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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio: Not open to VP nod



rubioswear.jpgSen. Marco Rubio said this morning he is not open to the possibility of being a presidential running mate.

"The state of the Republican Party hasn't been that good, so maybe we do need you as a VP candidate," Panama City radio host Burnie Thompson told him in an interview. Rubio laughed.

"Are you at least open to the possibility?"

"No, I'm not. And I'll tell you why I'm not. ... To be the senator from Florida is a big job. In addition to the votes you take in Washington of national importance, our state has a multitude of issues. I mean, it will soon be the third-largest state in the country and perhaps the most complex in the country in terms of the set of issues it faces. In order to do that job, and do it well, you've got have to have 100 percent focus on it. You don't have time to sit around and daydream ... I want to be a U.S. Senator because I believe I can make a difference from that position. ... It's flattering sometimes, but that's about it."

Rubio would not be the first politician to deflect such speculation -- spurred, he says, by the news media "circus," though it's coming from conservative activists as well -- and later change his mind.

But the issue is sensitive because he is trying to keep a low profile and show his new colleagues he is ready to work. Also because Rubio defeated Charlie Crist in part on the argument that the governor was more interested in moving up the ladder than doing a good job.

In the radio interview, Rubio said he would be the same person in office as he was during the campaign, echoing what he said to Washington reporters last week. (St. Petersburg Times story here)

"I got elected on a pretty clear platform ... and I think people expect me to go up there and speak on behalf of those issues. Sometimes there's this expectation in the press that 'Okay, the election is over and now you're going to go up there and be different than what you were on the campaign.' Well, no, I shouldn't. Because people voted for me because what I was saying on the campaign, and if I now become somebody else, then they are not getting what they voted for."

He said his top issues were working for a simplified tax code and tackling government regulation, citing the EPA as an example of an agency that makes rules on a daily basis and enforces them "in a way that makes it difficult to do business in America." He said the national debt is a primary concern.

Rubio said he has received a warm reception from both parties but singled out two fellow Republicans: Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.

Listen to the interview here. Rubio also did an interview with Fox 92.5 in Fort Myers and dismissed the VP talk.


[Last modified: Monday, January 10, 2011 2:56pm]


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