- (Photo: REUTERS/Mark Makela)
Is he or is he not under consideration to be the running mate of presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney? That is the question being asked after conflicting information recently surfaced regarding Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – viewed by many as the darling of Tea Party conservatives – and the likelihood that he is being seriously considered as the GOP vice presidential nominee.
Insiders believed to have knowledge of the "vetting" process, or investigative process to short-list possible candidates, told an ABC journalist earlier this week that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was not being considered as a possible running mate for Romney.
But now Romney is saying the vetting process for Rubio might have already occurred.
Rubio was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 after a successful political career in the Florida State legislature, having served as Speaker of the House there. But more importantly than his political pedigree, it's what he represents that lead many of the nation's best-known Republicans to suggest Romney would be insane not to pick him as his running mate. Rubio is young, well-spoken and could bring significant Hispanic support to Romney and the GOP.
"Marco would bring incredible energy," former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told ABC News earlier this month. "He's the most articulate spokesman for conservative principles in America today, and he is my friend, so I am a little biased. I think he would be extraordinary."
However on Tuesday, Romney himself told reporters that Rubio has long been under serious consideration by his campaign and he is currently undergoing the vetting process.
"Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process," said Romney while campaigning in Michigan.
The process for considering possible candidates for vice president is typically done behind closed doors and involves a series of questionnaires and a list of documents that must be submitted by those select few who are asked. Also, candidates being considered rarely, if ever, acknowledge they are under consideration for fear of embarrassment if they are not chosen.
"There was a story that originated today apparently at ABC based upon reports of supposedly outside unnamed advisers of mine," Romney said. "I can't imagine who such people are. But I can tell you this: they know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process."
"There are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not: And that's Beth Myers and myself. And I know Beth well. She doesn't talk to anybody. The story was entirely false. Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process."
But when asked on the morning talk shows Wednesday morning to either confirm or deny that he is indeed under consideration, Rubio was mum on the subject.
"I made a decision a long time ago not to discuss the [vice presidential] process, and that's not going to change today," said Rubio on CBS's "This Morning."
"But I knew you would ask. I'm pretty confident he's going to make an excellent choice. I think those of us involved in politics and supportive of him should give him the space to do that."
The Florida senator did confirm that he had not spoken with Romney since President Obama announced last Friday that he issued an executive order that would spare approximately 800,000 young, undocumented workers the threat of deportation.