As Mitt Romney draws closer to choosing a running mate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been putting in a good word for rising GOP star Marco Rubio, his state’s fresh-faced Cuban-American Senator.
Bush, a longtime Rubio ally, reiterated his support for the Florida Senator in an interview with AP reporter Brendan Farrington yesterday, saying that he thinks Rubio is ready to be V.P.
Bush said he has been a huge fan of Rubio’s for years and hopes that Romney chooses him. He said he made his pitch to Romney in a recent conversation, but the former Massachusetts governor didn’t reveal which direction he was leaning. Bush said the choice is a personal one and respects Romney for keeping his thoughts close to his vest.
Once considered the favourite pick for Romney’s V.P., Rubio has slipped down the list in recent weeks, in favour of “safer” picks like Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Earlier this month, rumours about whether or not Rubio is being vetted caused a rare public dustup for Romney’s vice presidential selection team, prompting the candidate to smooth things over by asking the Florida Senator for vetting documents. Since then, there has been speculation about how seriously Rubio is being looked at for the No. 2 spot.
Rubio will have another shot at winning over the Romney camp this weekend, when he makes his first solo stops as a campaign surrogate. He is scheduled to rally Romney supporters at his old elementary school in Las Vegas on Saturday, and then head to Iowa for an evening campaign event.
But Rubio isn’t the only V.P. hopeful stumping for the Republican presidential nominee this week. The Romney campaign appears to be using the candidate’s overseas trip to host a swing state surrogate tour featuring several potential running mates, including Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Dakota Senator John Thune, and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte.
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