Rubio not being vetted by Romney? New book reveals he refused to be vetted as Crist’s running mate

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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ABC News’ Jon Karl reports that Sen Marco Rubio “is not being vetted by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential search team.” It’s interesting that this news breaks the same day that Rubio’s new memoir, “An American Son” is released. Presumably this could hurt book sales (though the buzz could possibly have the opposite impact.)

Regardless, this news reminds me of something else in the book — the fact that Rubio turned down Charlie Crist’s offer to be vetted as his potential running mate. As Alex Leary noted,

In his new book, An American Son, Marco Rubio describes how he was approached by Charlie Crist’s team about being his running mate in the 2006 gubernatorial race.

“Before they decided on Jeff (Kottkamp), the Crist team had approached me to see if i would agree to be vetted for the lieutenant governor’s nomination. I don’t think they seriously considered me — I suppose it was an attempt to flatter the incoming speaker of the House. I turned them down. Had I been interested, and had word got out I was under consideration, it would have created chaos among House Republicans as members scrambled to join the race to replace me as speaker,” Rubio writes.

This isn’t a perfect analogy. Crist and Rubio were always foes, while Mitt Romney endorsed Rubio over Crist, and Rubio recently returned the favor. Additionally, Rubio writes that he didn’t believe Crist’s team was sincerely considering him for the spot — and that’s obviously not the case with Romney (at least, it would seem unlikely that Romney wouldn’t at least seriously consider tapping Rubio as his running mate.)

But the point is that Rubio has a history of turning down offers to be vetted as a running mate. This, I’m guessing is rare. Most ambitious politicians err toward action — toward going for the brass ring. Even an outside shot at being Crist’s Lt. governor might have tempted many Republican politicians.

The fact that Rubio, who was then Florida’s House Speaker, shrewdly turned down Crist’s offer makes me wonder if it isn’t at least possible he has made a similar calculation here — that he is better off staying where he is. For now.

Matt K. Lewis