U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who was on the GOP short list for vice presidential contenders until nearly the very end, got something of a huge consolation prize – he will introduce Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention in late August.
The role of introducing the expected Republican presidential nominee brings the potential to catapult Rubio – who already enjoys a high national profile – onto an even more prominent pedestal among the American public.
As the Republican National Convention announcement on Rubio noted, the prime-time nomination acceptance by Romney at the close of the convention, on Aug. 30, has the potential to draw tens of millions of viewers. Sen. John McCain’s speech in 2008, the GOP noted, brought in an audience of nearly 40 million.
Rubio, who turned 41 in May, will have the opportunity to show off his telegenic GQ looks, oratorical heft and all-around charm that have impressed those of all political stripes. On Tuesday, the GOP convention committee also announced that the convention’s keynote speaker would be New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who also had been rumored to have been a possible running mate, and whose in-your-face, unpredictable style runs in sharp contrast to Rubio’s more careful, measured approach.