CPAC attendees prop up Rubio as other potential VPs audition
June 8th, 2012
06:56 PM ET
3 years ago

CPAC attendees prop up Rubio as other potential VPs audition

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.

Also see:

Romney reacts to Wisconsin recall vote

Texas a cash cow for Romney

Jill Biden weighs into 2016


Filed under: 2012 • CPAC • Illinois • Marco Rubio
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Conservatives think that if they put a token Hispanic on the ticket Latinos will vote for Romney. Think again.

    June 8, 2012 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  2. Bart

    This guy is a fake, pseudo-latino.

    June 8, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  3. ED FL

    Hope Rubio is Robme Selection , wait until the investigators take a close look at Rubio and his Family he then may become the best reason to ensure that Robme will see his Election chances go down the drain faster than DRANO.

    June 8, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  4. Patrick

    Rubio is not qualified to be VP but his suggestion of Jeb Bush is a winner if Romney chooses him to be his running mate. Obama and Biden would lose against a Romney-Bush ticket (and I'm a Democrat saying this). But, if he does not select Bush let me be the first to say that whichever ticket wins the State of Virginia will win the Presidency in 2012(no, I don't live there............live in Georgia). I'm a bit of a political junkee and I have run a number of Electoral College scenarios based on the 7 open states.................it all comes down to Virginia and there is a slight chance of a tied 269-269 electoral result which would give us a Romney-Biden Administration.............that would be a interesting.

    June 8, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  5. revolting peasant

    Christie stopped for 10 minutes to scarf down some of that Chicago airport pizza. BTW, New York and Chicago are the only two cities where airport pizza is actually good.

    June 8, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  6. AmericanPeasant

    Hmmm sounds like a more solid shortlist than what they had before. Rand Paul and Rubio seem too young and inexperienced for VP, although Rand Paul could be a decent choice to placate the Paulites and maybe give Mitt that 3-5% he needs. For a real choice that actually be good for the country Jindal or Christie make a good pick. Moreso Jindal because of everything he brings to the table demographically, geographically, and tough experience wise. He's had to deal with some tough stuff like Katrina Aftermath and BP oil spill too, heck he'd have made a better presidential candidate than Mitt.He's no great debater, but VP doesn't need to be a great debater, he needs a good record and to keep quiet.

    June 8, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  7. I still dont like or trust Romney

    Let me get this straight, republicans believe Obama will drive the economy off a cliff? It was already freefalling to the bottom of a cliff when he took over! Furthermore, the republicans wanted to let it hit bottom.

    June 8, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  8. Peteyroo

    Sarah Palin is available, isn't she?

    June 9, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  9. movinman

    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!! Rubio is the answer!! After Mitt saves our country with two glorious Reichs, I mean terms, Marco moves in for two more stunning terms and between the two of them, they'll make our country what it once was, a frozen desolate wasteland.

    June 9, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  10. Sydnium S. Washington, EC, HOTD

    Looks like RomMarco team.

    June 9, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  11. Green Collar Worker

    Please pick this guy! He'll get trounced in the debates vs Biden and then the GOP will find out the hard way that a Cuban won't exactly help them get immigrants from Mexico (the largest sector of the Hispanic population) to vote for Romney.

    June 9, 2012 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  12. CRAIG

    Rubio? Please....he's a child. Not a good idea.

    June 9, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. BeverlyNC

    It would be a fatal blow for Romney for everyone knows the Republican Party is anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic and acts as if all Hispanics are illegal. Rubio is from FL where his own Governor Scott is purging mainly Hispanic citizen voters off the voter rolls. The Hispanic community will find this choice of Rubio insulting, insincere, and the pandering for what it is. If I were Hispanic, it would make me furious and make me more determined to make sure I had the needed voter ID in these voter suppression states and get out and vote for President Obama who is the only leader who works and cares about ALL Americans.

    June 9, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  14. 2020

    hahaha, what a joke

    June 9, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  15. MrManhattan

    Brought to you by the folks who thought Sarah Palin was a good idea.

    June 9, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  16. thomas

    Rubio's religious journey: Catholic to Mormon to Catholic to Baptist

    Romney / Rubio
    Journey 2012

    June 9, 2012 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  17. huxley

    I originally thought Rubio would be the top candidate, but after learning that he's the grandson of illegal immigrants and the son of Hispanic immigrants given exempt status – while he himself takes a hardline stance on outlawing illegal immigration, now I think Rubio would be the most hilarious candidate.

    There are so many reasons for Hispanics to absolutely hate Rubio, I can't imagine anyone voting for him now, or any reason to nominate him as the VP.

    June 9, 2012 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  18. FedUpwithLA

    Cool Hispanic image to counter Obama's cool African-American image. We know what's important in this country . . .

    June 9, 2012 03:48 am at 3:48 am |
  19. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    The Don't pick me VP stakes during the Anybody but Mitt McCain primaries. Only in the GOBP.

    June 9, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  20. Gurgyl

    Hispanics are not that stupid to fall trapped to this idiot. This idiot will not fit...

    June 9, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  21. Gurgyl

    Does this idiot know today Obama,, next target is this SOB???karl Rowe nonsense???

    June 9, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  22. zanny

    Bobby Jindal you have to be kidding!!!!!!!! Rand Paul please!!! Bob McDonnell – only vote I have ever regreted in my life time for governor of my state One word describes all 3 --boring, They all three have as much charisma as toad. Since you already selected boring as your presidential candidate why continue as vp selection maybe because you know there is no way any of them will outshine Mr. Romney.

    June 9, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  23. Reddog9500

    Wow, what a surprise. All this time I thought they were going to choose Donald Trump, or maybe Newt Gingrich.

    June 9, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  24. JohnM

    Did this event really occur or is it like everything else they do and say nothing but lies and inuendo?

    June 9, 2012 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  25. Cortanis

    So.... it's a case of, you're going to be VP even if you don't want to.

    June 9, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
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