(NATIONAL JOURNAL) Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday that he did not view Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration as a “model,’’ distancing himself from presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has embraced the legislation.

The Cuban-American senator, who spoke at The University of Phoenix/National Journal’s Next America’ forum in Washington, D.C., is viewed as a top name on Romney’s vice presidential shortlist.

Rubio said he understood why frustration with illegal immigration led Arizona to pass a law allowing local police to demand proof of citizenship. He also disagreed with the Obama administration’s contention that the law is unconstitutional. But he added, “I do not believe (laws like the one in Arizona) should be a model for the country.’’

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