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Even before the Republicans chose a presidential nominee it was widely assumed that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would be at the top of anybody’s list of vice presidential candidates. The reasons are obvious: Not only is he young, charismatic and wildly popular with conservatives, but he could also help Republicans win a key state (Florida) and make inroads with Hispanics.
But knowledgeable Republican sources tell me that Rubio is not being vetted by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential search team. He has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates.
Although it is possible that Rubio may yet be asked to go through the vetting process, it has been nearly two months since Romney named his long-time aide Beth Myers to run his vice presidential search. The fact that Rubio has not been asked to turn over any documents by now is a strong indication that he is not on Romney’s short list of potential running mates.
Does this mean Rubio fans who wanted him to be Romney’s eventual pick should give up hope? Maybe not, says Ed Morrissey:
Check the calendar. It’s June. It wouldn’t take long for the committee to vet Rubio if they decide he’s worth a look for the short list, and Romney won’t announce his pick until just before the convention. They could have a profile of Rubio ready by the middle of next month at the latest, assuming that the immigration order announced by Barack Obama on Friday pushed Team Romney into reaction mode.
Rubio insists that the White House not only never reached out to him on immigration policy, they attempted to deliberately obstruct his progress on finding a bipartisan compromise on the issue. The Obama administration clearly fears Rubio’s power on immigration (and probably foreign policy and the economy as well). They may have feared most that he would succeed on immigration reform and make himself into a powerful VP choice for Romney. But that sells Rubio short. After all, he just arrived in the US Senate, and has plenty of time to build his own career rather than get lost as someone else’s VP. A term in the Senate and perhaps one as governor of Florida would put Rubio in position to lead a ticket rather than be a second banana.
I like the guy and, like Ed, think more experience under his belt would be immensely helpful before considering a national ticket, but I would not be unhappy if Team Romney did eventually vet and pick Rubio. That he gets under the skin of Democrats to the degree he does and threatens their stranglehold on one of their key voting blocs is more than enough reason for me to support him.
Update – 6:37 PM: Via WSJ:
HOLLAND, Mich. — Mitt Romney said Tuesday that Sen. Marco Rubio is “being thoroughly vetted” as part of his vice presidential selection process, dismissing an earlier report that the first-term Florida Republican wasn’t being considered as his running mate.
“The story was entirely false,” Mr. Romney told reporters at an impromptu gaggle outside an ice cream stand. “Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process.”
The comments mark an unexpected departure for a candidate — and a campaign — that has refused to discuss the selection process or any of the people being considered as the vice presidential nominee. The statement follows a story by ABC News that Mr. Rubio isn’t being considered for the post. The story was sourced to unnamed advisers.
“There was a story that originated today apparently at ABC based upon reports of supposedly outside unnamed advisers of mine,” Mr. Romney said. “I can’t imagine who such people are. But I can tell you this: they know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process.”
As they say, stay tuned …