Veep Beat: Romney Still Undecided on Running Mate but Adds VP Staff

(Image Credit: Evan Vucci/AP photo)

ROMNEY TEAM SAYS NO VP DECISION YET: Eric Ferhnstrom, a Romney senior adviser, shot down the suggestion that the presumptive GOP nominee has settled on a running mate, but he did admit that an announcement could come as early as this week, ABC News Emily Friedman reported. "A senior adviser to Mitt Romney pushed back today on reports that a vice presidential running mate has already been chosen, but he told the Associated Press that a decision could come as early as this week," Friedman wrote. "Eric Fehrnstrom, speaking to reporters after a fundraiser for the candidate that was also attended by rumored Vice Presidential short-lister Gov. Bobby Jindal, said firmly, 'No decision has been made on VP.' That doesn't necessarily mean the decision won't come quickly, as Fehrnstrom made clear a short while later to the AP. 'Technically it could (come this week), but the governor hasn't made a decision. It will only happen after he makes a decision,' Fehrnstrom said."

ROMNEY TEAM BULKS UP WITH VP STAFF: The Romney campaign announced today that it is adding two members to its team to handle the vice presidential pick, raising the question of when the actual running mate will be revealed. Randy Bumps, who previously served as the political director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, regional political director for the RNC and is now an executive vice president at the public affairs firm Direct Impact, will be director of operations for the vice presidential candidate. Kevin Sheridan, who is a former RNC spokesman and is on leave as senior vice president at the public relations firm Edelman, will serve as communications director for the vice presidential candidate.

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE? Reuters' Steve Holland reported that Romney might have narrowed down his VP list to three contenders. "Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears to be in the final stages of deciding who to pick as his vice presidential running mate, with speculation growing that he has narrowed his choice down to a short-list of three," Holland wrote. "Ohio Senator Rob Portman, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal all offer various strengths to Romney should he decide to pick one of them to join his battle to unseat President Barack Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, in the November 6 election."

JINDAL & ROMNEY MEET, DON'T TALK VP: Mitt Romney and Bobby Jindal attended a fundraiser together in Baton Rouge Monday, but while the two met, they did not discuss veepstakes, ABC News' Emily Friedman reported. "Asked whether Romney spoke to Jindal to discuss the decision, Fehrnstrom confirmed that they met, that they 'didn't talk about VP.' 'Education was one of the topics they covered but they did not discuss VP,' he said," Friedman wrote.

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PORTMAN'S VIEWS ON VP: While bracketing President Obama's trip to Ohio Monday, Sen. Rob Portman told ABC News' Ann Compton and Devin Dwyer that he doesn't believe the VP pick will have that much of an impact in the voting booth this November. "Ask Rob Portman, the soft-spoken Republican senator from Ohio, about the significance of Mitt Romney's looming running-mate decision, and he insists the pick won't change the arc of the 2012 general election. 'I don't think that it's that important,' Portman said in an exclusive interview with ABC News at his new offices here on the 30th floor of a downtown skyscraper. 'People vote for the president, not the vice president,' he said. 'I think sometimes people that are in the veepstakes talk too much about this and certainly the media does. … I don't think that it's that important,'" Compton and Dwyer reported. "Mrs. Portman conceded she's a bit of a 'novice' in the media limelight but nonetheless an enthusiastic partner in the escalating presidential campaign - even keeping an open mind about possibly joining the Romney ticket. 'It doesn't scare me, I'm just not used to it,' she said of all the attention. 'We live here in Ohio, we've kept our home here, our kids have been raised here. We like our life the way it is. It's very easy and comfortable. We're here with friends and family. We lead a pretty normal existence.'"

PORTMAN 'NO IDEA' ON DECISION: Sen. Rob Portman told reporters in Ohio Monday that he has "no idea" whether Romney has decided on a running mate, NBC News' Andrew Rafferty reported.

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ROB PORTMAN: WASHINGTON INSIDER While his time in Washington, D.C., comes with a bevy of experience, Portman's long career in the nation's capital could make it easy for Democrats to paint him as a Washington insider, the Washington Post's Jerry Markon and Alice Crites reported. "In late 2004, a meeting of House Republicans grew heated as they discussed whether to change their rules and allow Majority Leader Tom DeLay to stay in the leadership even if he were indicted in a Texas corruption probe. It was Rep. Rob Portman (Ohio) who offered the compromise that settled the matter: A committee controlled by party leaders should decide DeLay's fate, Portman said, according to several participants," Markon and Crites wrote. "'It was typical Rob, trying to find a thoughtful way forward that solves the problem but doesn't overreact," said former congressman Tom Davis (R-Va.). Supporters say that is a critical asset for Portman, now a first-term senator and considered to be among the leading contenders for Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate. But Democrats see it as a way to tie Portman to DeLay, who was later convicted of corruption in the Texas probe. And the episode points to a potentially broader vulnerability if Portman were selected: his longtime status as a Washington insider - and the baggage that can go with that - when Romney is running as an outsider."

CHRISTIE TO FUNDRAISE: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will hit the road for Romney today and Wednesday for a total of six fundraisers, including one with Tim Pawlenty in Minneapolis, ABC News' Shushannah Walshe reported. Christie will attend fundraisers in Atlanta, Columbia, S.C., and Raleigh, N.C., today, as well as Washington, D.C., Chicago and Minneapolis Wednesday.

CHRISTIE EXPECTS PICK SOON: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told voters at a town hall that he expects Romney to make a decision on his running mate soon, but he doesn't expect to get the call, the Star-Ledger's Jenna Portnoy reported. "In the face of conflicting reports about when Mitt Romney might announce his vice presidential running mate, Gov. Chris Christie said today he expected the decision to come "relatively soon," but repeated his refrain that it's unlikely to be him," Portnoy wrote. "'As I've said all along, I don't expect to be asked because, I don't know, do I look like a vice president?' the governor said, prompting a crowd in Manasquan - the first in a series of beach-side events this summer - to shout: 'Yes.'"

SANTORUM SAYS VP MUST BE PRO-LIFE: Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum told ABC News' Jonathan Karl that maintaining an anti-abortion stance is "non negotiable" when it comes to selecting a VP. "Asked if he thought choosing former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - who describes herself as 'pro-choice' - as Romney's vice presidential pick would be a mistake, Santorum thought it would make a Republican victory less likely, 'this is non-negotiable for a vice presidential pick,'" Karl reported.


@robportman: Great to be w/ @presidentgee Rep @RonMaag @OhioDeptofAgDave Daniels & @Brutus_Buckeye in Lebanon at the Golden Lamb

@marcorubio: Hearing 2day in Foreign Relations on ?#humantrafficking.Read piece about how we can help ?#endslavery ?#sayfie ?#slavery

@govchristie: I Need Your Help To Deliver Tax Relief This Summer: ?#EndlessSummer

@bobmcdonnell: Signed legislation today that puts a constitutional amendment to protect private property rights on the Nov. 6th ballot

@kellyayotte: In Case You Missed It: @KellyAyotte talks ?#taxes, ?#fiscalcliff on @TheKudlowReport

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