When it was first reported this week that Mitt Romney was hosting an exclusive retreat in Park City, Utah, this weekend with high dollar donors and a handful of possible running mates, one big name was missing from the list: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The omission sparked a wave of speculation about whether Rubio's absence meant he was not being seriously considered as a vice presidential contender.
But in fact, Rubio was invited to the event. He just turned down the offer. The reason: his four children, he says.
"It's unfair to say of the Romney campaign that I was excluded. It's not accurate. I was invited to go," Rubio said during a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor on Thusday. "I've been on the road since Sunday on the book thing. I have to go to Orlando for a speech. I have to be back in D.C. Sunday for 'Meet the Press.' And I have a whole 'nother week here. If I had gone to Utah, I wouldn't have seen my kids for 15 days. So I had a choice to make, and I chose my kids."
Rubio released his autobiography, "An American Son," on Tuesday. Combined with his work in the Senate, the book schedule has kept him away from home longer than usual, he said.
In the book, Rubio wrote about the complicated balance as a public figure between work and family. Near the end, he told a story of a time he skipped a congressional trip to Africa at the last minute to spend time with his kids, who had a packed weekend schedule.
"I know that in 30 years none of us will remember that [media] report," Rubio said Thursday, "but my kids will never forget that I was home on Saturday."