Rubio rejects running as Republicans' VP nominee

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) said Monday that he has no interest in becoming his party's vice presidential nominee in 2012.

Rubio, a newly elected senator who's considered a rising star in the GOP, rejected running on the Republican Party ticket in two years.

"No, and I don't spend any time thinking about it," Rubio said on 92.5 radio in Fort Myers when asked if he'd be open to serving as the party's vice presidential nominee.

"I'm flattered that people would ask that question, because I think they mean it in a complimentary way. But, by the same token, I recognize that this job — this one job that I wanted, I wanted to be a U.S. senator, not a vice presidential candidate, not a presidential candidate," Rubio added. "I didn't run to use it as a steppingstone, I ran because I wanted to be a U.S. senator."

Conservatives in the Republican Party have long been enamored of Rubio, who had challenged Gov. Charlie Crist last year in the GOP Senate primary in Florida. Rubio managed to force Crist to bow out of the primary and run as an Independent in the general election. Rubio cruised to victory over Crist and Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek.

Rubio's victory, and status within the party as a young, conservative and Latino voice have raised hopes that he might run for president. Rubio's dismissed such talk, which has forced pundits to speculate that he might agree instead to serve as the eventual nominee's running mate.

"I'm not going to be able to do this job well unless I'm 100 percent committed to it," Rubio said. "And even with 100 percent of my focus on it, it's going to be a tough job. So I can't afford any distractions, or any of these other things."