Marco Rubio Endorses Mitt Romney, Avoids Vice Presidential Speculation

ABC News

ABC News' Michael Falcone, Emily Friedman and Matthew Jaffe report:

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio officially threw his support behind Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Wednesday night in an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" show.

"It's evidently and increasingly clear that Mitt Romney's going to be the Republican nominee," Rubio told Sean Hannity. "I am going to endorse Mitt Romney."

"He offers such a stark contrast to the president's record," he added.

Rubio said that the primary needed to come to a close and that Republicans must avoid a "floor fight" in Tampa this summer: "I don't think there's anything good about that."

"I think it's a recipe for disaster."

"I think all the candidates in this race have a lot to be proud of," speaking of the other Republicans running for the party's nomination, but he called Obama a "disastrous president" and suggested the GOP should begin to focus on the general election.

 

Perhaps more than any other Republican, Rubio's name is tossed around as a potential vice presidential  candidate. Rubio shot down that speculation on "Hannity" saying, "I don't believe I'm going to be asked to be the vice presidential nominee. "

He said as much in an interview earlier on Wednesday.

"It's not going to happen," Rubio told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "But I'm obviously flattered by, that people think about me that way. There are some things I'd like to get done here in the United States Senate. I'm enjoying the role that we have here."

Mitchell noted that he would "have a lot more power as vice president, potentially."

"Oh, you think so?" Rubio replied, grinning widely. "I don't know. I mean that's debatable. Well, I'm enjoying my time here in the Senate. It's a privilege to serve here, and that's really what I'm focused on. I'm not going to be the vice presidential nominee, but I'm always flattered when people bring it up. I think they mean it as a compliment."

Tuesday, in an appearance on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," Romney was asked to describe Rubio in one word. Using three, Romney responded "The American Dream."

And in Metairie, Louisiana, on Friday, Romney referred to Rubio when making his argument against "Obamacare," saying that the Florida senator made a good point about the costliness of the plan:

"There's another one that Marco Rubio mentioned-the Senator from Florida-he said even if Obama care were a perfect piece of legislation-and it's not-we can't afford a trillion dollars of new spending," Romney said. "And we just heard from the CBO, it's not a trillion dollars, it's double that. And so, the critics were right, and the advocates were wrong. Obama care is massively more expensive than originally estimated and we cannot afford more government spending."

Rubio is taking other steps to shed his previously low-profile. The South Carolina GOP announced earlier this month that the Florida senator will be keynoting the party's annual Silver Elephant dinner on May 19.

And the publisher of Rubio's forthcoming memoir, "An American Son," announced that it was pushing up the release date from October to June 19.

 According to a late January poll conducted by Latino Decisions for ABC News and Univision, 60 percent of Latino Republicans in Florida would be much more likely to vote Republican in November if Rubio is added to the GOP ticket. Nationwide, 13 percent of Latinos said they would be much more likely to vote Republican if that happened, with 12 percent saying they would be somewhat more likely to back the GOP if Rubio joined forces with Romney.

That same poll found that 67 percent of Latinos would back Obama in a matchup against Romney, who only earned 25 percent of their support. 41 percent of Latinos nationwide said they had a somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable view of Romney. And a whopping 72 percent of Latinos said the Republican candidates in the primary either didn't care too much about Latinos or were being outright hostile towards Latinos.

Rubio would obviously help Romney's cause in that regard.

The Florida senator has criticized his party's approach to Latinos. In February, Rubio told Time Magazine, "What's the Republican legal-immigration plan? And that's a problem, when all they [Latinos] hear from you is what you're against and not what you're for… Ultimately there is, in my opinion, hundreds of thousands of conservatives and potential conservatives all across this country that will never become conservatives because they somehow feel that the party where the conservative movement is housed doesn't want them."

While Romney consistently says it would be "presumptuous" to give names of people he'd consider for the vice president before he's the GOP nominee, often waving off the question by saying that the republicans have a "deep bench" that could fill the slot, that Rubio is on Romney's mind is undeniable.

Romney has not shied away from speaking highly of Rubio on the campaign trail, even coming to his defense last October when several publications challenged the year that Rubio's parents fled Cuba, arguing that the Florida senator may have embellished his family's history.

At a press conference at his Manchester, N.H., campaign headquarters, Romney was asked about the controversy, to which he leapt to Rubio's defense.

"I have the highest respect for Marco Rubio I think his family's history having come to this country speaks for itself. This is a family who came with nothing and Marco Rubio and his family deserve the highest praise and recognition. I think the world of Marco Rubio and support him entirely and think the effort to try to smear him was unfortunate and bogus," said Romney.

On Wednesday night, Rubio returned the favor: "We have an obligation to work on behalf of the nominee, Mitt Romney," he said.

"I have zero doubt in my mind of two things," Rubio said. "Number one, that Mitt Romney will govern as a conservative. Number two, he will be head and shoulders better than the guy who is in the White House right now."

View Comments (1632)

Recommended for You

  • N.Korea would have 'no chance' in a conflict with South: US

    North Korea would have no chance of defeating its southern neighbor and its allies in a conflict, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday, days after the peninsula appeared on the brink of armed conflict. Last month's inter-Korean crisis was triggered by landmine blasts that maimed two…

    AFP
  • #1 Reason Not To Buy A New Computer

    Find out the real reason behind slow computers!

    SuperTechConsultSponsored
  • Man and officer wounded, dog killed in police address mix-up

    ATLANTA (AP) — A man shot by police officers who went to the wrong Atlanta house ran bleeding outside where a neighbor heard him asking, "Why did they come in my house? Why did they shoot me? Why did they shoot my dog?"

    Associated Press25 mins ago
  • Tennessee man, 76, charged with killing wife over church tithe money

    A 76-year-old Tennessee man was charged with first-degree murder after fatally shooting his wife because he thought she had stolen and hidden money he planned to tithe to his church, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday. Norman McKinney of Erwin, Tennessee, in the eastern part of the state,…

    Reuters
  • Man who got life for marijuana charge goes free in Missouri

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man sentenced to life without parole on a marijuana-related charge was freed Tuesday from a Missouri prison after being behind bars for more than two decades — a period in which the nation's attitudes toward pot steadily softened.

    Associated Press
  • Woman Becoming Nun Needs Friend's Interest, Not Concern

    DEAR ABBY: I was best friends with "Joanne" after we met in middle school. She comes from a conservative Christian family and has three successful siblings. This has made her quirky, media-driven pursuits and city life a disappointment to her family. When we were teens and she learned that I was a…

    Dear Abby
  • Rare Supermoon Lunar Eclipse Coming This Month

    The cosmic event will take place on the night of Sept. 27 when two periodic events -- supermoons and lunar eclipses -- will happen at the same time, making for a rare coincidence. A supermoon occurs when a full moon happens when it is at the closest point in its elliptical orbit around Earth,…

    ABC News37 mins ago
  • A China meltdown? Why its Asian neighbors aren't worried.

    As the world worries that China’s economic troubles will cause a wide-reaching meltdown, China closest Asian neighbors are not yet panicking. Pacific-rim countries will surely be impacted by China’s four-year economic slowdown, which came into sharper focus in late August with a sudden stock market…

    Christian Science Monitor
  • 2016 Best Colleges Preview: Top 10 Best Value Schools

    For the majority of prospective college students and their families, cost is a major factor in determining which schools are viable options. Knowing which schools are best buys -- which colleges provide the highest quality education for the lowest price -- is imperative.

    U.S.News & World Report
  • Illinois hunt for suspects in killing of veteran police officer

    More than 100 police officers using aircraft and canine units were searching northern Illinois on Tuesday afternoon for three suspects believed to be involved in the fatal shooting of a 30-year veteran police officer, officials said. Fox Lake Police Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was found…

    Reuters16 mins ago
  • View

    Kentucky county clerk refuses to issue same-sex marriage licenses (41 photos)

    Gay couples in a Kentucky county are expected at the courthouse door Tuesday morning after the Supreme Court ruled against a defiant clerk who has refused to hand out marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court ruled against the county clerk who refused to issue gay marriage licenses,…

    Yahoo News
  • Egypt gas find sparks panic in Israel about Israeli reserves

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Egypt's new natural gas bonanza is causing an uproar in Israel, with energy stocks plummeting and recriminations over indecisiveness and infighting that have delayed production from the country's own gas fields.

    Associated Press
  • Police officer facing arrest for burglary kills himself

    DILLSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania police sergeant shot himself to death after officers came to arrest him for committing a burglary at his estranged wife's home and then trying to frame her boyfriend for it, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

    Associated Press
  • Norway sends first convicts to Dutch 'luxury' prison

    Norway on Tuesday sent a group of convicts to a jail in the Netherlands for the first time because its own prisons are filled to the brim. "The first prisoners have arrived," Karl Hillesland, the new Norwegian head of Norgerhaven prison in the northern Netherlands, told AFP. Due to lack of space,…

    AFP
  • Black Lives Matter movement experiencing growing pains

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists, black and white, marched outside the Minnesota State Fair this weekend, hoping to bring attention to the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police.

    Associated Press
  • Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announces she's pregnant with twins

    As with the birth of her son three years ago, Mayer writes that she plans to limit the amount of maternity leave she takes.

    CNET
  • Why California prison system is changing the way it treats gang leaders

    California has agreed to end its controversial practice of indefinitely solitary confinement of former gang leaders. After a settlement was reached Tuesday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation agreed to only isolate inmates who commit crimes behind bars, not for what they…

    Christian Science Monitor
  • Magnitude 4.2 quake strikes near Grand Coulee Dam in Washington

    (Reuters) - A magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck near Grand Coulee Dam, the largest U.S. hydropower facility, in northeastern Washington state on Tuesday, prompting an immediate inspection of the facility but leaving no visible damage, a spokeswoman said. Operation of the Columbia River dam, which…

    Reuters
  • Video shows San Antonio man with arm raised fatally shot by deputies

    Gilbert Flores, 41, was shot on Friday by two Bexar County deputies responding to a domestic disturbance call at a home in Northwest San Antonio, the San Antonio Express-News and KSAT-12 television station reported.

    Reuters