Speculation swirls over Romney's running mate as he names potential VP's top aides
Mitt Romney on Tuesday named the people who will advise his future running mate, but so far has declined to identify who will occupy the number two spot on the Republican ticket. Speculation is mounting that it could come as early as this week.
Mitt Romney's potential choice for his running mate has been garnering a great deal of attention lately.
On Tuesday, Romney announced the people who would advise the person who will be his running mate: Kevin Sheridan, a former spokesman for the Republican Party, and Randy Bumps, a former political director for the Senate GOP campaign committee. There's speculation that Romney's decision could be announced almost any day now, but it will certainly happen by the Republican National Convention in late August.
There's increasing speculation that the vice presidential candidate will be chosen from among a group that includes Ohio Senator Rob Portman, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. There's also been an aggressive campaign in favor of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Florida Senator and Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio, and former Pennsylvania senator and presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, but they seem to be on the outside looking in for the moment.
Lois Romano, senior political correspondent for Politico, said the top three are probably the most likely candidates, but there's always the possibility of an outsider.
"We've been surprised sometimes, but I don't think he's going to go with a fire-breather," Romano said. "Romney is not a fire-breather. He needs to have chemistry with someone."
Romano said he also doesn't want to name a candidate who will endure six weeks of media scrutiny, as happened with Sarah Palin in 2008. That points to him naming someone who is mainstream, experienced and fairly non-controversial. That would seem to be strikes against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, as well as Rubio and Jindal.
"He's going to do something safe, but the question is ... how safe is safe?" Romano said.
Candidates over the past few election cycles are increasingly naming their running mates earlier. Whereas George H.W. Bush announced Dan Quayle as his running mate just a day before the Republican convention, George W. Bush named Dick Cheney his running mate in mid July.
Romano said the elder Bush's late decision was "a disaster."
"All the energy goes there to try to vet the person. They want a little time for this to shake out," Romano said. "Secondly, in Romney's case, he just can't seem to change the conversation away from Bain Capital."
And there's another factor pointing to a near-term announcement by Romney. He has a trip to Israel and Poland planned, as well as attending the Summer Olympics in London, coming up in less than two weeks.
While he's away, Romano said, Romney will need someone to campaign on his behalf.
"He needs a good surrogate here. Although the trip overseas should be good for him," she added. "The Olympics is where he did very well. He gets very high grades for what he did in Salt Lake City. If they're smart, they can turn that into something as he goes there."
There is a counter-argument, though, Romano said, which is that if they make the announcement now, it'll actually hurt the international trip.
And while the criticism of many of the candidates on the short-list is that they're bland, dull and boring, Romano said that's a bit of an overstatement, at least when it comes to Portman.
"He's just a very smart guy who builds a reputation as a policy wonk, but if you scratch the surface a little bit, he really has a lot of interests," Romano said.
That contrasts with Romney, who's a very staid guy, she added.
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