Wouldn’t it be ironic if a Republican politician called for everyone to chill out for a while and let Mitt Romney engage in his process for picking a running mate — and used it as a springboard for even more speculation? Oh, wait — that’s not irony, it’s punditry. Either way or both at the same time, I doubt that anyone will take Marco Rubio’s advice and find something else to discuss for the next three or four months … like, say, dog handling or cookie analysis:
Rubio says, ““The last thing he needs are those of us in the peanut gallery to be saying what we would or would not do,” so of course that’s the first thing the rest of us will do. Callum Bortchers at the Boston Globe interpreted Rubio’s remarks as to reopen the question of whether he would accept an invitation onto the ticket:
Florida Senator Marco Rubio downplayed his higher office aspirations in a TV interview aired Sunday, refusing to discuss his vice presidential prospects and saying he does not think about becoming president some day.
But the statements by Rubio, a first-term Republican with a burgeoning national profile, were softer than ones he made last week, when he told the National Journal that he would say no if presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney asked him to be his running mate.
“Let me just say this about the vice presidential process,” Rubio said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Up to now it’s all been theoretical. We have a nominee now, and our nominee, Mitt Romney, the leader of the Republican Party, has a vice presidential process in place. And I think from this point moving forward, I think it’d be wise for all Republicans to kind of respect that process, myself included, and say moving forward, we’re going to let his process play itself out.”
I didn’t get that at all. What I heard was Rubio refusing to even play along with the question, although he did suggest earlier that Jeb Bush would make a great choice for Romney, when Candy Crowley started off by noting that Bush was pushing Rubio as the running mate. Bush himself categorically stated yesterday that he wouldn’t get the offer, and that the media should get over the idea:
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the son of one U.S. president and the brother of another, said he wants to put to rest any talk of him becoming the running mate of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“I am not going to be the veep nominee,” Bush said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “Lay that to rest.”
The question arose after an earlier interview with the Newsmax.TV website in which Bush didn’t rule out the idea. In the interview, he touted the qualifications of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida for the second spot on the ticket. …
“I guess I wasn’t clear enough,” he said.
I like Jeb Bush, and on paper, he seems like a great choice. He remains incredibly popular after a long, successful run as governor of a critical swing state in the election this year, and while he’s not exactly a darling of the base, he would bring regional balance and potentially some enthusiasm from Latino voters. There’s only one fly in the ointment — his last name. Adding Jeb to the ticket would allow Team Obama to run against George Bush all over again in 2012, a strategy that they will pursue anyway but with little credibility — at least without a Bush on the ticket. Jeb’s smart enough to know that, and so is Mitt Romney.