RUBIO SLAMS OBAMA: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., unleashed a set of attacks on President Obama Saturday evening in South Carolina as he called the president the most “divisive figure” in modern American history. “His ideas that sounded so good in the classrooms of Harvard and Yale haven’t really worked out well in the real world,” Rubio said at the South Carolina Republican Party’s Silver Elephant Dinner in Columbia, S.C. “For all the policy disagreements that we may have with the president, it is hard to understate how much he inspired people across this country four years ago, with his promises to unite America and lift it up. … The man who today occupies the White House and is running for president is a very different person. We have not seen such a divisive figure in modern American history as we have over the last three and a half years.”
RUBIO COURTING S.C. REPUBLICANS: Rubio’s speech Saturday omitted any references to Mitt Romney, who some think might select Rubio as his running mate. But even if the speech wasn’t a direct attempt at a VP tryout, Rubio’s appearance helped lay the groundwork for the future, be it 2016 or beyond. The senator, 40, received praise from four South Carolina politicians, including Sen. Lindsey Graham who called him the “future of the Republican Party,” and Sen. Jim DeMint , who said he’s a “voice for freedom.”
CHRISTIE SAYS OBAMA’S ‘POSING AND PREENING’: New Jersey Gov. Christie accused President Obama of “posing and preening” instead of dealing with the critical issues facing the country, the AP reports. “He is the most ill-prepared person to assume the presidency in my lifetime,” Christie said this weekend at the Kentucky GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Lexington. “This is a guy who literally is walking around in a dark room trying to find the light switch of leadership. … He has sat in the Oval Office and cared more about posing and preening and making partisan politics the rule of the day in Washington D.C., than he’s cared about progress.”
RYAN AVOIDS VP TALK … AGAIN: Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., adopted a new approach this past week when it comes to chatter about the VP spot: Don’t talk about it. In an appearance on “Meet the Press” Sunday, Ryan again deflected the question when asked whether Romney’s team had reached out to him about vetting. “Look, I’m not going to get into the internal process of another campaign,” Ryan said. “I’m focused on doing my job here as a Wisconsin congressman, as a budget committee chairman. So I’m just not going to get into that speculation.”
McDONNELL SIGNS VOTER ID LAW: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a voter ID law into effect Friday, the AP reports. The law requires voters to show valid identification at the polls but does not require photo ID. McDonnell also ordered new voter ID cards be sent to every voter in Virginia. “Every qualified citizen has the right to cast one vote. Not two votes; not zero votes,” McDonnell said Friday as he signed the bill.
AYOTTE ON THE TRAIL WITH ROMNEY: Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., appeared on the trail with Gov. Romney Friday, ABC News’ Emily Friedman reports. Ayotte introduced Romney as he spoke at an abandoned bridge in Hillsborough, N.H., in an attempt to highlight what they view as President Obama’s reckless spending.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE VISITS ISRAEL: Condoleezza Rice visited Israel this weekend and recalled in a speech how the attacks of 9/11 changed the United States and enhanced U.S.-Israeli relations.
GRAHAM PICKS JEB BUSH: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told The Hill that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would be the best choice for Romney to place on his ticket this fall. “He’d be an outstanding pick. It’s up to Gov. Romney but if I had to recommend a single person, it would be Jeb,” Graham said to The Hill.
BIOGRAPHERS THINK CHRISTIE COULD BE A ‘PRODUCTIVE’ VP: The Daily Caller reports the authors of a Chris Christie biography that will be released in June think the New Jersey governor could be an effective vice president with Mitt Romney. “On the campaign trail he is tenacious, going after political enemies with gusto,” Bob Ingle and Michael Symons write in “Chris Chrisite: The Inside Story of His Rise To Power.” ”They could sell tickets to a Christie-Joe Biden debate.” They see Christie’s tell-it-like-it-is style as an advantage that Romney could use.
@robportman: I’m always inspired by our servicemembers and their families – their dedication and sacrifice protects us everyday #armedforcesday
@RepPaulRyan: It is not too late to ensure a brighter future for today’s graduates.