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On Rubio and the Vice Presidency

March 9, 2012

This post has been updated to correct a typo

Are we suffering from Marco Rubio Derangement Syndrome?

Our monthly Vice Presidential Power Rankings, which we updated yesterday, ruffled some feathers among the Florida press corps. Adam Smith and Marc Caputo each thought our decision to drop Sen. Marco Rubio a spot -- he's ranked second this month, first last month -- was driven by an inaccurate assessment of the amount of scrutiny Rubio got when he won his Senate seat in 2010.

Both Smith and Caputo are guys who know more about Florida politics than almost anyone (We'd add Beth Reinhard, National Journal's politics correspondent and the co-author of this week's magazine cover story, to that list). And they have a point: The Florida political press is more active and provides harsher scrutiny than the political press corps in most states, and Rubio felt the glare during his last race.

But there is a real and genuine fear among many senior Republicans -- the kinds of people who will be consulted about an eventual vice presidential pick -- of repeating mistakes of the past. Virtually every Republican we talk with about the vice presidential pick brings up Sarah Palin and her jarring transition from small-state governor to national political figure. Republicans took a lesson away from the 2008 presidential contest: It's impossible to prepare someone for the national spotlight in just a few months, let alone a few weeks (Rick Perry helped hammer home that lesson).

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