PARK CITY VEEP SPOTTINGS: A number of vice presidential contenders were in attendance for the weekend Romney donor retreat in Park City, Utah. While they were kept away from reporters for the most part, @ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe and I spotted a few. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman strolled from the Chateaux at Silver Lake to the Golden Hirsch Inn Saturday evening to appear as a “special guest” at one of the private donor dinners. We chatted with him about the retreat, VP talk, and kayaking. Does he get annoyed by the constant veep chatter, or does he like it? Read the chuckle. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan sped over to the retreat Saturday morning in a golf cart, waving to reporters, who were kept at a distance as his golf cart entered the enclosed garage. Ryan arrived at the evening reception, where former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and when Ryan left the reception, he was seen hopping into a van with donors heading to a private dinner at an undisclosed location. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was spotted arriving at the Chateaux early Friday in an SUV that ducked into the garage. Sen. John Thune was on hand Friday and Saturday, and spoke with us in the lobby Saturday morning. Thune’s wife, Kimberly, said her favorite event at Friday night’s reception at Olympic Park was the performance by the ski jumpers, of which she said “Wow.” Her husband joked she was “off message,” because she didn’t cite Mitt Romney’s speech as her favorite moment from the night. Just moments before, Kimberly Thune was saved from a potential fashion mishap when a Romney staff member came to her aid using a Tide stain stick to vanquish a spot on her red-and-white dress. And while we never set our eyes on former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the reporters stationed on the sidewalk across the street from the Chateaux were duped many times by some Pawlenty lookalikes walking to and from the resorts.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE’S SHOW STEALING SPEECH: As ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe and I reported, former Secreteary of State Condoleezza Rice’s lunchtime speech at the Romney donor retreat Saturday was the highlight of the weekend’s festivities for many of the attendees. “Many of those same attendees said the star speaker of the weekend was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who received a standing ovation. Charles Cobb, who served as ambassador to Iceland from 1989 to 1992, said Rice was “spectacular” and described her as a “very bright, sophisticated, articulate lady.” Husband-and-wife donors from Los Angeles who did not want to be identified said Rice’s message was one of “America needing to take charge. We can’t stand by and let things happen,” the wife said. “If we do, someone else will take that leadership role.” They both described her address as an “impassioned plea” for the country to ‘stand up and take charge.’ Donor Kent Lucken, an international banker in Boston who moved back to his home state of Iowa for six weeks before the caucuses to help Romney, said “she rocked it.’”
RUBIO ON AZ IMMIGRATION: While it was not a new position, Sen. Marco Rubio defended the constitutionality of the Arizona immigration law but also said it should not serve as a national model, a day before the week that the Supreme Court would hear the case. “What I’ve said repeatedly is I believe Arizona has a right to pass that bill. I understand why they did it. But I don’t think it’s a national model, and I don’t think other states should follow suit. For example, I don’t want to see a law like that in Florida,” Rubio said on Mee the Press Sunday.
PAWLENTY WON’T BUDGE ON VP: On “Face the Nation” Sunday, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty would not discuss his vice presidential chances and continued to suggest he could serve Romney better in another capacity than VP. “I really encourage folks to look at other prospects and to suggest I think I can help him best in other ways,” Pawlenty said on the news show.
PAWLENTY & PORTMAN FINANCES: Real Clear Politics’ Erin McPike looks at how the thick financial portfolios of Tim Pawlenty and Rob Portman will make their vetting process more involved as the Romney vetting team will have to sift through a lot more research than other contenders. “With Mitt Romney’s vice presidential vetting process well under way, two of the likeliest contenders for the nod — Tim Pawlenty and Rob Portman — have some of the thickest financial backgrounds to comb through,” McPike wrote. “Since dropping his own bid for president last August, Pawlenty has joined the boards of seven companies and serves as a senior adviser to another. Portman has a complicated financial history from a previous ownership stake in his family’s since-sold company, Portman Equipment, as well as numerous investments. Republican researchers familiar with both potential picks say neither the former Minnesota governor nor the Ohio senator presents major problems; still, the vetting process might be more involved for the two top contenders than it is for an array of other contenders who appear to be further down Romney’s list.”
PORTMAN, RYAN FUNDRAISE: Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Paul Ryan will headline a fundraiser for Mitt Romney tonight on the rooftop of the Homer building in Washington, D.C.
CHRISTIE READY FOR A TAX CUT FIGHT: Will state legislators be heading to the Jersey shore this summer? Not if Gov. Chris Christie has anything to do with it. The New Jersey governor said he’s ready to battle it out with Democrats over tax cuts in a summer session, the Star-Ledger reported. “Gov. Chris Christie today promised to fight Democrats over tax cuts all summer long, if he needs to, but stopped short of uttering the words ‘government shutdown,’ the Star-Ledger’s Jenna Portnoy wrote. “Unfortunately it’s time, it’s time for me to get ready for the fight and if I have to fight all summer, that’s all right,’ he told a town hall crowd. ‘I’m ready for a fight. For the first time in such stark terms, the Republican governor admitted he compromised with Senate President Steve Sweeney and agreed to his 10 percent income tax cut, but he said he was fooled. He accused Democrats of a ‘bait and switch.’ ‘I tried to be nice,’ he said. ‘I tried to compromise, I was willing to meet them half way, if they want a fight, they’re going to get one all long hot summer until they cut your taxes.’”
RICE SHEPAC FUNDRAISER: Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will headline a fundraiser for ShePAC, a PAC dedicated to electing women to Congress, at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C. today.
PADDLING PORTMAN: Sen. Rob Portman participated in the annual Ohio River Paddlefest, a Cincinnati tradition for kayakers and canoers along the Ohio River, and the Ohio senator took first in his division. Picture and tweet from the winner himself here: @robportman: Finished Paddlefest first in open c-2 division. http://flic.kr/p/cjaN4G
@robportman: Finished Paddlefest first in open c-2 division. http://flic.kr/p/cjaN4G
@nikkihaley: Join me as I campaign with Tom Rice across the 7th congressional district on Monday http://bit.ly/LszMQG