ABC News’ Emily Friedman and Shushannah Walshe report:
HOLLAND, Mich. — Marco Rubio is being vetted for the vice presidential spot, Mitt Romney told reporters in Michigan Tuesday afternoon.
“Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process,” Romney said. He said reports from Tuesday that said Rubio was not being vetted were “entirely false.”
“There was a story that originated today, apparently at ABC, based on 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.”
Myers is Romney’s longtime aide. She is heading the vice presidential search and vetting process.
“I know Beth well. She doesn’t talk to anybody,” Romney said.
Reported first by ABCNews and later by others, sources said that Rubio, favored by many conservatives as a possible running mate, was not on the Romney team’s short list and had not been asked to turn in any financial documentation or questionnaires typically required of potential running mates.
Earlier today, the presumptive GOP nominee said the number one quality he is looking for in a running mate is whether they are ready to take over the presidency if something were to happen to him.
“Well, by far, the most important factor is whether this is a person who could lead the country if that were necessary,” Romney told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. ”Fortunately, there are a number of good men and women in my party that would meet that test…But that’s the most important element — would the American people and would I see this person as someone who could lead in that kind of eventuality?”
In clips released ahead of their interview Tuesday evening, Romney said even his wife, Ann, with whom he has a famously close relationship with does not know who is being vetted.
“There are a number of people who are being vetted and that’s obviously the group that we’re considering most seriously,” Romney said. “Even Ann doesn’t know. We talk about the possible people that I might select. But in terms of who’s actually being vetted, that’s something only two people know.”
Romney also wouldn’t bite when asked if he might announce his running mate early, before the Republican convention.
“I’ll consider a wide range of options,” Romney said. ”At this stage, I haven’t made a decision as to who it will be or when it will be announced. More traditionally, it’s announced right around the time of the convention. And there are advantages of doing that, I’m sure.”
Ann Romney also was part of the interview and said she feels after talking to voters on the campaign trail that they ”want change.”
“For me, you know, we’re out there, we’re hearing it, we’re feeling it,” Mrs. Romney said. ”It’s not even that we’re hearing that you can just — you can just feel it. It is in the air. And there is just something happening out there that is we are not going to go with four more years of this. We want change and we want — we want a new direction.”