Yeah, that’s the one I’ve seen the most buzz for on conservative Twitter in the early going, with Rubio/Walker a close second. It’s a no-brainer for a ticket: Young, racially diverse, executive plus legislative experience, midwestern appeal plus Florida roots, both candidates generally acceptable to both wings of the party. Given how complimentary Walker’s been of Rubio in the past, I’d say it’s a near-lock that he’s Walker’s first choice for veep. Just this past weekend, he even made an exception to his “nominate a governor” pitch for him:
Walker, who has in the past said the presidential nominee should be a governor, said a nominee with executive experience continues to be his preference “because governors don’t just talk and give speeches.” But he made an exception for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
“Someone like Marco Rubio I have real confidence in,” Walker said. “I think he’s got a great background. He and I agree on many issues, particularly on foreign policy and a strong national defense and I have great admiration for him.”
I’m curious to know how Team Rubio feels about that. On the one hand, it’s nice to be praised by another top-tier candidate. On the other hand, Walker/Rubio chatter does tend to put Walker at the top of the ticket, maybe because he’s a few years older or maybe because he’s the one with executive experience. As much as Rubio may appreciate the compliments, it’s bad news for his own candidacy if he ends up being seen through the prism of what a fine VP he’d make. Watch the second clip below from April and you’ll hear NYT reporter Jonathan Martin say that Team Marco isn’t crazy about the Walker/Rubio chatter and even suspects that some of it is “ginned up” by Walker fans, precisely because it encourages voters to put Rubio in the back seat. Makes me wonder if some of his own prominent fans and surrogates won’t start knocking Walker a bit in public to try to correct that perception. Case in point, Tom Coburn:
“Scott Walker I don’t think is ready. I think a lot of his successes were engineered by a lot of people not just necessarily Scott Walker and I don’t want a communal president. I want somebody that has strong core values, stand up and lead, can speak to it and actually accomplish what they say they’re doing rather than have other people accomplish it.”…
“I know Marco really well. I know his heart and I also know his brain. He’s pretty young but he’s pretty mature for his age and I think he’s a great man. I don’t know if he’ll make a great president, but he’s a great man, with great morals, and a great work ethic. And I don’t see anything negative other than maybe his wife has a heavy foot … It tells you that the politics are already being played even though we’re a year and a half out because he must be doing pretty well or else they wouldn’t be hitting him on something so stupid as his wife’s driving record.”
Exit question: If Rubio’s the nominee, are we destined for a Rubio/Walker ticket? For some reason that’s much harder for me to see than the other way around, but there are no midwestern Republicans out there who’d fit Rubio’s needs on the ticket as well as Walker would.