The PJ Tatler

ABC's Romney-Rubio Veep Vet Scoop May be Less Than Meets the Eye (Update: Romney Says Rubio is Being Vetted)

ABC News is making news today for a claim that FL Sen. Marco Rubio isn’t even being vetted to join Mitt Romney on the GOP presidential ticket.

Even before the Republicans chose a presidential nominee it was widely assumed that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would be at the top of anybody’s list of vice presidential candidates. The reasons are obvious: Not only is he young, charismatic and wildly popular with conservatives, but he could also help Republicans win a key state (Florida) and make inroads with Hispanics.

But knowledgeable Republican sources tell me that Rubio is not being vetted by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential search team. He has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates.

Now who could these sources be? I’ll get to that in a second. First, here’s a preview of what Romney will say about all this when he appears on Hannity tonight.

Hannity: “What did you make of the ABC News report this morning that said Marco Rubio was not being vetted but Governor Tim Pawlenty was being vetted? Any comment on that story?”
Mitt Romney: “I get a kick out of some of the speculation that goes on. 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.”
Hannity: “Does that mean Ann Romney doesn’t know?”
Romney: “Even Ann doesn’t know. We talk about the possible people that I might select. But in terms of actually who is being vetted, that is something only two people know. And Beth Myers doesn’t talk.”
Hannity:“Is there a shortlist?”
Romney: “There are a number of people who are being vetted and that is obviously the group we are considering most seriously.”

According to Romney, only two people on the campaign know who is being vetted, he is one of them, and neither of them is talking. But.

If you’re being vetted, you know. And a few close to you will know too, your closest political adviser, your legal counsel, maybe your accountant, certainly your spouse. One of them might talk. It’s a safe bet that ABC talked to someone not on the Romney campaign, but someone close to Rubio.

Still, there’s no guarantee that whoever ABC talked to knows what they’re talking about. Politics attracts people who like to talk and sound like they’re insiders, even when they’re outsiders.

Update: Now the Washington Post reports that it has talked with two people on the Romney campaign, both of whom say that Rubio is not being seriously vetted.

Update: A source on the Romney campaign tells me that the Washington Post report is incorrect. Whoever it is talking to on the campaign is not involved in the veep search — see Romney’s comment above. Only two people on the campaign know anything, and they’re not talking. We await the Post’s correction.

Here’s what I think. Everyone is interested in Romney’s pick. As things stand now, that person is more likely than not to become vice president. That person will certainly become a target the nanosecond word breaks that Romney has made a choice. Everyone is talking, but very very few actually know what they’re talking about. ABC talked to people connected with Rubio and concluded that he is not in the running. The Post talked to people on the Romney campaign, but who are not involved in the search. There is no guarantee that either outlet talked to anyone who actually knows anything, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they both talked to people who in fact know nothing at all.

Update: Moments ago Romney addressed the press, knocked down both the ABC and WaPo story saying that Rubio is being vetted.