CPAC attendees prop up Rubio as other potential VPs audition
June 8th, 2012
06:56 PM ET
6 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. AF

    Rubio is a clueless about America. 4 years ago Rubio used Floridian Credit Card money when he was working for the state to fix his mother's car. That's a steeling. As VP he'll dig his finger to buy his family a Big house

    June 9, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Karma6339

    It's like who wants to commit political suicide. Chances are Romney isn't going to win and being stuck in history on a losing ticket makes voters gun shy second time around. That's why both Rubio and Bush has looked at this role like its a bad case of VD. It'll scar you for life.

    June 9, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. sonnie3

    How could he be clueless, until now I thought he was a comon sense republican.

    June 9, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. dina

    Isn't it obvious that Romney would choose Rubio for the Hispanic vote. Pretty trite. But then he is trite. Any other choice would overwhelm him. People would get that. But the sad thing is that these conservatives would vote for anyone who thinks like the do which means they don't think.C,

    June 9, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. WhereIsPalin

    Apparently, republicans are going to stick with "ANYONE but Obama".

    June 9, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Rickford

    He really needs somebody that will energize the base enough to get swing-state voters to the polls. Bob McDonnell, Jindal, and Rubio could never achieve this. They are just too boring! He needs somebody with energy!

    In my opnion, if Romney's VP candidate is anybody other than Chris Christie then he stands little chance of being elected. Rand Paul and Rick Santorum might energize the base to some degree but not enough. Should the economy really detoriate then, of course, everything changes....

    June 9, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Martha in CF

    If the Hispanics can't read into that dilemma there is something with that!!!! Is Rubio such a leader of the Hispanic people they would vote for Romney because of that. Romney if elected president, which I doubt, would chew the Hispanics up and spit them out--Romney is all about the well to do. If president, he wouldn't be running the show anyway-Rove, Koch Brothers, Norquist would be handling everything!!!!!
    Obama/Biden 2012

    June 9, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Keep voting for self serving, Republican politicians like this and kiss your future goodbye!

    June 9, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Felix El Gato

    Rubio is as conservative and corrupt as they come.

    June 9, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. john

    How can these people even be close??? This country has such short term memory loss....these are Republicans!!! Remember??? the people who got us into the unending war/mess!!!

    June 9, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Who cares which other republican loser runs with flip-flopper Romney?

    June 9, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. B.

    I don’t believe that the Hispanics would fall for this misadventure with Rubio, they can certainly see through Romney’s endless Pander Game at any cost.

    Romney has already proved that he will say or do anything, even Lie, to achieve his goals. The man has no standards of consistent behavior at all, as he said himself," What I said before, whatever it was, I stand by it" !

    Incredible ego..

    June 9, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. grive

    i cant believe all the extra free time these people have to attend a fundraiser. there states must be at the top of the list. but i guess elections arent about the peoples vote anymore, its about how much money you can raise. until i here a detailed solution on how to fix things in this country none of these republicans will get my vote. all they say is we need to create more jobs, well tell america how your going to do that instead of saying the current adminstation is doing it wrong.

    June 9, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. D

    Choosing a token like Rubio as VP will end in a complete utterly disaster for the GOP, because it's insulting to believe that non Cuban Hispanics will vote for someone because of a surname only.

    June 9, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. chris19DD3

    As a real conservative I will say that four more year of Obama as potus is preferrable to me rather than the possibility of 8 yrs under romney....Also just because I am conservative in many ways on some social issues I am very liberal.To me romney and obama are just more of the same .When will we have a true leader as potus?Why do people vote for these politicians who care nothing about us?Why do we reward failure?That is essentially what we are doing.Now I do not blame President Obama for the mess we are in that would not be a logical thing to do,to really solve the problems we have we must first indentify them.That being said The current president with the signing of NDAA 2012,Assasinations of american citizens one of whom was 16 at the time and accused of no crime has shwon he cannot be trusted with a position of power,but romney would do the same if not worse.We as americans really need a peacefull non violent revolution to restore the goverment to the people.Everyone wants to support the troops ,how about we insure freedom and opportunity here at home by struggling and fighting the same way they do,with the utmost valor and loyalty ,the greatest shame of america today is the contemptable way we treat of war veterans and we call our selves civilized.....shame on us for our apathy and ignorance.

    June 9, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. newshead12

    Rubio can attract Hispanic voters just as much as Condoleezza Rice can attract Black voters. It's not going to happen.

    June 9, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    While reading yesterday's comments, I came across this: "Fox News comments are down and they are just venting." Considering that I thought I had accidentally clicked on a Sarah Palin Anti-Obama Fan Club, it makes perfect sense that Fox sent it's viewers to CNN to vent.

    I have never read more juvenile comments than those which were posted on CNNs ticker yesterday. No wonder Fox News is judged to be the least informative news organization in America. If these folks actually believe half of their own drivel, Mitt Romney is doomed. These "critical" thinkers will turn on him the very first instance he contradicts their shallow thought processes. And that time is coming sooner than Romney realizes. Indeed, half of them won't be voting for Mitt any more than they would have voted for Obama.

    June 9, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. Peace

    If GOP didn't learn in 2008, let them repeat the same mistake again and they will see the outcome. We need a VP who understands work and how it is done. The time of having VP just only to be sent to funerals are over!

    June 9, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. timothy

    I want Palin again. Sooooo entertaining.

    June 9, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Mike in Texas

    No one votes for President based on the VP. They will only vote against a Presidential candidate based on the VP.
    Chris Christie will not be the VP nominee because he upstages Romney. Romney will be playing 2nd fiddle and will look weak compared to Christie. My guess is Portman. He is kind of bland and doesn't upstage Romney.

    Look at out last few VP's......Biden, Cheney, Gore, Quayle, Daddy Bush, Mondale.

    June 9, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. emma

    Would Romney choose Rubio, even though Rubio would outshine him? Santorum? NO! Christie does not seem to be a guy who would want to play second fiddle. The VA governor may be a deterrent to getting women's votes. Vote for Obama and Biden!

    June 9, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Jersey Girl

    The reason that Rubio doesn't want to be VP is he knows that R-Money won't be president. There's no way the American people would allow a total liar, clueless, out-of-touch robot to become president! No way, Jose!! LOL.

    June 9, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The Republicans don't want Rubio, they want the Hispanic vote. Republicans have treated Hispanics like they have a plague so they think Rubio can cure them, get real. They've patted Rubio on the head and said "you're not one of them" and he believes it, I've heard that all my life, "you're not one of them, you're different".

    June 9, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. GonzoinHouston

    Rubio will not deliver a major hispanic vote outside of Florida. He's Cuban-American, not Mexican-American, and there's a big difference. Cubans fled a communist country, so they're pretty conservative. Mexican-Americans fled a right-wing country, and are usually pretty liberal. To a Mexican-American, Rubio speaks Spanish with a funny accent. Picture someone with a Boston accent campaigning in Alabama and you'll get the idea.

    The biggest obstacle for the GOP and the Hispanic voter is still immigration, and will be until we have realistic immigration reform.

    June 9, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Pander Bear

    Where's Ricky's birth certificate?

    June 9, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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