Mitt Romney may be tight-lipped about his vice presidential short list, warning that only he and longtime aide Beth Myers know who is on it, but a close examination of the campaign's activity suggests four contenders have risen through the ranks: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
|Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty|
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell may be considered wild cards, and Romney has said he’s thoroughly vetting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, though the first-term lawmaker’s status appears unchanged.
Given [Romney's] penchant for information gathering, it is reasonable to assume there are at least three data points Romney is considering as he mulls his vice presidential pick. The first is readiness for office, which is a qualification he has said publicly that potential choices must meet. The second is chemistry with the candidate and his wife, a quality his aides have indicated is important. And the third is an ability to fly solo -- to campaign on behalf of Romney without him being there. This is a metric that has not been addressed by the campaign, but judging by Team Romney’s actions, it’s clear that it’s a paramount concern given some of the events the campaign has staged with top surrogates -- and it likely reveals who is no longer in the running.
On readiness for office, conversations with Romney insiders and allies suggest that they have no qualms about Portman or Pawlenty. One of Romney’s biggest complaints about President Obama is that he is in over his head and had “never run anything before.” Pawlenty governed the state of Minnesota for two terms; Portman ran the Office of Management and Budget as well as the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Jindal is in his second term as governor of Louisiana. Paul Ryan, however, falls short in this regard; he was a Capitol Hill staffer and a marketing consultant before becoming a congressman at age 28.
As for chemistry with the candidate, Pawlenty, Portman and Ryan have all campaigned alongside him multiple times. Each endorsed him at critical moments in the primary process and appeared with him on the stump when they did. And each got a turn as his key surrogate on Romney’s June bus tour, which ran through their states. Jindal has not yet campaigned with the presumptive nominee, so look for that to happen soon in a swing state near you.To see the rest of the lengthy article, click here.
Contrary to common perception, a VP selection rarely has much of an impact on the fortunes of the presidential candidate who made the selection. But a VP choice can be crucial in helping the Presidential candidate win an important state that might otherwise go to the opposition or help balance the ticket geographically or ideologically. Recent VP choices that didn't fit into this criteria was Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin. Cheney selected as George Bush II's running mate, had served as Wyoming's representative in Congress before becoming Defense Secretary under the first George Bush, I. Palin was the Governor of Alaska, and in the middle of her first term.
Cheney appears to be selected to shore up the ticket's foreign policy credentials. Palin was selected undoubtedly to shore up McCain's conservative cred which had taken a beaten but also to bring some energy to the campaign. The fact that the Palin selection balanced the ticket gender-wise was a bonus.
It appears that three on the short list - Pawlenty, Portman and Ryan - are all from important Midwestern swing states. That appears to be an important factor in Romney's consideration of a running mate. I do wonder though whether a person who only represents a portion of the state, i.e. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan could ensure his state went for Romney. To me a former Governor, like Pawlenty, or a sitting U.S. Senator, like Portman, would have an edge in this category due to the fact they have state-wide constituencies.
But what Romney needs the most is a solid conservative with charisma, a characteristic nowhere to be found in the ex-Massachusetts governor's DNA. Of the four, Ryan and Jindal seem the most likely to bring energy and excitement to the Romney campaign. They would also help repair Romney's relationship with conservatives which relationship took a beating in the primary. If I would have to guess, I would predict that Romney will select Tim Pawlenty as his running mate, perhaps the only VP candidate who makes Romney look charismatic by comparison.