Sen. Marco Rubio on Romney's Veepstakes Shortlist?

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As the next round of Republican presidential primaries kicks off today, attention is now shifting to speculation over who the presumed nominee, Mitt Romney, will choose as his vice-presidential running mate.

There's no shortage of contenders: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels have all been mentioned.

Perhaps the most talked about prospect is a young freshman senator from Florida. Sen. Marco Rubio recently appeared with Romney at a campaign event in Pennsylvania and his presence adds to speculation that he's on Romney's short list.

Recent polls show President Obama has a strong lead among Latino voters, but community leaders say Latinos are naturally conservative and they're looking for a sign of support from the GOP.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, with the National Hispanic Evangelical Leadership Conference, said Romney needs to send a strong message to Hispanic voters.

"That Republicans love Hispanic Americans, that Republicans embrace the Hispanic American heritage, that Republicans are opposed to illegal immigration but are in favor of legal immigration. That's what they need to hear from the Republican Party," Rodriguez said.

Gabriel Salguero, with the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said Republican stances on illegal immigration has turned off Latino voters.

"What we've found in the last two elections -- the mid-terms and now the 2012 presidential election -- is a lot of Latino disillusionment...a lot of it has to do with kind of a feeling of setback around immigration reform," he said.

Some believe Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants with a Colombian wife, has what it takes to make Latino voters give Republicans another look. He's proposed an immigration reform plan called The Dream Act, which creates a special category to allow illegal immigrants to enter the immigration process without being deported.

It also allows children whose parents brought them to the United States illegally to receive non-immigrant visas. The temporary visa would allow them to stay in the U.S., go to school, and serve in the military, but does not grant them the rights of a U.S. citizen.

In the meantime, Rubio is dodging questions about being vice-president, saying he's going to stand back and respect the process.

"Our nominee, Mitt Romney, the leader of the Republican Party, has a vice-presidential process in place," Rubio said. "And I think from this point moving forward, I think it would be wise for all Republicans to kind of respect that process, myself included, and say, moving forward we're going to let his process play itself out."

"He has been a great decision-maker throughout his career in both the private sector and in politics," he said. "He's going to make a great choice."

Voters in five states go to the polls today as 209 delegates are at stake in Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. The contests are considered a mere formality at this point since Romney no longer has any serious contenders.

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Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at