Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a breakout star of the 2010 election and a tea party favorite, kept a low profile early on in the Senate. That's begun to change.
In a matter of days, Rubio made his opposition clear in a Wall Street Journal article to raising the federal debt ceiling and he has called on lawmakers to authorize force to capture Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Rubio, the son of Cuban exiles, drew attention last year when he took on former Gov. Charlie Crist for the Senate. Rubio won the GOP primary and staved off Crist's independent bid.
The 39-year-old former Florida House speaker had followed a path forged by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, both former senators: keep your head down when you reach the Senate, learn the ropes, don't make waves.
But aides said Rubio felt compelled to speak out as the Senate moved closer to considering a plan to raise the federal debt ceiling, a move most conservatives oppose.