From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:
At This Point, Romney’s Short List . . . Is the Long List
It’s a little amusing to watch Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio feign a bit of incredulity about running-mate selection at a time like this, because when you bring the guy whom lots of conservatives adore from a key demographic and a swing state, to campaign in another swing state . . . well, as they say on ESPN, come on, man.
Mitt Romney told reporters Monday that “the process for selecting a vice presidential running mate is just beginning” and there was no short list of candidates.
He made the remarks while standing alongside Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who’s considered to be a favorite to be added to the Republican ticket.
“We really haven’t had a discussion yet of putting together a list or evaluating various candidates,” Romney said.
He made the remarks in his first press availability since he became the presumptive GOP nominee.
The former Massachusetts governor said that his campaign team along with adviser Beth Meyers — who last week was put in charge of the search — were spending time hiring law and financial firms to do a through vetting of the potential candidates. And while Romney’s appearance with Rubio in Philadelphia on Monday was widely thought to be a vice presidential audition, neither man was willing to openly acknowledge that prospect. “I’m not talking about that process anymore,” Rubio told reporters. The Florida senator has previously denied interest in the position.
For what it’s worth, I thought Rubio’s answer in interviews like this one seemed pretty definitive:
NRO: So . . . you’re probably sick of being asked questions about being someone’s running mate.
RUBIO: I guess I’m flattered that people ask about it — people don’t usually ask that about someone who they don’t think is credible. But it’s not going to happen. My answer on that issue hasn’t changed.
NRO: When you say it’s not going to happen, do you mean you don’t expect to be asked, or that if offered, you would turn it down?
RUBIO: When you say it’s not going to happen and you’re not interested, they’re not going to ask. You don’t ask somebody to be your vice president who has already said they’re not interested. It doesn’t work that way, as you well know. There’s a process to selecting a vice president. It’s not like asking someone to go to the prom. This is a very significant decision that involves a lengthy process. If you’re not involved in that process because you’ve made it clear you’re not interested, you’re not going to be asked.
NRO: So this is you sending a signal, “don’t ask.”
RUBIO: I’m focused on some other things going on right now. Particularly some issues that I look forward to being involved with in a majority in the Senate, if, God willing, we’re able to win in November.
At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey chuckles at how every bit of denial from Rubio seems to set off another, more intense round of speculation.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if a Republican politician called for everyone to chill out for a while and let Mitt Romney engage in his process for picking a running mate — and used it as a springboard for even more speculation? Oh, wait — that’s not irony, it’s punditry. Either way or both at the same time, I doubt that anyone will take Marco Rubio’s advice and find something else to discuss for the next three or four months . . . like, say, dog handling or cookie analysis:
Rubio says, ““The last thing he needs are those of us in the peanut gallery to be saying what we would or would not do,” so of course that’s the first thing the rest of us will do.
Look, people. Marco Rubio is doing everything possible to let you know that he’s not interested in being part of a Republican presidential ticket! In fact, let’s look at his schedule…
On Wednesday, April 25, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) will deliver a major speech on the future of U.S. foreign policy at an event hosted by The Brookings Institution. Rubio’s remarks will focus on whether U.S. global leadership is sustainable and even necessary in the 21st century.
Yeah, that’ll tamp down the speculation.