Marco Rubio, the freshman senator from Florida, has already been touted as a potential part of the 2012 Republican presidential ticket. But as Roll Call reports, Rubio has been actively staying off the national radar, including declining his invitation to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington next month:

But when CPAC kicks off next week, Florida’s freshman Senator plans to be miles away from the gathering — with Lincoln Day dinners in Miami-Dade and Pinellas counties as the top priorities on his February calendar. The invitation to address the widely covered conservative meeting is far from the first request Rubio has turned down; it is part of a calculated effort to stay out of the national spotlight as much as possible. Rubio has turned down “hundreds” of national media interview requests (including one for this article) since he was elected in November and instead has engaged only local press, according to sources close to the Florida Republican....   Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) told Roll Call that Rubio’s decision to step back from the glare of the Washington-driven spotlight was very much in line with the former state lawmaker’s personality and legislative style. “If anyone who supported him thought that they were electing a show horse they were wrong; he’s a workhorse,” Diaz-Balart said. “A show horse without substance fizzles away fairly quickly.”

Rubio, who is fresh off a trip from Afghanistan and just named conservative Washington veteran Cesar Conda as his chief of staff, has been tapped for a few important committees in the Senate, including Intelligence and Foreign Relations.

Though liberals are already making the predictable fuss about Rubio missing CPAC this year (he was last year's keynote speaker), this is probably smart politics for the young senator, who, given the massive hype surrounding his election, would benefit from conveying a committment first to his job and his constituents.