Rubio looking more like vice presidential contender

April 28, 2012

By Ledyard King, USA Today

WASHINGTON – A high-profile campaign appearance in Pennsylvania with Mitt Romney. A major foreign policy speech. An autobiography, once scheduled for release this fall, now due out in June.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio insists he’s not interested in being Romney’s running mate, but his recent activities have raised his national profile and fueled speculation the Cuban American from West Miami is more interested in the job than he claims.

When asked recently on CNN’s State of the Union whether he would join the ticket if the former Massachusetts governor asked, Rubio departed from his usual denials to say it would be “wise for all Republicans to kind of respect that process, myself included, and say, moving forward, we’re going to let his process play itself out.”

Aides say his position hasn’t softened.

“Nothing has changed,” spokesman Alex Conant said Thursday.

But pundits and experts — even friends — say they believe Rubio would accept the job.

“If you look at American political history, there have been a number of individuals who have said ‘No! No! No!'” said incoming state Senate President Don Gaetz, a Republican from Niceville who served with Rubio in the Florida legislature. “But when the person who may be the next president of the United States calls you on the phone and says, ‘Will you be the vice president?’, all the chemistry changes. It’s pretty hard to say no.”

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