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. RINO Bil

    Romney is a far right conservative. If he doesn't pick a moderate Republican as VP to balance out the ticket, then this RINO will NOT vote for them come this November.

    June 9, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  2. minority

    Run, Run Markito. You'll notice how much non Cuban Latins in South Florida despise you due to your people's arrogance in the Banana Republic.

    June 9, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  3. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Romney is a lier. Somebody better call his mama. The problem with the vp pick is that they need someone to out lie romney. The whole gopt is full of liers but there is no one to out shine romney.

    June 9, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  4. lyn

    Last election it was a token woman, now it's a token Latino. Is he a natural born citizen? Trump better check into this one for sure.

    June 9, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. Marie MD

    The second coming of dumb and stupid for vp candidate. One step, maybe, above the bimbo from AK.
    Good luck with that one Kolob planet clown.
    Just remember bishop, the Cubans have been in the US since the 60s, or in the case of rubio's family since the mid 50s and he lied about it, they are acclimated to the US and our ways.
    As I have said before, the lumping of people who speak Spanish into Latinos and Hispanics is a BIG mistake that has never been corrected. Different ideals, cultures, education, goals and even reasons to be in the US.

    June 9, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  6. DC from SC

    It doesn't matter. Mittens is going to lose by a landslide anyway. Obama/Biden!

    June 9, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  7. Jack V

    CPAC is a room full of hot air! These people should get real jobs.

    June 9, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. Excoastie

    "the job of Vice President is not worth a bucket of warm spit"
    John Nance Garner

    June 9, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  9. Elliott Carlin

    This is a neo-con pick, not a true conservative liberty loving pick. Rubio is a warmonger and has no problem with domestic drones...but no, the 'conservative right' swallows this one hook, line and sinker.

    June 9, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  10. clarke

    Rubino is being used to get the Latino vote. That is what I feel. Just as Palin was used.

    June 9, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. pprty

    Who would Mittens pick for Secretary of State? Newt?

    June 9, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. angryoldguy

    It will be Santorum. I have very little doubt. Reagan picked George H.W. Bush as his running mate in 1980 after a very contentious battle for the nomination and it worked for him. It will work for Romney, too. There is no real leadership in America, anymore. Just mediocrity pretending to be leaders. No? Just look at Washington and tell me I'm wrong! (I know that some of you will, but that's because you are blinded by the cult of personality.)

    June 9, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. pprty

    Ask him who he'd pick to replace Hillary Clinton. Rush?

    June 9, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Purnell Meagre

    Wheteher Rubio is ROmney's running mate or not he "Willl not be the Vice-President."

    June 9, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. johnmenacherjr

    Please take our scatty, The state overall still would like him gone like Bush did with drunk Tommy. The other thing is you are reading way more into a local state issue here wake up and try to understand what really is going on and less political slant from either direction things I don't believe are that complicated.

    June 9, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  16. Floyd from Illinois

    Just go with Palin. She's been thoroughly vetted by this time, right?

    June 9, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. stopthemadness

    Oh look another move by the republican party to bring in a token ethnic agenda, First it was Cain, Then the gay campaign manager, Now the latino. We asked for transparency it couldn't get more transparent than that.

    June 9, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  18. Indyswimmer66

    The thought of any of those guys/gal being a heartbeat away from the presidency is a very chilling thought indeed!

    June 9, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. GI Joe

    I want his background checked. He bought a house with another man. Who was that man? Do they still own the house together? If not, why?

    June 9, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  20. carlos

    place all those CONS..... in a rocket and send them to kolov along with the cultist bishop doublespeak, for sure they will not be missed......PHEW.......UGH....puke

    June 9, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. Karma6338

    I hope Romney does select Rubio...maybe finally Republicans will learn that they do not understand the Hispanic culture and Rubio will not bring their votes to the GOP.

    June 9, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  22. carlos

    hispanics for rubio????keep on dreaming CONS........

    June 9, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. joe

    He might not be as stupid as Sarah Palin, but he is just as unqualified. Does anyone stop to think that the VP just might end up as PRESIDENT and should be able to step in at a moment's notice???

    June 9, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. pprty

    Who will he pick for Secretary of State? Sarah Palin?

    June 9, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  25. angry white guy

    Rubio is a phony like the great Castro escape he claims his family went thru when Batista was still in power. The 1959 Cubans won't let go. The repubs could'nt find a real candidate for president how can they find a vp.

    June 9, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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