ABC: Rubio not being vetted for Veepstakes

posted at 9:21 am on June 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Well, at least he hasn’t been vetted, although two months is a long time to wait to get started on someone who’s supposed to be a short-lister for the running-mate slot.  ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports that sources on Team Romney claim Marco Rubio has not been asked to provide any of the usual financial disclosures to the VP search committee — yet:

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.

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.

Clearly, though, it hasn’t.  Romney didn’t bother to engage on the policy itself over the weekend, choosing to attack Obama’s unilateral assumption of authority instead, as well as point out that Obama could have solved this problem any time in the first two years of his presidency, as his own party had solid control of Congress.  Rubio spoke out this weekend in the same vein, which he did with me in an exclusive* interview, primarily to talk about his new book An American Son but also to discuss the immigration issue:

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’m not surprised that Team Romney hasn’t vetted Rubio as a potential running mate.  Their best bet would be to look at the ranks of governors (Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Susana Martinez, Rick Perry) and hype the uber-competence credentials of such a combination.

* – Using the media definition of “exclusive,” which is “no one else was on our specific call at the same time.”


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