ABC is reporting that the Romney campaign isn't even bothering to vet Marco Rubio for the VP slot. I don't have much to add to what others are saying -- I agree that this leak could theoretically be a head fake by the campaign, though most observers seem to think it isn't, in which case the rejection of Rubio means that Romney has given up on trying to win Hispanic votes and is now trying to get elected exclusively by rolling up the score with non-college-educated whites. I'd add that maybe Romney thinks running with Rubio would effectively be like running with Rubio's best-known champion, Jeb Bush; Romney, who strikes me as quite insecure, may be trying not to be overshadowed by that Big Kahuna and his famous family.
But what I want to bring up is the pettiness of the whole thing. The report comes on the publication date of Rubio's memoir. Um, twist the knife much, Romney campaign?
And now there's this from BuzzFeed:
Rubio Ally Fingers Romney Adviser As Possible Leak SourceSo this is how your team operates, Mitt? Your subordinates use the campaign not to do what helps the campaign, but to settle scores in a small-minded, childish way? Yeah, I'm so looking forward to having you and your crew in the Situation Room dealing with a 3:00 A.M. crisis.
A top ally to Marco Rubio suggested that a prominent Romney aide was the source of the ABC News story today that Romney is not considering the Florida senator as his running mate.
"Do remember that Stuart Stevens was Charlie Crist's guy," Ana Navarro told BuzzFeed, referring to Rubio's Republican-turned-independent opponent in the 2010 Senate race. "The guys who did all of that oppo and attacks on Marco were none other than [Romney advisers] Stuart Stevens and Russ Schriefer."
... "I think it's interesting that the only person being singled out in this rumor is Marco," said Ana Navarro, an adviser to one of Rubio's strongest backers -- former Gov. Jeb Bush....
Last September, The New York Times ran a profile of Stuart Stevens. He comes off as a guy who really, really thinks he's The Most Interesting Man in the World:
The man in charge of reshaping Mitt Romney's image as a presidential candidate ... has skied the last 100 miles to the North Pole and eaten his way through Europe's three-star Michelin restaurants.In other words, he's kind of a self-satisfied dick. And he's proud that he's a self-satisfied dick. If this profile is accurate, he seems like a guy who'd go rogue because it suits his own needs.
...he has picked up his share of critics who say that his ego can be outsize and that he can be sharp-elbowed with rivals. Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist, ... called him "a slippery character."
... "He is not a political consultant out of central casting," said Stephen Merrill, a former governor of New Hampshire. "When you sit down with him, you never know if the first sentence is going to be, 'I'm going to sail around the world,' or 'I'm going to write a book about moon exploration' or 'I'm going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.'"
... Those who do not like Mr. Stevens find him cocky -- someone who thinks he is smarter and better than many in the business -- and Mr. Stevens might not disagree. Nor does he much care about being liked. He likes politics for its blood-sport aspect...
He is also an extreme-sports aficionado....
... His life as a political consultant, Mr. Stevens wrote, "served as an outlet for my violent tendencies."
It's striking to me that Romney's top guy seems to have no idea what it's like to have ordinary workaday responsibilities, or to have to get along with people in a society, because he can always swan off to some other continent when the mood strikes him. Seems like exactly the wrong worldview for public service.