The Washington Post

Is Rubio in or out?

Yesterday morning ABC News reported Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wasn’t being vetted for the VP slot. After a day of political chatter, Mitt Romney spoke late in the day:

“There was a story that originated today apparently at ABC based upon reports of supposedly outside unnamed advisers of mine. I can’t imagine who such people are,” Romney said. “But I can tell you this: They know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process. There are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not, and that’s Beth Myers and myself.

“The story was entirely false,” he said. “Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process.”

It’s entirely possible that both the ABC News report (saying Rubio “has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates”) and Romney statement are both true. It all depends on the meaning of “thoroughly” and whether other candidates are being more carefully vetted.

Unless Rubio is actually selected — an unlikely possibility, I would suggest — I don't think we’ll ever know how carefully he was evaluated.

Nevertheless, Rubio in the immigration scuffle demonstrated the sort of not-quite-ready quality that Romney would frown upon. Rubio introduced the concept of a modified DREAM Act, delayed in coming up with anything concrete and then, outmaneuvered by the White House, announced he wouldn’t put forth anything after all. (Why not? Hasn’t the president acted extra-constitutionally?)

By selecting him, Romney would only put immigration rather than the economy in the headlines for days if not weeks. The less non-economic issues are discussed, the better for Romney, who seems as though he’ll figure out his precise immigration policy when he gets around to it.

Rubio’s magnificent life story, his intelligence and eloquence will one day, I strong suspect, make him a presidential contender. But those qualities aren’t necessarily the most important for Romney. He, after all, is the one making the choice.

I still believe that Romney will choose an experienced figure regarded as mature and expert in the economy. Romney, if he needs regional help, could use it in the Midwest. Dull is fine; green (the inexperienced sort of “green”) is not. Romney, I think, is not going to step on his own message by selecting the least experienced of the popular VP picks.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


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