Conservatives Push Rubio as Romney’s Running Mate

Posted June 12th, 2012 at 7:35 pm (UTC+0)

Republican Veterans Want to Avoid Repeat of Palin Fiasco

If conservatives get their way, they will try to force Mitt Romney to pick Senator Marco Rubio of Florida as his vice presidential running mate.  Two recent opinion polls of conservative groups sponsored by the Washington Times newspaper found growing support for Rubio to join Romney on the Republican Party ticket, despite betting from more senior Republicans that Romney will go with a more established, safer choice like Ohio Senator Rob Portman.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is the favorite of many conservative Republicans to be their vice presidential candidate. Photo: AP

A poll of those attending the Conservative Leadership Conference in Las Vegas and another survey of activists at the Conservative Political Action Committee in Chicago both found the most support for adding Rubio to the Republican ticket.  Twenty-eight percent of those meeting in Las Vegas mentioned Rubio as their top choice, while 30 percent of those at the CPAC event in Chicago chose Rubio.

Others who did well in the two polls were New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.  But some other notable Republicans did not fare as well, including Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, fresh of his recall victory last week, and Senator Portman Rob Portman of Ohio.  Portman mustered only 2 percent of the vote in the Chicago poll despite the fact he is one of the contenders most often mentioned by Republican insiders as their pick to be on the ticket with Romney.

Rubio’s charisma and Cuban-American roots excite a lot Republicans looking for a new, younger option who could appeal to Hispanic voters, a growing constituency that at the moment overwhelmingly supports President Obama.  Rubio was also elected with Tea Party support in Florida and his selection could further energize an important voting bloc within the Republican Party for November.

Will presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney take the safe path in choosing his vice presidential running mate? Photo: AP

But detractors question whether Rubio has enough government experience. They argue that Romney needs to choose a more seasoned politician as vice president, especially in the wake of John McCain’s controversial decision four years ago to pick the untested governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.

Conservative activists love Rubio and insist he would be a much more exciting choice than contenders like Portman, Senator John Thune of South Dakota, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell or former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who some in the Romney campaign see as a comfortable fit in the number two slot.  Some Republicans pushing for Rubio deride the safer picks as “boring white guys.”  They argue that Romney should do something more to shake up the race before the Republican National Convention gets underway the last week in August in Tampa, Florida.

Beyond the usual vice presidential suspects, there are lesser known Republicans Romney could choose from.  They include Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.  The problem with many of the lesser-knowns is that they will invite comparison to McCain’s choice of Palin four years ago — and that may be the number one thing the Romney folks want to avoid at this point.

I think it’s still more likely than not that Romney will choose the safe path, the one that abides by that old maxim of picking a running mate that says, “First, do no harm.” But it’s also likely that many names will get mentioned either directly or indirectly by the Romney campaign between now and when the choice is revealed to maximize the exposure of some of the other contenders who will be campaigning on Romney’s behalf in the fall campaign.

No harm in mentioning a lot of names and getting some up and coming Republicans national exposure.

Some of the better known names that have been bandied about might not be a good fit because they might overshadow Romney. That applies to the occasionally bombastic New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie.

Another prominent Republican, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, has taken himself out of the running, though given the continuing negative hangover from his brother’s administration — among even some Republicans — that may not be a big issue.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush has taken himself out of the running for the vice presidency. Photo: Reuters

Also, Bush has further annoyed some of his Republican colleagues lately, telling an audience in New York that even former President Ronald Reagan would struggle in today’s party with what he called “an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement.”

What seems to be clear at this point is the interest in joining Mitt Romney on the ticket as the number two Republican is growing, primarily because more and more party members now believe Romney can beat President Obama in November. In that context, being Romney’s running mate would be a worthwhile.

Conservatives and mainstream Republican stalwarts alike are beginning to express confidence about Romney’s chances this year. That confidence is reflected in Romney’s fundraising prowess, and in the increased focus on several so-called battleground states this year, states that Mr. Obama won handily four years ago.

Romney’s upcoming bus tour will begin in New Hampshire and then move through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan, all states the President Obama won in 2008 and states that will likely determine the winner of this year’s contest.

The Romney camp is looking to make inroads with independent voters in those states who may be on the cusp of abandoning Mr. Obama because they are frustrated with the state of the economy.





11 responses to “Conservatives Push Rubio as Romney’s Running Mate”

  1. Paul Smith says:

    Not this conservative. This conservative knows that Rubio (and Jindal) are not constitutionally eligible to be the POTUS and that millions of conservatives will not vote for a ticket that includes an ineligible candidate.

  2. JoAnne Hadler says:

    This is not a popularity contest. Choosing the vice president is a man who can take over as president. Rubio though a nice man, lacks the experience to be Vice President just as I felt Obama did. I think people should stop pressuring Romney. It is his running mate and the man knows a great deal about how to create success. Why have him pick some one he would have to train. A large corporation would not hire Rubio as president. Why do people think he should go for the biggest job in the country? I think people should stop playing politics and talking about excitement as though that is the most important thing to consider. This is more important than that. Paul Ryan would be a better choice, but there are others as good and more experienced.

    • Paul Smith says:

      Yeah, but the issue is that anyone who was really qualified would upstage Obamney. Can’t have that.

  3. Kyle says:

    “Not this conservative. This conservative knows that Rubio (and Jindal) are not constitutionally eligible to be the POTUS and that millions of conservatives will not vote for a ticket that includes an ineligible candidate.” – Paul Smith

    Seriously???? Rubio was born in Miami, FL and Jindal was born in Baton Rouge, LA. So how again are they ineligible?

    Either one would be a fantastic addition to the Romney ticket.

    • Paul Smith says:

      A natural born citizen is a person who was born on U.S. soil AND of parentS who were citizenS at the time of the birth. Both Jindal and Rubio are ineligible because their parents were not U.S. citizens when they were born. If you’d like more info, check out

      • Sean says:

        Wow. Actually, Rubio’s parents ARE and WERE citizens of the United States when he was born. Get your facts straight. Just because they emigrated from Cuba does not mean they aren’t citizens. My parents and grandparents came from Cuba as well, and they are ALL citizens of the USA, and have been since the 1960s. They came here to flee an evil, Communist dictator. They love this country with all their heart because it took them in, and gave them the freedom they were denied in Cuba. And just like Rubio, I was born in Miami, FL, the son of immigrants who became proud citizens of the USA. That makes me no less of a natural born citizen than you, and the same goes for Rubio! You, sir, sound like an ignorant xenophobe.

        • Paul Smith says:

          “Marco Antonio Rubio (born May 28, 1971)”

          “His parents were Cubans who had emigrated to the United States in 1956 and were later naturalized as U.S. citizens in 1975”

          You are intelligent enough to know that 1971 comes BEFORE 1975 — right?

        • Paul Smith says:

          Let me hasten to add that I think Rubio is a great American. I do not for an instant doubt his patriotism or that of his parents. This isn’t a popularity contest; there are rules that should be followed in order to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

        • Paul Smith says:

          Let me add that your emotional response is baseless. I do not in any way suggest that Marco Rubio and his parents are anything less than patriotic American citizens. Only that Marco’s birth prior to his parents becoming U.S. citizens disqualifies him from the positions of POTUS or Veep.

  4. Mike Gentile says:

    Why would my fellow Conservatives push for a guy who is for Amesty for illegals.

  5. Gail Peterson says:

    Well, I’m a Conservative. I don’t necessarily like illegals here, taking our jobs. But, hey, do you really want to be hard-nosed to them and thus make them vote for Obama???? What’s worse? Allowing some of them to be here and getting Romney elected or going for all out deportation and Obama getting re-elected?? I think it’s time we compromise right now, get Romney elected and then secure our borders and work on a Rubio version of the DREAM Act. It’s called “compromise”.

Jim Malone

Jim Malone

After a stint in the Peace Corps in Swaziland, Jim joined VOA in 1983 as a reporter and anchor on English broadcasts to Africa.  He served as East Africa correspondent, then covered Congress in the early 1990’s.   Since 1995, Jim has served as VOA national correspondent responsible for coverage of U.S. politics, elections, the Supreme Court and Justice Department.  Jim has been involved in VOA’s election coverage since the 1984 presidential campaign and has co-anchored live VOA broadcasts of numerous national political conventions, candidate debates and election night coverage.


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