All along, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has said he would avoid an endorsement until the end of the Republican primary season.Well, it’s over.
Rubio formally endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel show Wednesday night.
“Well, I am going to endorse Mitt Romney and the reason why,it’s not only because he’s going to be the Republican nominee, but he offers at this point, such a stark contrast to the president’s record,” Rubio said.
Both Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush had elected to stay out of the endorsement business during the lead-up to the Florida primary in January. Still, Romney regained momentum with a big win in Florida after losing the South Carolina primary to Newt Gingrich.
But the endorsements of Rubio, Jeb Bush and another Bush — George H.W. will hop on the Romney bandwagon Thursday — signal that the Republican establishment is prepared to rally around Romney as the nominee.
Here’s why Rubio and Jeb Bush might be jumping in now: Despite winning the GOP battle in Florida, his challengers’ attacks, a slew of gaffes and inconsistent support have put Romney behind in general-election Florida.
The latest Quinnipiac University poll has Barack Obama leading by 7 points in Florida. Compare that with December, when Romney led a theoretical matchup with Obama by 3 points there.
Florida, of course, has been among the deciding swing states in recent elections (see: Gore, v. Bush). The last president to be elected without Florida was Bill Clinton in 1992.
On Hannity’s show, Rubio said the long, drawn-out Republican primary season has been good for Romney and the Republican Party in general. Others don’t agree with that assessment. But his reasoning: It has made Romney and others take “strong positions on issues that we can hold them accountable to.”
Hannity also pressed Rubio on the question of a potential vice presidential selection. Not only did Rubio dismiss the notion that he would be selected, but he also said he wouldn’t want to have the job.
“I don’t believe I’m going to be asked to be the vice presidential nominee. That’s not what I intend to be, that’s not what I want to be and that’s not what is going to happen,” Rubio said. “What I will do is I work very hard for Mitt Romney as the nominee of our party because I think he is going to offer a very clear alternative — he is already offering a very clear alternate to a disastrous presidency.”
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