Yesterday afternoon, Mitt Romney took the unusual step of taking to the stage to announce that the ABC News story that Marco Rubio was not being considered for the VP nomination was “false” and that Rubio was “being thoroughly vetted” for the nomination. This after refusing earlier in the day in an interview with Sean Hannity to comment on the story, except to say that only he and Beth Myers knew who was being vetted and that “Beth Myers isn’t talking.” But now Romney is talking.
There are other clear signs. Rubio’s autobiography was rushed to press and released yesterday, after a previously announced October publication date. Nothing says “I’m a candidate” like a book release. Rubio also has altered his previously declaration that “I’m not going to be the Vice President” to “I’m not going to comment on the process”. Finally, in light of Obama’s reversal of course in announcing last week a change in immigration policy that effectively provides temporary amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants, Rubio announced that he would no longer pursue introduction of legislation that would provide a variation of the Dream Act. His proposal had draw considerable fire from conservatives.
Romney, for his part, took his lead from Rubio in his response to Obama’s new immigration position. Romney’s statement was almost verbatim Rubio’s earlier response, including that this would make it harder to enact permanent legislation.
Obama clearly fears Rubio the most among those being considered by Romney. That is the only explanation for why he stepped on his own message one day after giving what was billed as a “major speech on the economy” to announce the change in immigration policy. He clearly wanted to sabotage Rubio’s efforts to put together a coalition of Democrats and Republicans to enact a permanent solution. Obama is also depending heavily of Hispanic votes in Colorado, Nevada, and Florida, three swing states that are critical to his reelection chances. His calculation, however, may have been a miscalculation since it may have actually pushed Romney closer to choosing Rubio and since it got Rubio off the hook on this issue until after the election.
Yes, there are those (primarily the mainstream media and Republican insiders) who want Bush to choose a “boring white guy” for his Veep. Portman, McDonnell and Pawlenty are the three most likely suspects with Portman getting the most chatter. We’ve all heard the arguments in favor of this approach. But Marco Rubio may now have the inside track. However, don’t expect a decision any time soon.