VP speculation continues to mount
The question of who Mitt Romney will choose to serve as his running mate has been a source of considerable speculation over the last couple of weeks. The New York Times ran a story on Tuesday giving some inside information about the grueling vetting process for prospects. But obviously, that doesn’t put to rest the seemingly endless speculation. Will his running mate be Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, or former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty? Or could it be someone off the wall, like Condoleezza Rice, whose name was dropped into the discussion over the weekend. Every guess is as good as the other.
Many commentators downplay the effect that a potential running mate can have on a ticket, but numbers indicate that it does indeed matter. And while the suggestion has been both dismissed and praised by Republicans, a new Fox News poll shows that Rice, who served in the Bush Administration as National Security Advisor (2001-2005) and Secretary of State (2005-2009), may actually help Romney’s campaign. But conservatives want someone more exciting given that Romney does little to inspire them.
While she may have foreign policy experience and policy bonafies, Rice doesn’t really fit the bill of an ideal running mate. She’s not a politician, and there’s little indication that she would be comfortable playing the part that the role would require. A running mate needs to be able to effectively and forcefully attack an opponent. That’s not to say that Rice is timid, but experience on the campaign trail is a prerequisite.
But Republicans holding out hope for Rice may want to prepare themselves for disappointment. This means little as far as speculation goes, but ABC News reports that Pawlenty’s website has been scrubbed, and shows a “Coming Soon” header and text saying, “Please come back later.”
Pawlenty may be an attractive running mate — after all, he served two terms as Governor of Minnesota, a traditionally “blue state,” but his presidential campaign hit with a thud. He fired shots at Romney over the Massachusetts healthcare law, comparing it to ObamaCare. But when it came down to crunch time, he declined to attack Romney during debates. That doesn’t exactly instill confidence that Pawlenty would go after President Obama during debates with Vice President Biden.
Romney is expected to announce a decision any day now, possibly as early as next week. Pretty much whoever he chooses is going to take convincing either from base conservatives to independents. It’s by no means an easy decision, but if his campaign expects to do well, they have to select someone that will both compliment and serve as a in contrast to Romney and function without looking overly coached.