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First Thoughts: Why Rubio probably won't be the pick

Why Rubio probably won’t be Romney’s VP pick… And why T-Paw seems to be rising… Obama campaign releases two new TV ads hitting Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor… Romney’s boxed in on immigration… Romney raises money in Michigan, while the first lady stumps in Colorado… And House Republicans appear move forward on bringing contempt charges against AG Holder.

*** Why Rubio probably won’t be the pick: After reports surfaced yesterday revealing that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) either wasn’t being vetted by Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential search team or he wasn’t being vetted as much as two other choices, Romney made a statement to correct the record. “Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process,” he told reporters, per NBC’s Garrett Haake. But here’s a little rule of thumb in American politics: If you have to say you’re vetting someone, is that someone really under serious consideration? Indeed, despite being the party’s rising star and a favorite of the GOP base, the signs always have pointed AGAINST Rubio being Romney’s pick. Why? For starters, he’s only been a U.S. senator for a year and a half, and he didn’t endorse Romney until late in the GOP primary season. Then there’s the opposition research out there on him -- something that the Romney folks who worked for Charlie Crist’s 2010 Senate campaign know pretty well: Rubio charged more than $100,000 to state GOP credit cards, had racked up nearly $1 million in personal debt, and nearly had his home foreclosed on. No doubt that Rubio has plenty of assets (young, Latino, from Florida). But he also carries a lot of risk for the usually risk-averse Romney.  

Jae C. Hong / AP file photo

Sen. Marco Rubio joins Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for a news conference prior to a town hall-style meeting in Aston, Pa.

*** T-Paw rising: So if it isn’t going to be Rubio, who will it be? Politico today writes something we’ve been saying over the past couple of weeks: Don’t lose sight of Tim Pawlenty. “Tim Pawlenty has jumped to the top of the vice presidential shortlist of several Mitt Romney advisers after emerging as the most effective — and well-liked — surrogate for the GOP nominee-to-be, according to several Republicans familiar with campaign deliberations.” That story follows a Washington Post report noting that Pawlenty and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) have undergone “a more intensive review” than Rubio has in the Romney campaign’s vetting process. If Pawlenty becomes the pick, Romney and his team would be sending this fairly implicit message: T-Paw should have been the VP choice four years ago. It also highlights just how differently Romney and McCain go about making decisions -- Romney: data-driven; McCain: gut. See the AP’s write up today on how Romney’s likely going about the VP process “The Bain Way.”

While on the campaign trail in Michigan, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney hinted that his team may be considering Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., as a running mate. NBC's Peter Alexander reports.

*** Team Obama’s two new TV ads: The Obama campaign has unveiled two new TV ads, both of which continue to hammer away at Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor. The first one points out that Romney raised revenues and fees as governor -- something that his GOP opponents rarely brought up during the primary season. The other one hits him for outsourcing jobs to India when he was governor. “Outsourcing jobs -- Romney economics. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now,” that advertisement goes. The Romney campaign has issued this response to these new ads: “Mitt Romney was a successful businessman and governor with a decades-long record of helping to create American jobs, in contrast to President Obama's hostility to free enterprise that has left millions of Americans out of work.  It's still the economy and the American people aren't stupid.” Speaking of ads, the conservative group Concerned Women for America is up with a big buy in swing states hitting the health-care law.

*** Romney boxed in on immigration: Why do Republicans have a problem when it comes to immigration? And why will Romney’s speech on Thursday to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) be such a challenge for him? Here’s a reason: The first actual GOP bill that gets traction after Obama’s immigration move on Friday is an effort to reverse the president’s action. As NBC’s Frank Thorp reported yesterday, Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) has introduced legislation that would prevent the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing a presidential executive action as immigration law. This demonstrates the box that Romney finds himself in (and which John McCain found himself in four years ago): Even if you want to try to woo Latinos by pursuing a more moderate path on immigration, the GOP base is against that. That said, the Republican National Committee is up with web video (in both English and Spanish) arguing that the economy hasn’t worked for Latinos during the Obama years. But is an economic message, with nothing to offer on immigration, really enough?

*** On the trail: Romney hits a pair of fundraisers in Michigan… First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to two gatherings of campaign volunteers in Colorado… Vice President Biden begins his day with a fundraiser in Carmel, CA before heading to New Orleans, where he addresses the National Association of Black Journalists… And the Romney sons appear on Conan O’Brien’s show.

*** Trying to pressure Merkel: Here’s the dispatch by NBC’s Shawna Thomas and one of us from the G20 summit in Mexico. “President Barack Obama expressed support for his European counterparts and their measures to manage the fiscal crisis as the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico wrapped up Tuesday, saying he believes they are ‘ready to do what is necessary to hold the Eurozone together.’ Behind the scenes, however, one senior administration official said the focus of the summit was to convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel to pull away from an austerity plan and focus more on spending and creating jobs. Another senior administration official was asked whether leaders "ganged up" on Merkel; that official replied, ‘I don’t think I’d describe it that way.’ But another official said world leaders were very blunt in their efforts to convince Merkel to sign on to the plan.”

President Barack Obama wrapped up a meeting of the world's 20 largest economies by warning that the markets shouldn't expect Europe to solve its problems overnight. The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd reports.

*** In contempt? After failing to reach an agreement yesterday with Attorney General Eric Holder in handing over more documents in the so-called “Fast & Furious” matter, House Republicans appear to be moving ahead to bring contempt charges against Holder. Politico looks at the stakes for the House GOP: “The contempt fight with Holder and the White House is a big moment for House Republicans. With stubbornly high unemployment, a president with weak approval ratings, a redistricting process that has shored up Republican seats from coast to coast and a worse-than-expected economic recovery, GOP officials think they’re poised to keep the House in their control, and many believe they have a shot at taking the Senate and White House. Yet, despite public pronouncements of support from Boehner and other GOP leaders, significant pockets among GOP leadership think the spectacle of holding the attorney general in contempt of Congress would knock the party off message.”

Countdown to GOP convention: 68 days
Countdown to Dem convention: 75 days
Countdown to Election Day: 139 days

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