Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) tangoes with ABC News’ senior political correspondent, Jonathan Karl. (H/t: Christian Heinze)
RUBIO:The reality is that I ran for the United States Senate for a simple reason. The United States Senate is a pretty important job, too.
KARL: There’s no question the Senate is an important job, but are you not ready to be president?
RUBIO: I think the problem is: I just got elected three months ago, and so how can I be a full-time United Sates Senator if my eyes are already on running for something else?
KARL: Okay, so that’s a reason. Would you also say you’re not ready? I mean, you’ve only been in the Senate for 10, 11 weeks.
RUBIO: Well, that assumes being a U.S. Senator necessarily prepares you to be president. I think what prepares you to be president is to have a pretty clear vision of what America should be in the world.
KARL: But do you have that clear vision? Do you have those things you just articulated?
RUBIO: Well, I think a United States Senator needs the same things, as well.
KARL: But do you have that. If those considerations — are you qualified to be president?
RUBIO: Well, now what you’re asking me is something different. You’re asking me: do I have a clear vision for the role that America’s government should play in America? I do, and that’s what I ran on.
KARL: I’m just saying what you say a president needs to have.
RUBIO: Yeah, but a U.S. Senator needs to have it, too.
KARL: Do you categorically rule it out? Is there absolutely no way under any circumstances that you would run for president?
RUBIO: Even speculating about it is problematic, because when you speculate about it, what you’re basically saying is: I’m thinking about something other than the job right now.
KARL: Okay, I’m not asking you for speculation. Would you rule it out?
RUBIO: You are asking me to speculate.
KARL: We can end all speculation now.
RUBIO: I’m not running for president in 2012.
KARL: No way?
RUBIO: No, because I want to be a United States Senator. I want to be the best United States Senator that Florida’s ever had.