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Standing Next To Rubio, Romney Demurs On VP Search

Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio (Credit: Diana Rocco, CBS 3)

Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio (Credit: Diana Rocco, CBS 3)

ASTON, Pa. (AP) — Mitt Romney declined Monday declined to endorse an immigration proposal from potential running mate Marco Rubio.

Romney said he’s considering the freshman Florida senator’s plan to help some young people stay in the country legally, although without the opportunity to become citizens, if they attend college or serve in the military.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee also said he supports a temporary extension of lower student loan interest rates. Democratic President Barack Obama has been pushing Congress for that extension and planned a three-state swing this week to warn students of the potential financial catastrophe they will face if Congress fails to act.

“I think young voters in this country have to vote for me if they’re really thinking of what’s in the best interest of the country and what’s in their personal best interest,” Romney said as he stood next to Rubio and answered reporters’ questions for the first time since effectively securing the GOP presidential nomination.

Romney refused to say if the Cuban-American senator is on his list of potential vice presidents.

Rubio said he was no longer discussing the vice presidential search process.

Romney tacked to the right on immigration during the GOP primaries. In recent days, he’s been highlighting Hispanic concerns while leaving out much of the rhetoric he embraced earlier this year.

The former Massachusetts governor was not ready Monday to embrace Rubio’s emerging proposal.

“It has many features to commend it. But it’s something that we’re studying,” Romney said. Rubio has said his goal is to craft a Republican compromise on the so-called DREAM Act that Romney could support. That bill, which has languished on Capitol Hill, would provide a path to citizenship for some young illegal immigrants who attend college or serve in the military.

Romney’s answers illustrated the careful line he has to walk as he transitions out of a brutal Republican primary and into the general election, where he’ll have to tussle with Obama for support among the Hispanic, women and young voters who propelled the Democrat to victory in 2008.

Obama, meanwhile, has to hang on to those constituencies, too. His Tuesday-Wednesday tour through North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa is intended to rally the young supporters he needs again in November.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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