Gingrich hints at making Marco Rubio VP

Local supporters turned out Wednesday , Oct. 27, 2010 to see Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio kick off his "Road to Reclaim America" bus tour at Bartram Park in downtown Pensacola. (AP Photo/The News Journal, Katie King) Katie King

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich in a Thursday night debate hinted that, should he win the nomination, he'd consider asking popular Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to be his running mate

In the debate -- hosted by CNN, the Republican Party of Florida and the Hispanic Leadership Network -- a member of the audience asked the presidential candidates which Hispanic leaders they'd consider appointing to their respective cabinets.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, the first to respond, gave the obvious answer, naming Rubio. The freshman senator is considered a rising star in the Republican party, particularly as the GOP tries to expand its appeal to Hispanics, and there has been plenty of speculation that he could join the GOP 2012 ticket.

Gingrich in his response one-upped Santorum, saying "I actually thought about Marco Rubio about [serving in a more] dignified and central role than being in the cabinet, but that's another conversation."

Gingrich also named New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez as a possible cabinet appointee.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney named several Republican Latinos he'd consider naming to his cabinet, including Rubio, Martinez, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, former Florida Sen. Mel Martinez.

Rep. Ron Paul didn't name any specific Hispanics he would appoint but said that the Latino community is particularly attuned to non-interventionist foreign policy and would thus be a good fit in his administration.

More from the debate:

Florida Republican debate: Winners and Losers
Gingrich, Romney at each other's throats over immigration
Gingrich, Romney blame the Palestinians, Obama for lack of progress in the peace process
Gingrich, Romney hit each other over involvement in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Romney tells Gingrich: I'd fire you for your moon proposal

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