Veep Beat: Rubio's Soaking Up the VP Spotlight

Image Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

RUBIO'S TIME TO SHINE: National Journal/CBS News' Rebecca Kaplan examines how Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is taking advantage of his moment in the veepstakes spotlight to launch a broader role for himself on the national scene by  embarking on foreign policy trips and  courting voters in key primary and swing states. "The search for a vice president, as Democratic strategist Chris Lehane describes it, 'is the original 'American Idol'/'Dancing With the Stars,' with some candidates auditioning for the part and others leveraging the stage to launch their own national careers,'" Kaplan wrote. "Marco Rubio is doing both - and wiping the floor with his competition - even if it's unclear whether he's really interested in being Romney's vice president, or if Romney's all that interested in him."

RUBIO, CHAMPION OF THE INTERNET: Buzzfeed's Zeke Miller takes a look at Sen. Marco Rubio, who manages his own Twitter account but leaves Facebook to his staff  as he tries to navigate through an Internet world on Capitol Hill and beyond. "Rubio is carving a space out for himself as a champion of the Internet and is on the leading edge, along with Rep. Darrell Issa, of a new wave of Republican leadership on issues like Internet privacy and regulation," Miller reported. "The conservative Republicans have emerged as surprising champions for an industry whose youth and cultural leanings has traditionally aligned it with Democrats, and which has emerged as a key support base for President  Obama, whose White House also helped kill the piracy legislation. But Rubio shrugs off a partisan realignment, saying the shift is more about the rise of younger, more Internet-savvy  lawmakers. "I've never really seen it as a partisan" issue, he said. "I've seen it as more of a generational one than a partisan one."

RUBIO IN NYC: Rubio will address the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City at 1 p.m. Thursday.

THUNE OPEN TO VP SPOT: NBC's Alex Moe reports South Dakota Sen. John Thune told reporters Wednesday that he's not expecting Romney to ask him to VP but he wouldn't rule it out if the Republican nominee comes calling. "I don't think you ever rule out or say no to opportunities to public service. If you are really interested in making a difference for your country, you want to put your gifts and abilities to the highest and best use," Thune told reporters in Custer, S.D. "I don't expect that to happen, but I don't think you never say never when it comes to serving your country."

HUCKABEE SAYS PICK RUBIO: After the   New Hampshire  Republican State Committee Victory Dinner in Manchester Wednesday night, Mike Huckabee laughed when reporters asked if he'd consider being Romney's running mate, according to the Bedford Patch."Let's see if my phone is ringing, I don't think anybody has called," Huckabee said. "No, not yet. But if they do I'll let you know."  Huckabee then pointed to Marco Rubio as the best candidate to join Romney on the ticket this fall. "I've personally said I love Marco Rubio," Huckabee said. "I was the first person to endorse him when he ran for the Senate, when everybody thought there was no way he was going to beat Charlie Crist, and I think, you know, he's got so many skills and abilities. … There's a lot of people who can be on the ticket with Mitt Romney and do well. … Whoever Mitt chooses I think it's going to be a very methodical and thoughtful choice on his part .. and I'm going to be supportive no matter who he selects."

PORTMAN IN ISRAEL: Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, touched down in Israel Wednesday and today toured the Iron Dome Protection System, ABC News' Gregory Simmons reports. While in Israel, Portman will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

MARTINEZ TO BE BRIEFED ON NEW MEXICO FIRE: New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez will meet with fire crews and volunteers Thursday to survey the damage of the Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire, which has burned more than 265 square miles and is now considered the largest fire in the state's history, ABC News' Joanna Suarez reports.  Martinez will receive an update on efforts to contain the fire and will hold a press conference afterwards.

CHRISTIE STANDS BY OPENLY GAY N.J. SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie told reporters Wednesday that he supported the nomination of Bruce Harris, the first openly gay man and third African-American to be nominated to the state's Supreme Court, the N.J. Star-Ledger reported. "All I hope for is that the Senate will fulfill their constitutional duty, and I don't know how you can fulfill that without ever hearing from the guy," Christie said Wednesday "I think Bruce Harris deserves his day to make his case as to why he is eminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court."

CONDI ENDORSES ROMNEY: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice endorsed Mitt Romney Wednesday evening at a fundraiser in California.  "If America is going to rebuild its strength at home, rebuild its sense of who we are, it needs a leader that also understands how really exceptional the United States of America is, and is not afraid to lead on the basis of that exceptionalism," Rice said, according to the pool reports.  Rice said the country needs "someone who understands the truly exceptional nature of this country, a country in which its people are not bound together by religion" or by ethnicity "but rather by a creed - a simple creed: You can come from humble circumstances, and you can do great things. … That's the truly exceptional nature of this country. It's understood in this world; its leadership is craved in this world. And Gov. Romney, you can bring it back."

JEB BUSH TO CAPITOL HILL: Former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush will testify before the House Budget Committee Friday during a hearing titled "Removing the Barriers to Free Enterprise and Economic Growth."

HALEY'S VP PICKS: JINDAL OR RICE: During a Facebook chat with constituents Wednesday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley let her preference be known regarding who Mitt Romney should select as a running mate, the Daily Caller reported.  "I think there are amazing candidates for VP and believe whoever Gov. Romney chooses will be part of a dream team," Haley said. "My preference would be Bobby Jindal or Condi Rice."


@bobmcdonnell: "Captain Phillips" starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Keener will be shot in Virginia …

@bobbyjindal: America has a moral imperative to improve our educational system. …  ?#EDreform

@mikehuckabee: I am supporting the  @nhgop. If you live in NH, I encourage you to do so as well!

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