Romney’s New York City chairman says he should pick Rubio

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While Mitt Romney's national campaign is conducting "a very comprehensive and very thorough" search to find him a running mate, Romney's New York City campaign chairman, Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens, suggests the choice should already be obvious: Marco Rubio.

Ulrich said Rubio would allow Romney to pick up about 35 percent of the Hispanic vote, which he estimates would be enough to win in November. (Polls show Obama beating Romney among Latino voters by more than three to one.)

"Romney needs a diverse constituency to win the election," Ulrich said. "You have to pick somebody and put them on the ticket that adds value to the ticket. So you have to pick somebody from Ohio, from Colorado, from New Mexico, from Florida, or Pennsylvania, depending on the year ... You have to pick someone that will lock up a state for you and help you appeal to a segment of the American population that you currently are not able to identify with."

I asked the 27-year-old councilman if he thought a freshman senator from Florida was prepared to be president, should anything happen to Romney.

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"I think he's a hundred times more qualified to be president than Joe Biden is to be vice president," Ulrich said. "I'm more worried about something happening to Obama and Joe Biden walking into the Oval Office."

Ulrich was speaking to me outside the Sheraton Towers last night, where Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal spoke for 45 minutes at the state G.O.P.'s annual dinner fund-raiser in what was something of an audition for the running-mate spot.

Hispanic Democrats have expressed skepticism about the idea that selecting Rubio would allow Romney to make up ground with Hispanic voters.

"Marco Rubio has no support in the immigrant or Latino community for his stance on immigration," Rep. Jose Serrano of the Bronx told Reid Pillifant in January. "He's as nasty as the rest of them."