VP LIST NARROWS AS CONVENTION SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED: The list of Romney's potential running mates is narrowing as a list of convention speakers, including some whose names have been tossed around as a possible VP pick, will be announced this week, the Tampa Bay Times' Richard Danielson reported. "Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. John McCain and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were among seven headline speakers announced today for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. The first look at featured speakers also includes South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. Romney has not named his vice presidential running mate, though that person will get a prime-time speaking slot," Danielson wrote. "Noticeably absent from the headliner list are several VP contenders: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The VP decision is expected any time now, perhaps as soon as this week when Romney kicks off a multistate bus tour. He'll hit Florida next Monday, with expected stops in Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami."
CONSERVATIVES URGING ROMNEY TO 'GO BOLD' ON VP: Conservatives Stephen Hayes and William Kristol made their VP pitch over the weekend, advising Romney to stay away from the safe picks and "go bold" with a choice like Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio. "It's not the first time we've said it, but it could well be the last: Go bold, Mitt! Pick Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's intellectual leader, the man who's laid out the core of the post-Obama policy agenda and gotten his colleagues in Congress to sign on to it. Or pick Marco Rubio, the GOP's most gifted young politician, the man who embodies what is best about the Tea Party and a vision of a broad-based Republican governing majority of the future. Barack Obama was right about this (if only this): Modern Democratic politics is about hope and change. Ryan and Rubio, more than anyone else, embody Republican hopes and conservative change," Hayes and Kristol wrote in the Weekly Standard.
WHY THE TIMING MATTERS: Just as important as who Romney will pick to join him on the GOP ticket is when he'll make that decision, and the New York Times' Michael Shear runs down the pluses and minuses of each announcement timeframe here.
PAWLENTY'S TAX INCREASE CONUNDRUM: As governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty supported a cigarette tax he labeled a "heatlth impact fee" that some say shows evidence broke his pledge to not increase taxes but may not hurt him in the long run if he's selected as VP, Politico's Juana Summers reported. "If Tim Pawlenty joins Mitt Romney on the GOP ticket he'll bring one big piece of baggage that gives conservatives heartburn. When he was governor of Minnesota, Pawlenty backed a 'health impact fee' - 75 cents per pack on cigarettes. It caused the biggest clash of his governorship, shutting down the state government. Pawlenty never called it a tax increase, but his critics certainly did," Summers wrote. " Fiscal conservatives are still uncomfortable with Pawlenty's break with conservative orthodoxy on this issue, even though it seems unlikely to cost him much political capital in the veep stakes. Republicans in Minnesota and tax critics believe Pawlenty broke his no tax increases pledge, and called the cigarette hike a 'fee' as an end run around the pledge. Yet even Grover Norquist, the king of anti-tax movement who fought the cigarette tax at the time, now seems forgiving of Pawlenty."
JINDAL: PICK RYAN At a conservative gathering in Florida over the weekend, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal made the case for Romney to select Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, NBC News' Jamie Novogrod reported. "Paul Ryan's got a friend in Bobby Jindal. Jindal, governor of Louisiana, told an audience of conservative activists on Saturday that presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney would send a 'powerful message' on budgetary issues were he to choose Ryan, Wisconsin's U.S. House representative, as his running mate," Novogrod wrote. " The remarks came as Jindal - a buzzed-about veep prospect himself - wrapped up a keynote address to the Red State Gathering in Jacksonville, an annual conference of Tea Party and other conservative activist groups. 'I think picking somebody like a Paul Ryan would send a very powerful message that this administration was serious about Medicare reform, entitlement reform, shrinking the size of government, and doing so in a courageous way,' Jindal said of a Romney presidency."
HOW PORTMAN WILL LEARN ABOUT VP: While many downloaded the iPhone app that will announce Romney's VP pick, Sen. Rob Portman thinks he'll learn the name of Romney's running mate through a different medium, NBC News' Andrew Rafferty reported. "Vice presidential nominee or not, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, will not be relying on an iPhone app to find out the fate of his political future. Thought to be on Mitt Romney's VP shortlist, the Ohio senator told reporters on Saturday that he still has not downloaded the mobile phone application that promises to inform users of the pick 'before the press and just about everyone else (except maybe Ann).' He first revealed on Thursday that he did not have the app, and that seems to have remained unchanged over the past 48 hours," Rafferty wrote. "'I haven't actually gotten the app myself. I have an iPad all full of apps, half of which I never get time to use anyway. But we'll see,' he said. 'I assume I'll hear it other ways.'"
McDONNELL CALLS REID'S CHARGE 'RECKLESS AND SLANDEROUS' Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell joined the chorus yesterday speaking out against Sen. Harry's charge that Romney did not pay taxes for up to ten years, Politico's Donovan Slack reported. "Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell lashed out on Sunday at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's allegation that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney didn't pay income taxes for 10 years. "'This is a reckless and slanderous charge by Harry Reid,' McDonnell said on CBS's 'Face the Nation.' 'This is a guy who hasn't released his own returns and for three years, can't get a budget passed in the United States Senate,'" Slack wrote. "'People don't care about Mitt Romney's tax returns. They are [worried] about their own tax returns, and the taxes that are going to be increased under President Barack Obama, where nearly a million small-business people are getting a whopping tax increase. That's the issue in this race,' McDonnell said, adding that Democrats are simply trying to change the subject from jobs and spending.'"
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