It’s becoming obvious: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is making a concerted and whirlwind attempt at presenting himself as a viable VP contender able to match wits with Vice President Joe Biden. But, during a speech on foreign policy to the Brooking’s Institute he stopped mid sentence when he realized the last page to his remarks were missing. Fellow panelist Sen. Joseph Liebermann (I-CT), who interestingly enough is a member of the failed VP candidate club, handed it to him.
The interesting part is that this speech was a day before Biden’s scheduled foreign policy speech at New York University.
Now even though Rubio, like other contenders, says he isn’t interested, the actions are speaking louder than the words. These are some telling and thinly veiled efforts to exert himself among think tanks and other world leaders. It’s the best thing for the freshman Senator and one of the newest members to the Senate Foreign Relations committee to do if he’s going to show he can best Biden, who has some of the most extensive foreign relations experience in Washington.
Just last month, while the nation was focused on the president’s trip to the Summit of the Americas, Rubio snuck off and made an appearance, although not part of the official US delegation. It went mainly under the radar but got lots of attention in the Latin world, where Rubio is looking to expand his influence. Isn’t that a convenient and perfect thing for a potential Vice Presidential candidate to do? Rubio certainly thinks so, proudly listing the Roll Call article about his rock star treatment at the summit on his website.
Note this: Univision and Telemundo both have a large presence in South America but have a heavy presence in U.S. homes. That fact was not lost on the President – and neither Rubio, who may be making sure his presence on the world stage is not counted out. Ninety-three percent of Spanish-only and 83% of primarily Spanish-language US households watch those channels, according to AdAge.
Yesterday, heavily favored and popular New Jersey governor Chris Christie said he wouldn’t mind being considered, “He might be able to convince me,” Christie said of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. “He’s a convincing guy, but I really love this job. I really want to stay in this job.”
Meanwhile, Romney has been campaigning with Virginia governor and other likely VP pick Bob McDonnell and, just last week, was seen with New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte. Clearly, these are all candidates for the prized slot.
Of course, all potential candidates know protocol and have said they will respect the process. And everyone is saying they aren’t really interested. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels has said no as has former Florida governor Jeb Bush and former candidate and Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. So too have all of the widely named picks of color too: New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said no; former Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice put a more adamant “no” on that; South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has said no along with the second Indian American governor Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal.
Now if they are really asked, that is another question. But at least they all know that you’re not supposed to appear too eager. Someone needs to tell that to Rep. Allen West (R-FL) who has said more than twice he’d say yes if asked.
All of the auditioning and politicking is not lost on Rubio, who we can expect to stretch his neck out by making more policy speeches. You don’t have to be publicly eager but you can surely position yourself.