Why Isn't Marco Rubio Getting Vetted for Vice President?
As Mollie noted, this morning ABC News reported that Sen. Marco Rubio is not getting vetted for the vice presidency by the Mitt Romney campaign. The news comes the same day that Rubio's autobiography is coming out, which makes the whole thing seem a little petty. I have a theory as to why that is, but first, here's Josh Kraushaar on why Rubio was always an unlikely choice despite his strong conservative fan base:
In retrospect, the biggest clue that Mitt Romney wouldn't be looking to Rubio took place Sunday, when the Republican presidential nominee awkwardly batted away questions about Obama's executive order on CBS' "Face the Nation." It was clear that immigration was the last thing Romney wanted to talk about. Selecting Rubio would only underscore the divide in the Republican party between immigration reformers and restrictionists...
On his bus tour this week, Romney spent time in the white, working-class Rust Belt, hitting small towns without much of a Hispanic presence. It's becoming as important for Romney to win over white voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin as it is to appeal to Hispanics in Florida, Nevada and Colorado. As Ron Brownstein noted last week, Romney could win the election even if he loses the vast majority of minorities, thanks to Obama's Mondale-like standing among non-college educated white voters.
That's the electoral politics rationale, yes. But there's possibly another reason Romney was always unlikely to select Rubio: the sheer number of former Charlie Crist staffers on his payroll, who have already conducted opposition research against Rubio and know what it would turn up. And according to more than one consultant still engaged with the relevant parties, there's still a good deal of animosity at the staff level between these camps.
Does staff animosity toward a potential vice presidential pick sink their chances? No, but it does result in a staff more likely to point out a potential choice's defects to the candidate, which can help shift a once promising selection toward the bottom of the list. And now that it seems clear Romney's path to victory in 2012 runs through the working class of the Rust Belt, young Senator Rubio seems like a riskier choice with a higher upside... which has never been the type of approach Romney has made in his political career.
Update: A Rubio associate has now accused one former Crist consultant on Team Romney of leaking the information.
Late in the day, Romney himself insisted that Rubio is being fully vetted.