With reports that Mitt Romney advisors have confirmed Marco Rubio is not currently being vetted as a possible vice presidential nominee, some are beginning to wonder if Marco Rubio’s rapid rise in the Republican party has hit a snag.
“First off, whoever is leading that search certainly vetted Marco Rubio,” says Matt Barreto, a political scientist at the University of Washington and pollster for Latino Decisions. “If someone comes out and says he’s no longer being vetted they may have information on Rubio which has forced him to fall down lower on their list.”
ABC News first reported that a Romney advisor said Rubio has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates.
Stephen A. Nuño, a Northern Arizona University political scientist and NBC Latino contributor, says June is a long way off from the convention and things can still change.
“I’m not sure you can tell in June if a candidate is in or out, no matter the perceived process,” he says. “Rubio, or another Hispanic like Susana Martinez, would present interesting problems for the Obama campaign, by exposing the relatively meek recruitment efforts by the Democrats of Hispanic leaders with national prominence.”
Even if Rubio’s vetting precludes him from being considered on the short list of vice presidential nominees, he can still serve as an important surrogate for Romney.
“In similar way that Bill Richardson was,” Barreto says. “He had the opposite profile –- he was extremely well-established, he was exceptionally qualified but a background check revealed ethics issues. Richardson campaigned very strongly for Obama, though.”
Barreto believes the fact that Rubio talked about, but never introduced, his much-buzzed about DREAM Act alternative hurts him and his case for national prominence.
“If he introduced the bill he would have a legitimate argument that Obama sidestepped him,” he adds. “It could have been Marco Rubio extending an olive branch on immigration. But it looks like the rest of the Republican establishment was happy with him talking about a bill — but not introducing it.”
In the end, Barreto says Rubio has many years ahead of him and may have learned a hard lesson. “He learned the ebb and flow of Washington,” he says.
“One minute you’re on the cover of a magazine and the next minute you’re forgotten.”