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Romney says Rubio is being vetted for vice presidential nomination despite earlier contrary reports

By Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times –

HOLLAND, Mich. — In a rare breach of his secretive process for selecting a running mate, Mitt Romney confirmed Tuesday that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was under serious consideration, denying a news report to the contrary.

“Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process,” Romney told reporters outside an ice cream shop in this town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

(PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney makes his way shaking hands during a rally held at the Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, Michigan, Tuesday, June 19, 2012.)

On Tuesday morning, ABC News quoted unnamed Republican sources saying that Rubio was “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,” ABC reported.

Romney normally refuses to talk in any detail about his screening of contenders for the Republican vice presidential nomination. But the ABC report led his campaign to summon a small group of reporters to the Holland ice cream shop, where Romney denied it was true and disclosed that Rubio was on the list under review by him and Beth Myers, the senior adviser he has put in charge of the search.

“There was a story that originated today apparently at ABC based upon reports of supposedly outside unnamed advisers of mine,” Romney said. “I can’t imagine who such people are. But I can tell you this: they know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process.

“There are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not: And that’s Beth Myers and myself. And I know Beth well. She doesn’t talk to anybody. The story was entirely false. Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process.”

In a presidential race in which the Latino vote is a major factor in such battleground states as Florida, Nevada and Colorado, Rubio, a Cuban American, is the most prominent Latino widely seen as a potential Romney running mate.

When President Barack Obama announced Friday that he would stop the deportation of hundreds of thousands of young illegal immigrants brought by their parents to the United States, Romney invoked efforts by Rubio to find a long-term solution to the issue.

Romney’s denial of the report on Rubio came just before the final stop of his five-day tour of small towns and rural areas of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan. Joining him on stage at rallies along the way has been a rotating cast of potential running mates, including former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

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