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MARCO RUBIO:The man who would be veep – – VIDEO

September 19, 2011

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The man who would be veep

By Niall Stanage – 09/19/11 05:00 AM ET

The battle for the Republican presidential nomination is just heating up. But the choice of running mate is as good as settled, at least if the Beltway buzz is to be believed.

Many party insiders feel that the attractions of Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) for the second spot on the ticket are irresistible.

“Right now, he is head and shouders above everybody else,” Florida-based GOP strategist Rick Wilson told The Hill. (Wilson supported Rubio during his 2010 Senate bid, but did not work for the campaign.)

Garlands have been hurled Rubio’s way with conspicuous frequency in the past few weeks.

“Rubio has the most important ingredient of any leader: vision,” conservative columnist Cal Thomas wrote.

Former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen last week contrasted the “depressing” performance of the Republican presidential candidates on foreign policy with that of Rubio. The Floridian recently “stepped forward to do what the other candidates should have: lay out a clear foreign policy vision,” Thiessen wrote on his Washington Post blog.

Thiessen and Thomas were reacting to two major speeches.

The first came late last month at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. There, Rubio laid out a worldview that sounded strikingly magnanimous.

“Conservatism is not about leaving people behind,” he said. “Conservatism is about empowering people to catch up, to give them the tools at their disposal that make it possible for them to access all the hope, all the promise, all the opportunity that America offers. And our programs to help them should reflect that.”

Rubio turned his attention to foreign policy last Tuesday, with an address at the Jesse Helms Center in North Carolina. Though the speech assailed the Obama administration, it also put a wide stretch of water between Rubio and the GOP’s paleoconservative wing.

“If we refuse to play our rightful role and shrink from the world, America and the entire world will pay a terrible price,” he insisted.

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