Rubio, Daniels Leave Door Ajar on Joining Romney Ticket

Senator Marco Rubio
Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida, speaks during an address to the 39th Conservative Political Action Committee in Washington on Feb. 9, 2012. Photographer: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels brushed aside questions about whether they would agree to be presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate, though neither shut the door on the possibility.

Daniels, 63, a two-term governor who last year took himself out of the presidential race citing family concerns, told “Fox News Sunday” he hasn’t discussed a vice presidential bid with his wife and four daughters.

“I think this is a hypothetical question that will probably stay that way,” said Daniels, who also served as President George W. Bush’s director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 through mid-2003. Daniels endorsed Romney last week.

If asked by Romney to be his running mate, “I think I would demand reconsideration, and send Mr. Romney a list of people I think could suit better,” Daniels said.

Daniels declined to say who would be a good pick for Romney.

“There is a lot of talent in the Republican Party,” Daniels said. “A lot of new governors and young legislators have joined our ranks.”

One of those young lawmakers is Rubio, 40, a Cuban-American in his first U.S. Senate term after serving previously as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

Rubio told Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he wouldn’t talk about the vice presidential selection any more because Romney has started a process for sorting through possible running mates.

‘Going to Be Translated’

“It’s going to be translated that you’ve backed off saying ’I would not accept it,’” Crowley said.

“No, what I would characterize it as is, ‘I’m not going to discuss it any more,’” Rubio said.

Rubio and Daniels made their comments two days after former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the brother of George W. Bush and son of former president George H.W. Bush, dismissed the idea of serving as Romney’s running mate after earlier declining to rule it out.

“I am not going to be the veep nominee,” Bush said in an e-mailed statement on April 20. “Lay that to rest.”

Bush had told the Newsmax.TV website that while he doubted that he would be asked to join the ticket, “I’d consider it” if an invitation were extended.

Bush touted Rubio’s credentials in the Newsmax interview.

Speculation on a running mate for Romney has increased since the former Massachusetts governor’s main remaining challenger, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, dropped out of the presidential race April 10.

Romney’s campaign announced April 16 that longtime adviser Beth Myers, his former gubernatorial chief of staff and 2008 campaign manager, would lead his search for a running mate.

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