DES MOINES, Iowa -- Add another top Republican to the growing category of supporters who want Sen. Marco Rubio as vice president: Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
"Well, Marco Rubio sounds pretty good to me," Gov. Branstad told NBC News following a Mitt RomneyVictory event on the steps of the state house here when asked who he would suggest to Romney to be VP. "There are a number of others that I think are very talented, but Marco Rubio, I think, tells it very much like it is, he is somebody who has come up the hard way and has showed great leadership and he is now one of the great young senators from the state of Florida -- an important and key state -- so he is certainly one I would like to see considered."
Rubio, the freshman senator from the Sunshine State, was scheduled to address the crowd in the Hawkeye State Saturday night but was forced to cancel after his plane taking him from Nevada to Iowa made an emergency landing for mechanical issues.
"This is not the way I had hoped to do it," Rubio told the rain-soaked crowd via cellphone over a loud speaker. "I have had 2 planes today have mechanical problems and the last one forced us to land here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, so I know how to take a hint."
As speculation continues to swirl as to who the presumptive GOP nominee will choose to be his No. 2 -- especially after the whirlwind tour of top surrogates around the country this weekend -- Rubio's name has been mentioned more and more.
In recent days, many top GOP leaders including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Republican strategist Karl Rovehave publicly thrown their support behind Rubio. And Saturday night, Branstad made the case for the Florida senator as well.
"I have always been a risk taker -- I have never been afraid to do what I think is the right thing to do and I just think that Gov. Romney needs to choose the candidate who he thinks will be the greatest asset to the ticket," the fifth term Iowa governor said. "Somebody who will complement and support him and help us rebuild the American dream and I think Marco Rubio is certainly one of the people that should be considered, but there are many other talented people out there too."
While Saturday's event didn't occur as planned (and originally, Rubio was going to attend an event in Colorado this evening until that was canceled due to the Aurora tragedy last week), Rubio did give brief remarks to the crowd in the battleground state, and said, "I promise you, I will come back."
And, not all Iowans in attendance were disappointed.
"I think it's a testament to the enthusiasm that the Republicans have this year that so many people turned out even in the rain," John Lepley of Des Moines said after the event concluded. "It showed that people are enthusiastic and fired up. Sen. Rubio gave a great speech which we were able to hear on the telephone line. It worked out fine."