Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Does Rubio's no mean yes, or does he really mean no?

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida Photo by Mandel Nhag

Florida's Republican Sen. Marco Rubio has said a couple of times in the last week that he has no intention of running for vice president with GOP presidential nominee-apparent Mitt Romney, but that hasn't stopped the speculation that he still might.

His seeming Freudian slip this week during a meeting with press didn't help: "If in four, five, six, seven years from now, if I do a good job as vice president - I'm sorry, as senator - I'll have the chance to do all sorts of things." It prompted laughs and of yes, more speculation.

Rubio is one of a few potential veep picks, among them former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But Bush, while he said he'd consider it, passed the buck back to Rubio in a recent interview, calling Rubio "possibly the best" choice.

The bulk of the nation's Latino voters might be harder to convince. In spite of a recent turnabout that has included developing a stripped-down version of the Development, Relief and Education for Immigrant Minors (DREAM) Act without a clear path to citizenship, Rubio is still remembered for his tough talk on immigration in 2010. He also belongs to specific subset of Latino voters, i.e. conservative Cuban American South Floridians, who have relatively little in common politically with most Latino voters in other parts of the country.

The Romney campaign has conceded that it needs to try harder with Latino voters, with Romney recently remarking that the GOP must draw Latinos, who presently support President Obama by a wide margin, or it "spells doom for us." But critics have pointed out that naming the wrong Latino as vice-presidential nominee could be equally destructive if perceived as pandering.

Other potential nominees whose names have been floated include former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. The latter two are Indian American. Another possibility mentioned has been New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, though she's also said that she's not interested.

Bush, who might eventually follow his brother and father in a run for the White House, could wind up the ideal middle ground for Romney: a member of a dynastic GOP family who also speaks decent Spanish, is moderate on immigration, and whose wife happens to be Mexican.

As for Rubio, no telling yet if no really means no. CNN's Candy Crowley will no doubt try to get it out of him during an interview airing Sunday on the network's State of the Union program.

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