Kyl openly courts 2012 vice presidential nomination

Retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) openly said Thursday that he would consider serving as the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2012, if asked by the eventual GOP nominee.

Kyl, at a press conference in Arizona to announce his retirement at the end of his term, courted the vice presidential nomination, saying it would be the only possible job that would lure him from retirement.

"I wouldn't close my mind to being a vice presidential candidate," Kyl said. "However, having said that, I expect the chances of that are zero."

Kyl is a three-term veteran of the Senate who rose to the No. 2 position in the Senate GOP conference. He took the lead last year in fighting against the ratification of the New START treaty, and has sought to distinguish himself on judicial issues as well.

He explicitly said that the vice presidency would be the only office he would seek. Kyl ruled out a run for president or for governor of Arizona, and said he would refuse to serve as a member of a Republican administration's Cabinet.

"That is the only office that I would ever consider," he said of the vice presidency.

It is rather extraordinary for a possible running mate to openly float his or her name for the nomination. Most Republicans, at this point in time, are ruling out serving in such a capacity. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), for instance, has rejected being a VP nominee.

Kyl would make more sense as a vice presidential nominee to a candidate with less legislative experience or less time in office. Arizona is a state that's tended Republican in recent statewide races, but President Obama won neighboring New Mexico and Colorado in 2008 on the strength of the Hispanic vote in each state — a voter share growing in Arizona, too.