Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has not been vetted by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign as a possible vice presidential candidate, according to a report by Jonathon Karl of ABC News.
Karl reports that “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.”
Karl takes it a step further, adding: “Although it is possible that Rubio may yet be asked to go through the vetting process… The fact that Rubio has not been asked to turn over any documents by now is a strong indication that he is not on Romney’s short list of potential running mates.”
Long-time Romney aide Beth Myers was put in charge of vetting possible running mates a few months ago.
According to ABC News, the Rubio and Romney camps had no comment on the report.
Rubio, popular with many conservatives, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, was seen as the frontrunner and someone who could help Romney win Florida and the Latino vote.
But some Republicans, including former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, didn’t necessarily believe Rubio was ready for the job or that he would make a difference in the election.
“I don’t think people are going to vote for Governor Romney based upon who he chooses as his number two," Gonzales told Juan Williams in a Fox News Latino interview. "I really don’t. I don’t think it’s going to make a difference to the Hispanic community, if they view Governor Romney’s policies as something that they just simply don’t agree with."
Romney sometimes has praised the Florida Senator.
“Marco Rubio is living proof that the American dream is still very much alive,” Romney said in a release thanking Rubio for his endorsement.
Rubio, in the meantime, has downplayed his possible impact on a hypothetical ticket.
“First of all, these hypothetical questions are dangerous,” he told Juan Williams in a March interview with Fox News Latino. “And it isn’t going to be the choice between winning and losing. You know, you don’t win or lose a presidential race on a VP pick. You win or lose on competing visions for the future of our country.”
At times, Rubio has indicated -- if inadvertently -- that the second spot has been on his mind.
In April, at a press event at the Newseum in Washington D.C., Rubio -- asked whether he had enough experience to be Vice President, and a heart beat away from the President's job -- said every year he serves in the Senate he gains experience. Then, in a slip, he added that after several more years as "Vice President" he would have even more experience and be even more qualified. Realizing the slip, Rubio blushed and laughed -- a moment that was replayed on national television several times.
Rubio’s prospects for his own future presidential run have not been overlooked, even by people in the Democratic Party.
“Senator Rubio [could be a candidate for President],” former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson told Fox News Latino. “I don’t know much about him, I’m intrigued by him.”
UPDATE: Romney was asked by Fox News' Sean Hannity about this report. "I get a kick about some of the speculation that goes on," said Romney. Romney went on to say that only he and Beth Myers know who is being vetted. *See the sound bite above.
Includes reporting from a Juan Williams column.
Follow Victor Garcia on Twitter @MrVicGarcia