Is Marco Rubio just being coy, or does he want to tamp down speculation because he’s tired of answering the question? It didn’t hurt either Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney among conservatives in Florida to suggest in the last debate that Rubio might be short-listed as a running mate, but Rubio was so intent on denying any interest in the job that he almost gave that answer to the wrong question at the beginning of this Fox News interview from earlier this afternoon:
Rubio stops short of “guaranteeing” a Florida win in the primaries, but obviously believes that Obama will have a very difficult time picking up this important swing state:
As voting is underway for the Florida primary, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) weighs in on the importance of the Sunshine State’s votes, saying, “I think in the long turn, if you win Florida in a Republican primary, your chances of winning the general election are very high.” …
When it comes to Obama’s votes in the state of Florida, he thinks people will remember that he has been president for the last four years and has made everything worse. “He’s gonna come to Florida and ask for a four year extension after failing his first four years, and I don’t think he’s gonna get it, at least not from Floridians.”
Rubio would be smart to refuse an invitation to join the ticket. Few Vice Presidents have won the Presidency on their own after serving another President without ascending to the office through death or resignation. George H. W. Bush did it in 1988, and Richard Nixon in 1968 — but it took him two tries to get there. Before that, one has to go back to Martin Van Buren to get to the next example. Vice Presidents tend to turn into historical footnotes or acccidental Presidents at best. If Rubio has ambitions for the top job, he would be better served by finishing his Senate term and then running for governor in Florida to build the kind of resume that would make him formidable in a national fight.
With all of Rubio’s talent. it’s easy to remember that he only started serving in the Senate last year and still has no executive experience in electoral politics. The GOP has other options for running mates among the governors who could help build outsider, reform credentials for a nominee who might really need that kind of boost within the party. I mentioned Bobby Jindal earlier today, but the tough-DA-turned-Governor Susana Martinez has served in her new capacity as long as Rubio has in his; both Nikki Haley and Bob McDonnell have fought ObamaCare from their executive positions in South Carolina and Virginia, respectively. We need Rubio to grow to his maximum potential rather than get lost in the musty archives of history so soon in his career. I believe Rubio understands that as well.
Update: Two corrections: I misspelled Martinez’ first name, and Martinez was a district attorney, not the AG. I’ve corrected both above.