LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – Prominent Florida Republican strategist Ana Navarro is an example of the strongly loyal and protective circle of that surrounds Florida's junior senator, and rising GOP political star, Marco Rubio.
Navarro comes from the same Jeb Bush branch of Florida GOP politics that molded Senator Rubio's nascent political career.
Earlier this week, when a leak from a "knowledgeable source" told ABC News that the Cuban-American was not being officially vetted by the Romney for president campaign, Navarro circled the wagons and fired back at the Romney campaign.
"They unnecessarily dissed a very popular figure of the conservative base and the most prominent Hispanic Republican. Romney has nothing to gain from this, " she told Buzzfeed.
By the end of the day and news cycle Romney matter-of-factly acknowledged to reporters that Rubio was indeed being officially vetted by the campaign as a potential running mate.
Romney was a relatively early supporter of Rubio during his 2010 Senate race.
Before he officially launched his presidential campaign, Romney campaigned with the then-insurgent senatorial candidate. At an Italian restaurant in Land O' Lakes, Fla., some in the crowd excitedly whispered "future ticket" as they stood together at the podium.
Romney's PAC also donated thousands to Rubio's senate campaign.
In Lake Buena Vista, as Latino elected officials meet for the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials --NALEO-- conference this week, Navarro is considered a Latina political rock star.
"Are you happier now that Rubio is officially being vetted?" a reporter asked the Nicaraguan-born Navarro.
"I'm happier than when he wasn't," said Navarro, flashing a huge smile and breaking out in a bellowing laugh." I think the brouhaha earlier in the week was frankly unnecessary and not helpful for Mitt Romney."
"Marco Rubio, whether you like it or not, is a very popular figure in the Republican base. He is an excellent surrogate, a great fund-raiser, and he is the most prominent Hispanic/Latino Republican in the country. So having him on your side is a very good thing," she added.
"It is Mitt Romney's choice who he vets and who he ultimately picks," stressed Navarro, "but I think dissing a figure like Marco Rubio is just not smart politics, and not smart policy."
Serafin Gomez is the Miami Bureau Producer for FOX News Channel. Fin covers Politics, Florida, and Latin America. Follow Fin on Twitter: @Finnygo.