, Rubio "expressly edited out" the words "leftist" and "socialist" from the text provided by the committee, but the unapproved version was mistakenly sent out anyway:

RNC Chief of Staff Jeff Larson sent Buzz this statement: "The RNC asked Senator Rubio to help with a fundraising letter. During our internal process, a mistake was made and an unapproved version was sent out. In fact, Senator Rubio had expressly edited out the use of the words 'leftist' and 'socialist.' The RNC takes full responsibility for this unfortunate incident."

Republicans were hopeful that the RNC's comedy of errors would end with the departure of Michael Steele. New chairman Reince Priebus has been less visible than his predecessor so far, but it appears the committee still has a long way to go.     

(h/t: Steve Benen)