Sen. Marco Rubio just gave Republican Mitt Romney 8,000 reasons to not pick him as a vice presidential running mate.
Rubio’s 2010 Senate campaign was fined $8,000 by the Federal Elections Commission, according to a just-released report that said it received “prohibited, excessive and other impermissible contributions totaling $210,173.09.”
By itself, the fine is a pittance for a campaign that raised about $21 million. The errors appear to be relatively small and largely clerical.
Still, it’s sloppy. It’s also a surprise. And it feeds into a broader narrative that Rubio is risky.
Romney’s campaign isn’t the type that suffers sloppiness, surprise or risk. Meantime, the New York-Washington media establishment seems eager to portray the 40-year-old Rubio as unprepared to be a heartbeat away from the White House.
“He is not ready to be on a national ticket in 2012,” former Pensacola Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough said on his Morning Joe program on MSNBC. “He’s not ready to be in the Oval Office. He’s not ready to be vice president of the United States.”
Others, including Alberto Gonzales, White House counsel and attorney general under former President George W. Bush, believe he would be a poor VP pick.
Scarborough made his comments the day before Friday’s disclosure of Rubio’s fine.
To be sure, Rubio is still beloved by tea party activists and conservative leaders, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.