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

    Willard R-Money is in a dilemma; all of the people mentioned say they don't want to be VP; Christie especially because he wants to get prepared to run for President in 2016; but the primary dilemma for Willard is finding someone who won't out-shine him so the person has be boring like him, a delicate balance I say, too funny!

    June 9, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Dieter Zerressen

    Choosing Rubio would be a cynical ploy to gather the Hispanic vote but it will have about as much effect as Palin did for corning the women's vote – another words "squat".

    June 9, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. I'm for . . .

    Donald Trump; cause he's a winner!!!!!

    June 9, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. lindylou123

    No Romney! He will destroy this great nation and make it only liveable for the wealthiest! He is anti woman, anti-environment, anti education, anti social morality -
    He has NOTHING to offer so it matters little who is VP is – and none of the above could ever be president.

    June 9, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Jason

    Ah, the cynical nature of politics. "Pick the hispanic guy, because then hispanics will totally ignore our anti immigrant rhetoric and vote for us!"

    June 9, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. gorddicnn

    Their all lame, corrupt and radical. The GOP should love them.

    June 9, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    I would like to remind everyone what Grover Norquist (of instead of raising taxes, let granny die fame) said at CPAC earlier this year in regard to Romney, knowing that he isn't well-like by Conservatives:

    "All we have to do is replace Obama. ... We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.

    Norquist's "qualifications" for President:

    "Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared."

    So regardless of who the GOP picks for their VP candidate, the choice remains simple: Do you want a leader who thinks for himself or another GW Bush puppet doing the bidding of unelected officials representing corporate interests, regardless of the cost to our country and her people?

    Don't let this happen to our country. Vote Obama/Biden in November

    June 9, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. JustWho

    are these selfish political wannabes?

    June 9, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. John

    Who care It won't do any good ,but ruin his future hope.

    June 9, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. MBSeattle

    I think Bill Clinton would make a good choice.

    June 9, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Why do they all point to others when asked to be VP? They don't want to be smashed with Mitt McCain.

    June 9, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  12. unitedfor1

    Romney could pick Mickey Mouse for VP and he would still beat Obama. Obama is a week candidtate.

    June 9, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. David in Florida

    Rubio would be a great pick to pick up the Hispanic vote but his Mormon past( yes he became a Mormon while in Nevada) will upset the southern redneck the world-is-ending evangelicals.

    June 9, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. Sean

    Figures. Between Quayle and Palin, Repugs have a history of making of selecting inexperienced, unqualified morons to be their VP candidates. How about picking someone because they're up to the job and not because they're pretty to look at?!? Is that concept too difficult for them?!?

    June 9, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. albert J. Wilson

    The republican establishment is using Seantor Rubio as a an agreed upon VP choice simply because he is a northerner and speaks spanish. The white Republican base fears the recognition and at the same time the encroachment of the Spanish speaking mexican into the national political arena. This is not a new phenomenon, the Alamo has been used as a symbol to perpetuate anti mexican feelings that have existed since Rio Grands River was first used by Spainards and later Mexicans about five hundred years ago. Senator Rubio cannot share that history or the inherent feelings Mexican Americans proudly share. One commentator refered to this dilemma, Mexican american
    want respect. I believe Mexican Americans want a lot more. I believe they require, a national mexican american spoksman to share to exchage views and share their vision for america. thank you albert J. Wilson

    June 9, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Santorumsucks

    Rubio would never get through the vetting process which is the reason he continues to push against his selection/nomination.

    June 9, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Santorumsucks

    Romney does not need a VP to electrify the base. They have no choice but to vote for Romney. The people being mentioned have absolutely zero chance of getting the Latino vote, especially Rubio. His is Cuban. They don't resonate with other Latinos. The notion that Latinos vote in one monolithic block is ludicrous. Independents are the key to this election.

    June 9, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Deanne

    I'm thinking he'll go with some redneck ARCH conservative, maybe Bachman to scare the women away, I mean to encourage women voters. With or without Rubio, the Latino vote belongs to Obama

    June 9, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. tisthetruth

    Lot of scared liberals around. Wisconsin was a BIG hint. Enjoy

    June 9, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. fullclarity

    Grover Norquist for VP. That should take care of everything.

    June 9, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    @tisthetruth: "Lot of scared liberals around. Wisconsin was a BIG hint. Enjoy"

    Wisconsin was about Wisconsin; that's all. The only part of that scenario that everyone should be concerned about is the fact that a handful of billionaires and several foreign corporate interests are unduly influencing our elections, thanks to Citizens United.

    If that doesn't concern you, then in my book, you're a traitor.

    June 9, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. babooph

    Bachman or Palin,we could all use a good laugh just now...

    June 9, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  23. Larry L

    A Latino version of Sarah Palin – also selected for a foolish, absolutely obvious reason. Republicans think Hispanic voters are too stupid to see through such a ridiculous ploy.

    June 9, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. Pete

    Rubio is toast after lying publicly about his parents immigrating from Cuba because of Castro.His parents actually immigrating 4-5 years before Castro took over,so that lie bombed and Miamis Cuban residents hate him just for that roeason,plus the dirty little fact that he used state monies to fix his mothers car,but never indicted for it,that'll kill any vetting for his VP call Romney has for him..He also can't make up his mind which religion he is Catholic,Baptist,Mormon,I think he's Catholic now,who knows,who really cares,republicans sell their souls to the devil to get what they want,tell me different.Politics as usual,pandering to anyone ,make them feel important,after vote forget them,the vote is all they want,ask Jeb Bush,he stole Florida for his brother,that's why he'll never run,he's commited election fraud and if he ran,he'd be indicted after people speak out ,that's how much he's hated down in Florida...

    June 9, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. Name. Randy

    First, lets look at all the campaign promises Obama has kept. OK, that did'nt take long. As in the last several elections, it's not the best man for the job, it's voting for the lesser of two evils. Romney is the lesser by far. For Obama to endorse something that is clearly prohibited in the Bible not only shows his lack of morals and ethics but also shows the moral decay of our society when Hollywood rewards him with fifteen million dollars for doing so. Is that called selling your soul?

    June 9, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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