U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) clamped down on VP rumors, telling reporters he was “not going to be the vice presidential nominee” for the Republican Party. Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., he provided advice to his fellow Republicans on the complicated immigration issue, saying the GOP can’t be “the anti-illegal immigration party.”. Rubio was also asked about the Univision controversy.
Discussing the Vice Presidential rumors, ABC’s The Note reported:
When asked… Rubio repeated twice for emphasis, “I am not going to be the Vice Presidential nominee. I am not going to be the Vice Presidential nominee.”
Asked during the forum if he would turn down an offer if the Republican presidential nominee asks him to, Rubio responded, “Yea, I believe so,” adding again, “the answer is gonna be no.”…
“I’m not focused on that,” [Rubio] said. “I don’t crave it. I wanted to be a United States Senator. I didn’t run for the Senate as an opportunity to have a launching pad for some other job. I think one of the things that I lament is that people somehow come to the conclusion that United States Senator is not enough. Listen, the United States Senate is still an important, I think very important institution.”
With immigration becoming an ever-present issue during the GOP Presidential primary, Rubio offered his Republican colleagues some advice on the issue. He warned Republicans to pay attention to their tone and to not have primary focus on immigrants who entered the country illegally. The Huffington Post reported:
“We cannot be the anti-illegal immigration party. We have to be the pro-legal immigration party,” [Rubio] said. “We have to be a party that advocates for a legal immigration system that’s good for Americans, good for America and honors our tradition both as a nation of immigrants and as a nation of law.”
Immigration has become a main issue in the GOP Presidential Primary, to the disappointment of many Hispanic Republican and GOP leaders. Many Republicanos worry that the GOP will squander a unique opportunity to connect with Latino voters who are disillusioned with President Obama, suffering through high-unemployment and looking for a Presidential candidate that can fix the economy.
Mitt Romney has attacked Texas Governor Rick Perry for supporting legislation in 2001 that provides in-state tuition for some of Texas’ undocumented students. In 2003, as a member of the Florida legislature, Marco Rubio supported legislation that would have provided in-state tuition for a limited number of undocumented students. The Florida legislation failed. He continues to be supportive of a state-based legislation (with limits) but not in favor of a federal DREAM Act. Rubio has refused to address if he agrees with Perry or Romney on the in-state tuition issue, only telling reporters, ” “Rick Perry had a bill in Texas. We had a different bill in Florida.”
[Rubio] said, as he has in the past, that he does not believe all undocumented students in the United States should receive in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, arguing that there should be exceptions for young people who are in the country without documents — through no fault of their own — and are outstanding students.
“There are instances of young people who have something to contribute to America’s future, and I believe the vast majority of Americans would like to be able to accommodate them. My greater point, which I hope wasn’t missed, was that it’s become harder and harder to do that as this issue’s gone unresolved, and people have become less supportive of those measures,” he said.
The St. Petersburg Times reported that Rubio also said:
“As a general rule,” Rubio said, “people in the United States who are here without documents should not benefit from programs like in-state tuition.” He said carve-outs, while a worthy objective, have become harder to justify….
…He sketched a scenario where a small child is brought to the country illegally by his parents.
“These kids have grown up here their entire lives, they’re 18 now and they can’t go to college,” he said. “Now here’s the rub: If that kid is 6-foot-7 and can dunk a basketball or throw a 95 mph fast-pitch, we’re going to find a way to keep them, right? But if the kid has a 4.0 GPA, you’re going to deport him? So people look at that and say, ‘Well maybe we should find a way to accommodate that.’ “
Rubio declined to comment on the GOP Presidential candidates who have decided to boycott a proposed Univision debate due to allegations that the Spanish-language network unethically pursued a story about Rubio’s family, proposing to soften the piece if the senator appeared on its Al Punto show.
“The whole thing is something I really don’t even want to comment on … I know you have to ask, but I really don’t want to address the whole issue. I really don’t want to give that thing any oxygen,” Rubio said.