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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Revving up the Marco Rubio Veep-O-Meter


We neglected to post the latest Marco Rubio Veep-O-Meter finding that the Tampa Bay Times published Sunday. And after seeing Rubio's interview with Fox News last night, it seems we may have been too generous about his running mate prospects. How many people face foreclosure because they disagree with their bank about their mortgage payments? How hard is it to use the right credit card when buying stuff? Never mind that Rubio still has not released a big chunk of his GOP credit card statements.

"This story about Rubio and the Florida party credit card is probably the biggest reason he likely won’t be Romney’s VP pick. After Palin, they just don’t want to take the risk," NBC's First Read wrote this morning.

Anyway, here's Sunday's Veep-0-Meter installment:

Marco Rubio had a great week, with a well-received foreign policy speech at the Brookings Institution and loads of buzz about his efforts to craft a new version of the Dream Act.

Campaigning with Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, Florida's freshman senator declared he would no longer speak about the vice presidential process — prompting former John McCain adviser Steve Schmidt to conclude Romney has already begun vetting Rubio.

"People who aren't getting vetted are going to say, 'I'm not being vetted. I'm not going to do it.' People who are going to be vetted say, 'Well, I'm going to respect the process, and I won't talk about that,' " Schmidt said on MSNBC. "But his answer to me clearly said that yeah, he's starting to turn over records and documents."

However, our trusty Veep-O-Meter finds Rubio is actually losing a little ground in the veepstakes. Why? Rubio may still be the most popular choice among grass root activists, but there's more and more chatter among the Beltway chattering class that picking the 40-year-old Rubio invites more risk than reward.

George Will, touting Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan or Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, recently derided "Faux realists" arguing that a running mate can win over a particular state or demographic such as Latino voters. Respected political analyst Stuart Rothenberg made a similar case last week, noting the vice presidential candidates rarely "deliver" their home states or win over some demographic group.

In Slate, John Dickerson called Rubio "this year's Sarah Palin" and suggested Romney would undercut his argument as the candidate of executive experience if he tapped Rubio.

And then there was former Panhandle Rep. Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe last week: "Marco Rubio's a great guy, he's got a compelling story, and my God what a great demographic he will speak to on a national ticket some day. But he is not ready to be on a national ticket in 2012. … I would just warn those who are fans of Marco Rubio, who think they are doing him a favor by pushing him center stage right after he's been elected to the United States Senate: Back off. You're going to hurt him in the long run, because he's not ready to be in the Oval Office, he's not ready to be president of the United States."

And it didn't help that news reports on Friday said the Federal Election Commission had leveled an $8,000 fine against the Rubio campaign for receiving excessive and impermissible campaign donations in his Senate race in 2010.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 12:48pm]


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