Mitt Romney on Tuesday said that Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioSenate confirms Obama's long-stalled ambassador to Mexico Sanders is most popular senator, according to constituent poll Toomey: 'Outrageous' for Dems to tie me to Trump MORE (R-Fla.) is being “thoroughly vetted” as a vice presidential candidate, rejecting reports that the freshman senator is not being considered for the job.
"Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process," Romney said, according to multiple accounts from reporters on the ground in Michigan.
Romney said reports to the contrary were “entirely false” and came from sources that have “no knowledge” of his team’s selection process.
The statement is the first time Romney has confirmed or denied vetting any prospective candidates. Romney's campaign has kept a tight lid on the process despite rampant speculation about who is and isn't on the candidate's short list.
“I’m not going to comment on the process of course but I can tell you this, only Beth Myers and I know who is being vetted,” Romney told Fox News, referring to the aide he appointed to head his vice presidential search two months ago.
Rubio has long been considered a front-runner for the job, bringing conservative bona fides and high popularity in the crucial swing state of Florida to a potential ticket. The senator has appeared multiple times with Romney on the campaign trail, and there are strong ties between Rubio and Romney staffers.
Rubio on Tuesday urged restraint in speculation about the vetting process.
"Everyone should just take a deep breath. Gov. Romney's gonna make a great choice," Rubio said on Fox News, adding he was "not commenting on the VP process."
— This story was last updated at 6:51 p.m.