By The Hill Editors - 06/26/12 11:31 PM EDT
If you haven’t seen Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioWhat happens when the GOP base abandons the party platform? Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate Trump encourages Rubio to reclaim Senate seat MORE (R-Fla.) on television recently, you cannot have had the remote control in your hand.
Rubio has been on a public-relations blitz for the past couple of months. The freshman senator has been interviewed on ABC’s “The View,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” CNBC, CBS, CNN, NBC’s “Meet the Press” and Fox News on several occasions.
The 41-year-old senator is very newsworthy at the moment, for he is a prime contender to become Mitt Romney’s running mate and is already the GOP’s leading spokesman on immigration.
It remains to be seen, though, whether the surge of publicity will help or hinder his chances of serving on the GOP ticket.
Rubio, saying he is focused on his Senate job, is trying to downplay the veep chatter. Yet there are many signs that he is interested. He has explained some “baggage” he carries regarding his personal use of a GOP credit card. In April, he delivered a major speech on foreign policy, and a month later, he visited the military prison at Guantánamo Bay. He also just released his memoir, which is a rite of passage for politicians walking onto the national stage.
In 2011, Rubio kept a low profile, which is standard for freshmen; he was the last freshman senator to deliver his inaugural speech on the Senate floor.
In the spring, Rubio was considered the front-runner to become Romney’s running mate. But according to intrade.com, a betting market, Rubio’s chances have dwindled and he now runs behind Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanJuan Williams: Electoral map looks grim for Trump McConnell touts 'Senate squad' in Wes Anderson-style video Liberal super-PAC hits Johnson for supporting Trump MORE (R-Ohio) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) in the “veepstakes.”
There has been confusion on whether Rubio is being vetted. After a news report indicated that Rubio’s background was not being looked into, Romney said Rubio was being vetted.
Adding to the confusion was Rubio’s decision not to release an immigration reform plan before the election, as he had vowed to do earlier this year.
Rubio made this decision after President Obama changed his administration policy on deportations, a pivot that put the GOP on its heels.
The big question about Rubio’s many media appearances is: What does it mean?
That is a hard question to answer. But it is worth noting that even if Rubio is passed over by Romney, he has a bright future. Many in GOP circles say that at some point, he will be the Republican presidential nominee.
Rubio’s memoir and many interviews have not made him a household name. But the senator is now better known. That will help him in 2016, 2020 or 2024.