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The Elephant in the Room at the GOP Convention

A national political convention in a key swing state. A homestate Governor with toxic approval rating. Thus is the dilemma facing the GOP at their convention next month in Tampa. With all eyes turned toward the Sunshine State, national Republicans continue to duck, dodge and weave their way around what is certain to be the elephant in the room come August: Scott’s toxic approval which threatens to drag down the GOP ticket in 2012.

TB Times: Scott’s and Rubio’s role at RNC uncertain for now

TAMPA — Gov. Rick Scott has already been tapped to host a series of economic development events aimed at wooing CEOs coming for the Republican National Convention.

But as for speaking at the actual convention, Scott’s role is undetermined, said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

“None of those decisions have been made,” Priebus said today at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. “I don’t even suspect we will even have a draft of what the program will look like at least for weeks.”

Scott has been invisible from the Florida campaign trail of the presumptive GOP nominee, Mitt Romney. His latest poll numbers indicate he continues to be unpopular, leaving a potentially awkward scenario for those who will create the schedule of convention speakers.

Why put an unpopular governor in a speaking slot that could turn off viewers? Then again, how do you not have the governor of the state hosting the convention speak?

Priebus danced around this dilemma by keeping it vague.

“I mean he’s the hometown governor,” Priebus said. “I’m sure he’s got, I’m sure he’s got plenty, uh, you know, I’m sure there’s a welcome, you know, there’s a lot of protocol there too, so I don’t want to get into the details because I don’t know what the answer to that is yet.”

As for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who is on a shortlist for potential Romney running mates, Priebus was just as vague on the question of Rubio’s role at the convention. But he was notable more encouraging.

“He’s a law school buddy of mine,” Priebus said of Rubio. “I’m a big fan of Rubio, but I can’t tell the answer to your question…he’s already a star of our party, there’s no question about it….As far as Marco Rubio goes, I think he’s a dynamic, smart, intelligent senator who represents a massive amount of horse power in our party.”

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