Florida Senator and possible running mate Marco Rubio joined the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania ahead of the state's primary.
On Tuesday, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island are expected to cement Romney as the Republican challenger to President Barack Obama in the November general election.
Romney surprised some by coming out in support of Obama's extension of student loan interest rates Monday, saying he did so due to "extraordinarily poor conditions in the job market." Pundits believe this is just the first of many steps Romney will make to shift his policy stances to a more centrist position before November.
"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," he said at a transport company Monday afternoon.
But the support for the extension doesn't mean the former Massachusetts governor supports Obama's youth policies. In an email Tuesday, the Romney campaign sent out a fact sheet on President Obama's 'record' with the nation's youth. The email stated the average cost of tuition has gone up by 25 percent and the number of young Americans living in poverty has risen 23 percent under Obama's tenure.
Rubio stood by Romney's side during the speech in an apparent dress rehearsal for a possible run at the vice president spot. However, Rubio also received a blow to one of his top legislative issues Monday, as Romney failed to support his DREAM Act on comprehensive immigration reform.
DREAM allows for illegal immigrants with high school diplomas to stay in the country for study or work purposes providing they do not have a criminal record. Romney stopped short of supporting the act, saying his team was still looking into it.
With only seven months left until the general election, Romney needs to court groups that flocked heavily to Obama in the 2008 campaign - including youth, women and minorities. Hispanic voters, some of whom are split between conservative and liberal political views, would be a bulwark to any centrist Republican campaign.
However, while some thought putting Rubio on the ticket would increase Romney's chances with Latino voters, a study released last week showed this would have little effect.
The poll, released April 20 by Project New America and Public Policy Polling, showed putting a Latino on the ticket would do little to affect Latino voting records in key swing states like Florida.
But today all eyes will be focused on the Tuesday Republican primaries and their outcomes. Over 200 delegate votes are up for grabs in the combined contests, with over 90 in New York alone. A good showing in former presidential candidate Rick Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania would signal growing support for Romney.
Primary polls have already opened in all five states. Romney will campaign in New Hampshire today. The next primaries will be held May 8 in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia.
by RTT Staff Writer
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