Still much in demand, Rubio says he's excited to introduce Mitt Romney
Sen. Marco Rubio walked into the Tampa Bay Times Forum this afternoon to do a mic check and was met by the media buzz saw -- a crush that confirms that while he was passed over for VP he remains a megawatt Republican star.
"This election is about the choice the country has about the role government should play in our country," he said. "It’s not a choice between a Republican or a Democrat; it’s a choice about much more than that. Tomorrow my job is to introduce the next president of the United States and to do so in a way that makes it clear to people what their choice is.”
Rubio said his speech introducing Mitt Romney would split between his own story (now a well known tale about the American Dream) and Romney's, portraying the candidate as a successful father and husband with the right ideas for the country. How is it different from other speeches?
"I don't know, 39 million people, probably," he joked. "It's a tremendous honor to be able to give this speech in my home state in front of a lot of family and friends ... I hope on a personal level for my mom to be watching from home and my dad, wherever he's watching from, it will be affirmation that their lives mattered."
On Charlie Crist endorsing Barack Obama: "He's running out of parties."
On whether he fully submitted himself to the VP vetting process: "I didn't talk about the vetting process then -- or now."
On whether voters are hearing enough "substance" from the convention: "I think that's part of what Gov. Romney will talk about and I can guarantee you you'll get plenty of substance any time Paul Ryan speaks."
On lagging Hispanic outreach by Republicans: "Part of it has been, unfortunately, that the campaign has been limited in the amount of resources it can spend until it gets to the nominee phase. .. But I think we're certainly looking forward to now being able to go out and press the case that free enterprise is the best way for people to be able to accomplish their economic hopes and dreams."
On Paul Ryan: "In a city full of people that are there to be someone, Paul Ryan stands out as someone who is there to do some thing. And I guarantee by 11 p.m. eastern time tonight, more people in America will know that than ever before."