Rosemont, Illinois (CNN) - Marco Rubio has repeatedly pushed back against talk of becoming Mitt Romney's running mate. The Florida senator has previously said, "I'm not going to be the vice president," and in another instance suggested former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for the job.
Despite that, Rubio's name consistently percolates near the top of many potential VP lists.
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The latest came on Friday evening, as Rubio won the vice presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Chicago.
Rubio did not attend the gathering. Yet his tea party street cred and youth have made the senator a popular figure in the conservative movement. Republicans also point to his being Hispanic and from the battleground state of Florida as reasons to put Rubio on the GOP ticket.
Not all conservatives think Rubio should, or will, get the nod. Critics point to his relative lack of national experience as a reason that Romney should pass him over. Others say he's never faced the rigorous public vetting in a national campaign.
The CPAC VP straw poll likely means relatively little in the actual vice presidential selection process. However, it'll surely loom large in the guessing game.
Five other potential running mates attended the overwhelmingly conservative-friendly event: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Each of them appeared to be in full-on VP audition mode, mounting harsh political attacks against the president.
Christie used both humor and policy swipes.
"When I landed here today in Chicago, I stopped in the airport for a minute because I heard the president was going to speak on the economy," Christie said. "I said I've got 10 minutes to waste, why not?"
The governor added: "Barack Obama's leadership is driving this business, the USA, towards a fiscal cliff. We better stand together in the next five months and stop him from doing it."
Paul called the president, "the great speech maker in chief" and accused him of "taking the last year and a half of his presidency to campaign."
In a post-speech interview with CNN, the Kentucky senator said it would be "an honor" to be considered for Romney's VP.
And the Louisiana governor followed many speakers in a sort of pep rally over Gov. Scott Walker's recall survival in Wisconsin. Jindal swiped at the president's absence in Wisconsin in the final days of the recall.
"There are many reasons maybe [Pres. Obama] didn't want to come to Wisconsin," Jindal said. "Did he not go to Wisconsin because maybe he thought he wouldn't be an asset?"
Other speakers – such as former presidential candidates Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann – also spoke.
Santorum's speech came as he emerged from a stretch of public silence to preview his political future. But on the same day that he announced the formation of a political committee and pledged to campaign for Romney, Santorum also detailed a "dual mission" of keeping Romney's feet to the fire on conservative issues.
The gathering – the first of two regional Conservative Political Action Conference events expected this year – happened in President Barack Obama's home state. The site was just a short trip from the president's downtown Chicago re-election operation.
"Conservatives take back the Midwest," blared the headline on a promotional flier that also said attendees would "take the fight for the future of America directly to President Barack Obama's backyard!"
And yet, conservatives face an uphill climb to make sweeping gains in the Midwest. According to CNN's analysis of the electoral landscape, Illinois is reliably Obama territory; and Wisconsin and Michigan both favor the president. Iowa and Ohio – two states Obama won in 2008 – are toss-ups. Only Missouri and Indiana are listed as leaning Romney.
The event was sponsored by the American Conservative Union. Thousands of conservatives attend CPAC's annual gathering in Washington D.C. Moving the event to Chicago is only the group's "second-ever regional event," organizers said in a news release.
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they did not pick him because he would be a good vice president or the president, they pick him for the latino votes
like the old man choose the crazy sarah for the women votes. you see how that turned out to be.
latinos for obama.
How did a "token" work out for them 4 years ago ? "OK...maybe THIS will work". 2016-"Anybody know a Mex-Asian ?".
This is the best the Republicans can come up with,is a guy who is a Sarah Palin equivalent. The only reason Gov Romney is the Republican nominee is he outspent the other clowns. Newt Gingrich is highly upset he got "citizen united" in Iowa. President Obama deserves four more years just for killing Osama bin Laden during his administration.
It's like a who's who of extremist conservative politicians!
Yeah, ready to lead just like Sarah LOL
Of course the GOP want him as VP, the need a token.
Cuban anchor baby Rubio has ZERO military experience. Willard Romney draft dodger has ZERO military experience. I don't think America wants replacements for the current administration that is doing an exemplary job of keeping America safe!
Conservatives are lemmings. They don't know who to follow, they just follow who they're told to follow.
the same people who said Obama was too inexperienced to be president now want this kid to be # 2 in command!!!!? talk about hypocrites, jeeze louise!
What, so they trot out one of the few "token" self-loathing minorities that want so badly to be "white" that the stay in the KKK party of the gop.
He's the best they have?...................good lord.............
Rubio is too young and he's to cute
The only way Romney will win is with a VP choice like Louie Gohmert. of Texas. Romney needs to have a not too handsome moron on the ticket to attract even more morons.
You can see that smuggness creeping up around the corner of his lips. The same smuggness that made Rich Santorum a winner.
This is rich
See Mitt walk
See Mitt run
See Mitt speak
See Mitt pander to the hispanics
See Mitt lose election for president
The American Taliban Republicans can't do anything right.
Rubio is a rube.
All those VP idiots are wasting their time. Alexithymic Mitt is going to pick Portman, who is as bland and boring as oatmeal.
I don't think he is eligible to be President so he can't be Vice President. The Natural Born Citizen issue really needs to be addressed by the Supreme Court so that it can finally be put to rest.
rubio will be nothing more than the token "minority". the repubes could care less about hispanics or other people
This idiot will not gather Hispanic votes...
Texting and Driving
Living and Dying
Is this SOB for VP??? Pathetic....
Rubio has a good mind, very articulate. The GOP needs someone who can think on his feet, and spell out the various details on the
issues. Only problem... he is a "white" Latino. But a few weeks laying on a Florida beach will probably get him the V.P spot.
I am going to laugh my behind off if Romney wins and ends up being Dumbya II. Have fun with no home, no job and dead kids in Iran!
Ha ha ha... Maybe he'll be vetted as well as Palin was....
All I can say is that if this joker becomes VP, Romney will definitely lose my home state, Pennsylvania.