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VP Beat: The Latest Standings, Rubio Heads to GITMO

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- VEEP BEAT STANDINGS: In this week’s Spinners and Winners, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl takes a look at the latest happenings in the veepstakes world with Veep Beat, Karl’s analysis of where the contenders stand. Tim Pawlenty, Marco Rubio and Kelly Ayotte are rising while Mitch Daniels drops a few notches after saying he wouldn’t even answer the VP phone call.

RUBIO HEADS TO GITMO: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is traveling to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Tuesday to conduct oversight of the facility, tour the base, and meet with the commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, ABC News has learned. “This visit will allow Sen. Rubio an opportunity to better understand the role Guantanamo Bay plays in US detention operations, and examine how the military commission process for trying the terrorists housed there is proceeding,” Alex Conant, a spokesman for Rubio, e-mails.  Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, will tour the Expeditionary Legal Complex, the Joint Task Force Guantanamo headquarters to receive an intelligence overview, meet with the Joint Task Force Commander – Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harbeson, U.S. Navy, and tour CAMP VI, the building which houses detainees.  Rubio departed Tuesday morning and will return to Miami Tuesday evening.

HUCKABEE BACKERS SAY PICK HUCK:
If Mitt Romney is looking for a running mate to balance out the qualities he lacks, Mike Huckabee might be the right VP pick, according to supporters of the former Arkansas governor.  “Huckabee backers are quick to draw attention to the former Arkansas governor’s affable demeanor, lack of pretention, and his up-from-the-bootstraps personal story, all of which might soften Romney’s image and make the GOP ticket more relatable to blue-collar independents,” Real Clear Politics’ Scott Conroy reports. “But chief among the pro-Huckabee arguments made by many former aides and close confidants is that he could be an instant cure for the presumptive nominee’s lingering problems within his party’s base — a concern that his Boston-based campaign may be underestimating.”

RUBIO SLAMS WHITE HOUSE COOPERATION IN BIN LADEN MOVIE: Rubio criticized the Obama administration’s cooperation with a filmmaker on a movie about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, calling it the latest example of the administration’s “chest thumping.” “I think it’s part of a troubling trend of chest thumping, showing how smart and good our intelligence services are. And they certainly are, but in the process trying to impress people by what this administration was able to do,” Rubio said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s Political Capital with Al Hunt. “I think there is a growing trend of leaks that threaten America’s operational capacity in the intelligence world. And I think if you look at some of the things that have found its way onto the screen, not just in the movie, but some of the specials around the anniversary of the Bin Laden raid, I think one has to be concerned that that’s going to impact the ability to carry out similar operations in the future.”

JEB BUSH ON GAY MARRIAGE: During a trip to Taiwan last week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the issue of gay marriage a “distraction” in the presidential campaign, arguing that instead the candidates should focus on the economy, ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe reports.

CHRIS CHRISTIE: THE MASTER OF YOUTUBE: We’ve all seen the bi-partisan spoof of the veepstakes produced by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, but as Melissa Hayes of The Record reports, “The self-produced satire highlighted a larger theme: Christie has removed the media filters, standing nearly alone among politicians in his vigorous use of Internet video, an effective and comfortable home for the Republican.”

CHRIS CHRISTIE & BEYONCE: Over the weekend, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie attended a Beyonce concert at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City with his family, ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe reports. Also in attendance were first lady Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha and Malia.

SANDOVAL & ROMNEY: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval will campaign with Mitt Romney at an event at Somers Furniture in Las Vegas on Tuesday, ABC News’ Emily Friedman reports.  This is the first time they will campaign together.  Sandoval endorsed Romney in April after initially backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

McDONNELL HEADS TO WISCONSIN: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell heads to Wisconsin late Tuesday to attend a private event in Racine, Wis., for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who faces a recall vote next Tuesday.

MARK McKINNON PICKS PORTMAN: “Let’s just eliminate the drama and suspense right now. Romney is going to pick Rob Portman. He is as safe a bet as they come. Plenty of experience as a congressman, senator, budget director, and cabinet member. Perfect family. No apparent skeletons in the closet. And he’s from Ohio—the most important swing state. He’s a loyal soldier. Good political instincts and judgment. Solid character and a genuinely nice guy. Almost zero liabilities, which is really what Team Romney wants. Game. Set. Match,” Mark McKinnon wrote in the Daily Beast.

DNC CHAIR: RUBIO SHOULD NOT BE ON NATIONAL TICKET:  Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said in an interview with Newsmakers over the weekend that Marco Rubio shouldn’t be placed on the national ticket. “Marco Rubio is a nice guy, but not someone who, I think, belongs on a national ticket — for a lot of reasons,” Wasserman Schultz said in an interview which aired Sunday.  Wasserman Schultz pointed out that in Florida, “in the polling that I’ve seen recently [Rubio] doesn’t really make much difference; in fact in some cases [he] actually hurts Mitt Romney, or does very little.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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