“Isn’t it reasonable for these conservatives to assume that you’ve been duped here?” – Laura Ingraham

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THE TV AD starring Marco Rubio finally popped up over the weekend or at least that’s when I finally saw it. As you’ll see when you watch the ad above, it’s basically trying to bolster his conservative cred while trying to convince the Republican base he hasn’t beed duped.

Laura Ingraham, talk radio’s leading female right winger, asked that very question recently, which sent Marco Rubio scrambling.

“No, it isn’t,” Rubio responded, “because the fact of the matter is that this bill reflects principles that I issued back in January on immigration reform that were different from the principles the president had laid out. In essence, they’ve come to our position. We haven’t gone to theirs.”

One of the main concerns of radio talk show hosts, Tea Party activists and conservative bloggers is that Rubio and other Republicans are giving away too much on an issue they believe mostly helps Democrats.

The problems Marco Rubio face are real. They begin with the man who helped him get where he is, Jim DeMint, Tea Party king and head of the Heritage Foundation, an organization that Rush Limbaugh trumpets daily. From the New York Times on Monday:

And yet, perhaps for the first time, the two men now find themselves at odds on a major issue. In 2007, Mr. DeMint was instrumental in helping to kill legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, and now, six years later, Mr. Rubio, Republican of Florida, is a pivotal member of a bipartisan Senate group that has written a bill that would do just what Mr. DeMint was fighting to prevent.

As Mr. Rubio’s immigration push meets vocal and persistent opposition, it will be Mr. DeMint, newly ensconced as the president of the Heritage Foundation, among those leading the charge. The foundation plans to issue an updated version of its 2007 economic study that helped doom the overhaul.

What happens if Marco Rubio wins on immigration, but loses any chance to run for president by doing it? For Marco Rubio’s future and that of Republicans hoping to make headway with the largest rising demographic in the country, this is the whole ballgame.