Mitt Romney: Yes, Marco Rubio Is Being Vetted
Yesterday’s report that Marco Rubio was not being vetted by the Romney campaign ended up becoming a big enough story by the end of the day that Mitt Romney himself felt compelled to shoot it down:
“There was a story that originated today apparently at ABC based upon reports of supposedly outside unnamed advisers of mine,” Romney said in Holland, Michigan. “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.”
Jonathan Karl, who ran the original ABC News report yesterday morning:
So, what happened?
First, my sources stand by what they told me: Before today, Rubio had not been asked by the Romney campaign to turn over any documents related to the vice presidential search and he had not been asked to fill out any questionnaires.
But a top Romney campaign official emphatically told me that Rubio was, in fact, asked for vetting materials before today.
“Your source is lying to you,” the Romney official said.
Now, Rubio is the only candidate that the Romney campaign has definitively said is being vetted.
I am told by several Republican sources that Romney came under intense pressure today from top Republicans who argued it was crazy to take Rubio out of consideration so early. Some argued for Rubio’s appeal as the party’s most effective and charismatic conservative voice. Some argued it is dumb politics to not consider the party’s top Hispanic conservative.
But senior officials of the Romney campaign said emphatically that they were not under pressure from conservatives and that Romney never changed his mind. They insisted that Rubio was always under consideration.
So, what’s the truth here? As with all things Veepstakes related its hard to tell. The criticism that the Romney campaign received from the right yesterday after news that Rubio was not being vetted came out was fairly loud and, given Rubio’s popularity with the base, it wouldn’t be too surprising that they received pressure from the right that essentially required them to at least make it appear that they weren’t dissing Rubio this far out from the expected date of the running mate announcement. I still don’t think Rubio will be the Romney’s choice, though. Instead, I’d keep my eye on the Midwest or someone like Bob McDonnell.