VEEP CONFAB: Mitt Romney’s exclusive donor retreat at a Park City, Utah, resort this weekend is shaping up to be a gathering of potential VP contenders as well. ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe reports on all the details of the retreat, including the schedule and potential VP attendees.
Who’s in, and What Are They Doing? According to the schedule obtained by ABC News, Gov. Bobby Jindal will moderate the “Innovation in America” panel, which also includes Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. John Thune Saturday morning. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will speak at a lunch, and former Gov. Jeb Bush will headline the final reception Saturday evening. Sen. Rob Portman, Gov. Bob McDonnell and Gov. Tim Pawlenty will also be in attendance.
Who’s Out? Sen. Marco Rubio was invited but could not fit the event into his schedule. Gov. Chris Christie also said he was invited but has to stay in New Jersey because of the legislative session and budget negotiations. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, and Govs. Nikki Haley and Susana Martinez also said they will not be attending the event.
GRADING THE VP FIELD: ABC News’ Jonathan Karl revamps his short list for Romney’s No.2. Top Tier: 1. Tim Pawlenty 2. Rob Portman 3. Paul Ryan 4. Kelly Ayotte 5. Marco Rubio. Second Tier: 6. Mike Huckabee 7. Bobby Jindal. The Unlikely: 8. John Thune 9. Jeb Bush. 10. Bob McDonnell 11. Chris Christie.
PORTMAN: MITT’S QUIET MAN: National Review’s Robert Costa looks at Rob Portman’s behind-the-scenes role in Romney’s campaign, from drawing on his network of supporters to linking the Romney effort to his bevy of Ohio donors. ”It’s behind the scenes, far from the klieg lights, where Portman has made an indelible mark,” Costa wrote. “On the ground in Ohio, he has freely shared his sprawling volunteer network with the Romney campaign. ‘He’s been a real force,’ says Hamilton County GOP chairman Alex Triantafilou. Portman backers played an important part in Romney’s narrow Ohio victory, especially in the voter-rich suburbs of southwestern Ohio. For much of the winter, Portman also informally advised Russ Schiefer and Stuart Stevens, two of his former aides who are now top Romney strategists. After the Ohio primary, during the tail end of the Romney-Santorum spar, Portman took on an influential, if private, role in preparing Romney’s general-election operation in the Buckeye State. He consulted on hires and connected Romney aides with Ohio-based GOP operatives. Perhaps most notably, Portman has impressed Romney headquarters with his fundraising prowess. Instead of seeking appearances on cable talk shows, one Romney aide says, Portman focuses on working his donors. Among Romney advisers, Portman’s fundraising savvy is as prized as his policy smarts.”
PADDLING PORTMAN: Get those paddles ready. ABC News’ Gregory Simmons reported Sen. Rob Portman, an avid kayaker, will participate in the 11th Annual Ohio River Way Paddlefest Sunday in Cincinnati.
CHRISTIE HEARTS THE BOSS: The Atlantic has a big feature story on Gov. Chris Christie’s love for Bruce Springsteen, along with a list of the New Jersey governor’s top 10 favorite Bruce songs. “Chris Christie is, even in moments of tranquility– of which, in his life, there seem to be none — a torqued-up, joyously belligerent, easily baited, and preternaturally exuberant son of New Jersey, so bringing him to a Bruce Springsteen concert is an exercise in volcano management. Christie, in the presence of Springsteen, whom he would marry if he were gay and if gay people were allowed to marry in the state he governs, loses himself. He is, as is well known, a very large man, twice the width of Mitt Romney, but he is a very large man who dances at Springsteen concerts in front of many thousands of people without giving a damn what they think,” Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in The Atlantic. As Christie is dancing at the concert, Goldberg noted: “People see him out at the edge of the box, and they cheer his dancing and call him vice president.”
@robportman: Great turnout at today’s OH const coffee! If in DC while Senate’s in session, pls stop by. 202-224-3353 for more info.pic.twitter.com/ZRKuxUCh
@bobmcdonnell: Thanks to the Virginia Poultry Federation for donating 8,650 pounds of turkey in the Governor’s Bowl Food & Fund Drive!http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/news/releases- …
@govmaryfallin: CNN Money has named Oklahoma City number one on its list of most business – friendly cities!http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2012 …
@govmikehuckabee Congrats to my good friend Josh Turner on his new album’s “Punching Bag” debut. #1 on country chart and #4 on billboard!