Sarah Palin's Ghost Stalks Women on Mitt Romney's Vice President List


"With a national media, they're going to ask her follow-up questions, which is where Palin fell apart," said Laura Woliver, a professor of political science and women's studies at the University of South Carolina. "The other thing is, she won't help him with the gender gap, just like Palin didn't help McCain with the gender gap. She has not really worked on women's issues and has not done much to help women in South Carolina."

Romney said in a TV interview Tuesday that he isn't reluctant to pick a woman as his running mate, and that he's looking for someone who "could lead the country as president if that were necessary."

"There are women who meet that requirement, as well as men," Romney told CNBC's Larry Kudlow. "We got a long list of people who are really extraordinary leaders in the Republican Party, and you can think of those names, as I can."

Other women who could otherwise have been options to be Romney's No. 2 are Susana Martinez, the New Mexico governor who could curry favor with Hispanics but who said she doesn't want to leave her developmentally disabled sister alone by moving to Washington; Kay Bailey Hutchison, the most senior female Republican senator; and even a fellow private-sector maven like Carly Fiorina, the former chairwoman of HP who ran for Senate in California.

Though no one knows who the VP nominee will be right now, many insiders expect what Judy called a "boring pick" -- an already known establishment Republican like Bob McDonnell, Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, or the tea party senator Marco Rubio.

"I think it's so soon after the Sarah Palin thing, you're going to see a much safer pick, a more conservative pick," Judy said.

ABC News's Elizabeth Hartfield contributed to this report.

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