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Scarborough: 'Let me set myself on fire politically: [Rubio]'s not ready to be vice president'

Sen. Marco Rubio – widely seen as a top candidate for the job of Mitt Romney’s running-mate – gave a speech on foreign policy at the Brookings Institution Wednesday. The Florida Republican struck a tone that’s friendlier to coalition-building and multilateralism than the approach taken by many in his party lately.

"Our greatest successes have always occurred in partnership with other likeminded nations,” said Rubio. “Now, America has acted unilaterally in the past, and I believe it should continue to do so in the future, when necessity requires. But our preferred option, since the U.S. became a global leader, has been to work with others to achieve our goals.”

Richard Haass, a former top state Department official, told the Morning Joe panel Thursday that Rubio’s approach was “right down the middle,” calling it “a very thoughtful speech about the need for America’s leadership in the world.”

Joe Scarborough, though, was more interested in the veep talk circling around Rubio. And he didn’t hold back in giving his opinion on the issue.

“I like Marco an awful lot and I think he has a bright future ahead of him,” said Scarborough. “But I’m just going to say it. Why not? This is why people watch the show. Let me set myself on fire politically: He’s not ready to be vice president. Just like Barack Obama wasn’t ready to be president in 2008, just like Sarah Palin wasn’t ready to be on the national ticket in 2008. Marco Rubio is a great guy, he’s got a compelling story, and my God, what a great demographic he will speak to on a national ticket some day. But he is not ready to be on a national ticket in 2012.”

And Scarborough added a word of caution to Rubio’s more zealous backers. “I would just warn those who are fans of Marco Rubio, who think they’re doing him a favor by pushing him center-stage right after he’s been elected to the United States Senate: back off. You’re going to hurt him in the long run, because he’s not ready to be in the Oval Office. He’s not ready to be vice president of the United States.”

So: Is Rubio ready? And did Joe just set himself on fire politically? Tell us what you think.