Marco Rubio is under consideration for the No. 2 spot on the Republican national ticket, Mitt Romney said in denying a news report that suggested the Florida senator has been excluded from the vice presidential sweepstakes.
Rubio is being “thoroughly vetted as part of our process” for picking a running mate, Romney told reporters in Holland, Michigan, yesterday as he concluded a five-day, six-state bus tour.
Romney, 65, termed “entirely false” a story by ABC News that Rubio, 41, wasn’t being vetted. “They know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process,” he said, referring to unnamed advisers cited in the ABC report.
The upshot of the news account was that Romney for the first time confirmed a name as a candidate for the vice presidential nomination.
“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 presumptive Republican presidential nominee said, referring to the longtime aide he named in late April to spearhead the selection of a vice presidential nominee.
After issuing his statement, Romney took no questions.
Romney made his comments as he wrapped up the bus tour that began in New Hampshire and was ending in the state in which he was born. At various stops he was joined by three others mentioned in news reports as prospective running mates: Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.
Rubio, a Cuban-American elected to the Senate in 2010, has been touted as a running mate by some Republicans to help Romney boost his standing among Hispanic voters. Those promoting him include former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the brother of one former president and son of another.
Helping propel President Barack Obama to the White House in the 2008 election was his showing among Hispanic voters, a group he carried 67 percent to 31 percent over Republican John McCain, according to exit polls. In this year’s election, Hispanic voters could be crucial in determining who wins such swing states as Florida, Colorado and Nevada.
A Bloomberg poll released yesterday shows Obama benefiting politically from his June 15 decision to end deportations of some illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children -- a move that could make it tougher for Romney to attract Hispanic support.
Among likely voters, 64 percent surveyed after Obama’s announcement said they agreed with the policy, while 30 percent said they disagreed. Independents backed the decision by better than a 2-1.
Romney has been vague in responding to Obama’s decision, saying that it complicates efforts he would make as president to craft a “long-term solution” providing “certainty and clarity” to the children of illegal immigrants.
During his battle to lock up the Republican nomination, Romney used tougher rhetoric when discussing illegal immigration, stressing his opposition to any proposal that gives legal status to undocumented immigrants without first requiring that they leave the U.S. He made no distinction at the time for those illegal immigrants brought to the country as children.
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