President Obama’s top political strategist told Univision television that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would be making an “insult” to Hispanics if he picked Sen. Marco Rubio as his running mate in order to try to boost his showing with Hispanics.
In an interview that aired Sunday on “Al Punto,” the Spanish-language network’s political talk show, Mr. Axelrod said picking Mr. Rubio, a Florida Republican, doesn’t make up for Mr. Romney’s stances that are important to Hispanic voters.
“I think it would be an insult to the Hispanic community to choose Senator Rubio if the thinks that that is somehow — if Governor Romney thinks that’s sort of a get-out-of-jail-free card for all of the things and the positions that he’s taken,” Mr. Axelrod said.
Mr. Rubio, considered a rising star in Republican circles, is Cuban-American and has become a major voice for the GOP’s efforts to win over Hispanic voters and to project an inclusive image to the country as a whole.
But selecting him as a running mate won’t make a major difference to voters, according to polls showing that when voters are asked about a Romney-Rubio ticket, it doesn’t boost Mr. Romney’s standing much compared with polls that ask about the former Massachusetts governor alone.
Univision host Jorge Ramos asked Mr. Axelrod if Mr. Obama will have a problem with Hispanic voters since the president broke a promise — made to Mr. Ramos in particular — to produce an immigration bill his first year in office.
But Mr. Axelrod said the election is a comparison, and said that when Hispanic voters compare Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney on immigration, they will continue to support the president.