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Marco Rubio: I Will Say No If Offered VP Slot

Florida Senator Marco Rubio is approaching Chris Christie territory in the number of times he has denied interest in being the running mate on a Republican Presidential ticket this year:

Sen. Marco Rubio said today he would decline any offer from Mitt Romney to be a part of the GOP ticket this fall.

“I don’t want to be the vice president,” the Florida Republican said during an interview with Major Garrett of the National Journal.

“So, if Mitt Romney asks, you will you say no?” Garrett asked.

“Yes. But you know he’s not going to ask. That doesn’t work.  He’s watching this interview right now,” Rubio, 40, said.

Rubio even went as far as recommending another U.S. senator for Romney to consider in his VP vetting: Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

“The bigger point is we’ve got a lot of really talented people out there that Mitt Romney can get to pick from,” Rubio said. “And I think a lot, Senator Rob Portman would be a phenomenal choice for vice president. That’s where I would encourage him to look because I’m enjoying my service in the Senate.”

I’ve lost count of the number of times Rubio has given this kind of statement, but as with the Presidential speculation that surrounded Chris Christie in 2010 and 2011 that isn’t stopping people from speculating about him being about the ticket, or other Republicans from saying that they hope he’s on the ticket. I’m not sure how many more times Rubio can say things like this without people getting the message. If he’s not interested, he’s not interested. Move on.

Of course, the VP slot is a bit different from running for President. When you run for President, it’s a decision you make on your own. The running mate position, though, is offered by the man at the top of the ticket. If Mitt Romney came to Marco Rubio and said that he wanted, no needed, him on the ticket, would Rubio still say no? He says he would, but I’m not necessarily true. Leaving aside pure political ambition, one has to imagine that there’s a certain sense of responsibility that someone must feel when they’re asked to join a Presidential ticket. Indeed, outside of the odd and aborted effort to create a unity ticket in 1980 where Ronald Reagan would select former President Gerald Ford as his running mate, I’m not sure there’s ever been a modern case where a person being considered seriously for the running mate slot essentially turned the offer down.

Rubio does seem very emphatic, but there’s also something in this interview for those still holding out hope:

As his interview wound down, Rubio made a bit of a slip when he talked about his future after his career as a vice president, not a senator.

“Three, four, five, six, seven years from now, if I do a good job as vice president, I’m sorry,” Rubio said as he caught himself. “If I do a good job as a senator instead of a vice president, I’ll have a chance to do all sorts of things, including commissioner of the NFL, which is where the real power is.”

A slip of the tongue, or a Freudian slip. In either case, count on Rubio’s name staying in the mix all the way up to the convention.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    This Rubio character is turning into quite the drama queen, no?

    Either the kid needs to grow up and catch a clue, or what’s really going on here is that he has some sort of disqualifying issue (bimbo sexcapades, wife acting out, kids on drugs, etc.) and he knows he won’t be on the ticket and he’s preemptively trying to let down easily the draft Rubio folks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    Rubio isn’t really saying he’s not interested in being VP. What he really is saying is that he has a political future that he doesn’t want to risk being cut short.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. @Neil Hudelson:

    I tend to agree. There’s no political benefit for him in running for VP right now. He’s young enough that he could be a contender in 2016 or even 2020 if he wanted to wait that long.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Rubio isn’t really saying he’s not interested in being VP. What he really is saying is that he has a political future that he doesn’t want to risk being cut short.

    Well, if that’s really what Rubio is thinking then, as earlier stated, he needs to grow up and to catch a clue. There’s absolutely nothing that could happen this November that would cut short Rubio’s political career. Nixon would be Exhibit A, H.W. Bush would be Exhibit B, Reagan would be Exhibit C, McCain would be Exhibit D, and Romney himself would be Exhibit E. Rubio is a young guy, granted, but how would he not be aware of the foregoing list of Republicans who lost major elections and then went on nevertheless either to become president or to become the GOP nominee for president?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Hey Norm says:

    Tweet of the Day from CNN’s Jim Acosta:

    “…Romney in plant that closed under Bush: “Had the president’s economic plans worked, it would be open right now…”

    Rubio is too smart to hitch his wagon to this Dressage Phony Pony.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. @Tsar Nicholas:

    Nixon would be Exhibit A, H.W. Bush would be Exhibit B

    These were both VP’s to nominees that actually won. If Rubio thinks Romney is going to lose, being his VP is volunteering to have a boat anchor tied to your career. See: Sarah Palin, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, Jack Kemp, Dan Quayle, Lloyd Bentsen, Geraldine Ferraro, Walter Mondale, Bob Dole, Sargeant Shriver, Edmund Muskie, William E. Miller, Henry Cabot Lodge, Estes Kefauver, John Sparkman.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. PJ says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    but how would he not be aware of the foregoing list of Republicans who lost major elections and then went on nevertheless either to become president or to become the GOP nominee for president?

    Maybe he, as you don’t seem to be, is aware of the list of VPs on losing tickets who later become President?

    That would be (1). As in FDR.

    So, 0 Republicans.

    There’s one Republican who ended up as the Presidential nominee after being the VP on a losing ticket. That would be Bob Dole. Who then lost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. @PJ:

    They don’t just fail to later become president. They tend to fail through a trap door and are never really heard of on the national stage again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    @PJ:
    @Stormy Dragon:

    These are good points. Nevertheless, and at the risk of being deemed a reflexive contrarian, I’m still not moved. I’ll keep the discussion to events within the past four decades. You can’t compare Rubio to the likes of Sarah Palin, John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, Jack Kemp, Dan Quayle, Lloyd Bentsen, Geraldine Ferraro, Walter Mondale, or Sargent Shriver.

    Palin is a nutcase. Edwards wasn’t ever a serious candidate; that was a desperate play to try to not get wiped out in the Deep South. Lieberman was too far to the right on foreign policy for the Democrat primary electorate. Kemp already had retired when he was named Veep. Quayle wasn’t a serious politician. Bentsen was at the very tail end of his career when he was named Veep. Ferraro was on a ticket that lost 49 out of 50 states. Mondale was on a ticket that lost in a crushing landslide and then he ran for Prez against the same guy. Shriver was on a ticket that lost 49 out of 50 states.

    Dole is the only remotely germane comparison. Dole wound up running for Prez, however, twenty years later and against an incumbent during a great economy. If Romney loses to Obama, however, Rubio immediately could turn around and run in a non-incumbent year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. @Tsar Nicholas II:

    Quayle wasn’t a serious politician.

    A sitting vice president and two term senator was not a serious politician?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. @Stormy Dragon:

    TN does a lovely double standard in there to avoid recognizing PJ and I were right: any politican who had a long career before their VP nomination can’t be considered because they’re “at the tail end of their career”. Any politician who didn’t have a long career “isn’t a serious politician”. Thus all of the dozens of counterexamples to his claim can be safely ignored.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. Tsar Nicholas says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I’m not saying they can be ignored. Where did I say that? I’m saying if you really dig down and analyze it they’re not analogous scenarios. You can’t compare Rubio with Lloyd Bentsen, for example. Bentsen was old at the time he was tapped Veep and Bentsen was on a ticket that lost 40 states. Romney won’t be losing anywhere close to 40 states and Rubio is just starting out. Quayle was not a serious politician. He was a back bencher from a small state. Rubio is a hot item from the fastest growing large state in the country and by far the most important swing state for the Electoral College. Quayle being Veep does not ipso facto make him a serious poltician. Is Joe Biden a serious politician? Quayle was a laughingstock. Don’t you remember the “potatoe” train wreck? The SNL skits?

    Look, Stormy, I’m not trying to start an argument merely for the sake of arguing. The notion of Rubio turning his back on his party doesn’t sit too well with me. Sometimes people have to take one for the team. Sometimes politicians have to man up. Rubio seems to be doing a lot of tap dancing for a guy who still has decades to go in his career. Don’t we want leading political figures to have spines?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Kylopod says:

    It’s interesting to contrast with Biden’s remarks on MTP in June 2008. He stated emphatically that he did not want to be vp and that he did not expect to be asked, but he said he would accept the slot if offered:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4bE7gTv8qI

    You might call this false modesty, but I suspect he was being honest. Veep isn’t the most glorified job in the world.

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  14. superdestroyer says:

    My guess is that Rubio will switch to being a Democrat is less than six years. Rubio apparently can count and realizes that there is no future in losing in routs to Democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. @Tsar Nicholas:

    Don’t you remember the “potatoe” train wreck? The SNL skits?

    If the metric for seriousness as a politician is “has never been publicly mocked for anything”, then this country hasn’t had a serious politician in its entire history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0