Mar 29, 2012 2 Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Los Angeles Times: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida joined a growing chorus of Republican leaders on Wednesday in endorsing GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, saying Romney is going to be the party nominee and Republicans need to get behind him to avoid an ugly convention fight that will harm their ability to take on President Obama.
“I don’t have a problem with primaries, but I think we’re at a stage now where at least two of the candidates have openly admitted the only way they’re going to be able to win the nomination is to have a floor fight in Tampa in August,” Rubio told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I don’t think there’s anything good about that. I mean there is no way anyone can convince me that having a floor fight at the convention in Tampa in August is a recipe for victory in November. On the contrary, I think it’s a recipe for disaster” that would deliver Obama a reelection victory.
Rubio was referring to statements this week by Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich acknowledging that neither is likely to accumulate the 1,144 delegates needed to be the party nominee. Both men also question Romney’s ability to achieve the number by the time the last voting occurs in late June.
Rubio said he was also backing Romney because of his ability to provide a “stark contrast” to Obama’s record. “In Mitt Romney, we have a candidate, an alternative, that in addition to being successful as a governor running an important state in this country has also been successful in the private sector and offers a very clear alternative to the direction this president is going to take our country.”
Rubio’s endorsement comes amid growing sentiment among Republicans — establishment leaders as well as voters — that they need to coalesce around a nominee and prepare for the battle with Obama this fall. The move comes on the eve of former President George H.W. Bushendorsing Romney in Houston on Thursday, and on the heels of an endorsement from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Both Rubio’s and the younger Bush’s nods would have arguably meant more before Florida’s vital primary on Jan. 31, where Romney won a resounding victory and effectively stalled rival Newt Gingrich.
Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, is a rising star on the GOP bench, and many, including Jeb Bush, have suggested that he ought to be the GOP nominee’s vice presidential pick. Rubio has repeatedly slapped down such calls, on Wednesday reiterating that he would like to complete his work representing Florida in the Senate.
“It’s not going to happen,” Rubio said on MSNBC on Wednesday. “I’m obviously flattered 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?. It’s a privilege to serve here, and it’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.”
Rubio’s image was diminished slightly this year when information emerged that contradicted the senator’s tales about his parents fleeing Cuba under Fidel Castro’s regime. Rubio’s parents actually immigrated to the United States before Castro seized power. Rubio has said that he misspoke.
Romney has paid no heed to such criticism. On Tuesday night, during an appearance on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” host Jay Leno asked him to play a word association game with potential vice presidential candidates.
When Rubio’s name was mentioned, Romney replied, “The American Dream.”