Mitt Romney's campaign (possibly trying to divert attention from the controversy over his refusal to release his tax returns) says he's about to announce his VP pick. One name that seems to have sunk down the list is the guy once seen as the leading Latino among the contenders, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. With good reason. Here are three reasons Rubio would be terrible for Romney¿s ticket.
1)He's too, "too." Romney is nothing if not robotic.
Example: During his "family vacation" this month, someone handed him a glass of lemonade. Quick- thinking reporters, always looking for a scoop, jumped in.
"How is it?" someone asked.
"Lemon. Wet. Good," Romney said.
Who says that?
Rubio is anything but. He's a fireball. A dynamo. Listening to one of his speeches is stirring, no matter what your politics are.
Romney's idea of exciting is singing "America" off key to a group of seniors. And, in his best rendition of a cheap cruise ship lounge act, sprinkling his rendition with "Do you know this one?"
Yes, Mitt, we do, we are human beings from here.
The bottom line, though, is no presidential candidate wants a vice president who outshines him.
2)Romney is vanilla. Rubio is, well, café con leche. For all the talk about the advantages of diversity, Romney has pretty well written off the Hispanic vote. Or should.
A new Latino Decisions poll shows President Obama's lead among Latinos growing.
That's the wrong direction, Mitt!
The new margin -- 48 points. Exactly seven out of 10 Hispanic likely voters said they would vote for Obama. That's the first time he's hit that stratospheric level in 20 months of polling, the survey's authors pointed out.
"The lingering question now, is not whether Obama will win the Latino vote -- he is poised to win it big," they said, "but rather whether Latino voter turnout matches or exceeds the record levels in 2008, or if Latino enthusiasm will be low and turnout mediocre at best."
So Rubio should help, right?
Eight out of 10 Hispanics in the country are Democrats or Democrat-leaning. Better than six out of 10 are of Mexican heritage.
Rubio is a Cuban Republican.
Even in Florida, his home state, where the overwhelming majority of Cubans and a big chunk of Republican Latinos are clustered, polls show that adding Rubio to the ticket barely moves the needle.
The latest Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald, Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll shows Romney and Obama in a virtual tie, with the president slightly ahead at 46 percent to 45. Add Rubio and the candidates reverse places: Romney gets 46 and Obama 45.
So what? Both results are well within the poll's 3.5 percent margin of error.
More frightening for Romney, though, is that a poll just three months earlier showed Rubio actually hurt his chances. Adding Marco to the ticket brought support down by two points.
Once again, within the margin of error. But surely cause for concern.
Outside of Florida, he's even less of a help. Just last month, Gallup found that 41 percent of people in the country had no idea who he was.
And, in a racially and ethnically charged race such as this, Rubio might actually hurt with the non-Hispanic vote.
3)Too young, but still with baggage. Rubio is a rising star. Emphasis on rising. He's in his very first term in the U.S. Senate He's barely had any time to define himself with his voting records, has moved absolutely zero earth-shattering bills. (Yeah, he talked about a sort of DREAM Act, but it never materialized.) Catapulting him to vice president would be a meteoric rise for someone who has, in national political terms, done next to nothing.
Yet, Rubio carries some baggage. He's got money troubles. He's got David Rivera. And one of the centerpieces of his attraction, his famous "exile" story, unraveled the instant it was held up to scrutiny.
Rubio is woefully upside down on his mortgage, and he raised some questions with his use of a state Republican Party credit card.
Rivera is Rubio's friend, a congressman from Florida who, the Miami Herald has reported was close to being indicted for alleged "theft and/or fraud of campaign funds." The indictment was dropped without charges being filed. But Washington is a funny place. Clouds linger long after the rain has stopped.
And, the "exile" story. Well, let's just say it's more of an "immigrant" story.
Those are all things that can come back to haunt him. And a candidate (Romney) who is already getting hammered over questions about his taxes and his business record doesn't want someone who's going to offer more opportunities for doubt.
In the end, though, Rubio may be better off not getting picked. Being the VP on the ticket is only good if you win. Otherwise, it can hurt more than it helps. (Unless you're Sarah Palin, but the verdict is still out on that one.) As a freshman senator who has drawn a lot of favorable attention from GOP elders, Rubio can go on to be a player in his own right, without Romney.
As political strategist Ana Navarro told the Tampa Bay Times just this week:
"I can think of few worse fates for Marco Rubio than to actually have to be somebody's No. 2. I think Marco's voice and status is stronger as his own. I would love to see Marco be in the Senate and continue growing in seniority and chalk up some legislative accomplishments."
Source: Terra/Carlos Harrison