August 6, 2012 -- Analysis:
This could be the week when we find out who Mitt Romney has picked as his No. 2. Then again, it may end up being another week of waiting.
When it comes to the veepstakes, the Romney campaign has masterfully used the elements of suspense and surprise to its advantage -- dispatching potential running mates on the campaign trail as surrogates, offering them up as donor bait at fundraisers and creating a data collection scheme disguised as a mobile app promising supporters who provide their name and contact information the first look at "Mitt's V.P."
Whatever the timing, Romney seems to be facing a "road not taken" dilemma -- one that pits several so-called safe candidates (think Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty) for the job against a couple of potentially riskier choices (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan).
There are advocates on both sides, but lately momentum seems to have shifted toward the "go bold" camp.
"I think that by the day, the chances of big and bold are more plausible when you see Romney behind in virtually all the battleground states," ABC's Jonathan Karl noted yesterday on the "This Week" roundtable. "He's being urged by some very prominent voices within the Republican Party to go big and bold, and the message that has come back to particularly Marco Rubio supporters is, reassurance that the Romney campaign he's under serious consideration."
But, Karl cautioned, "if you talk to Republicans close to Romney, still the overwhelming expectation is that he goes to the one of the safe picks."
The pressure Romney is getting is plain to see. In the latest edition of the conservative Weekly Standard, editors Stephen F. Hayes and William Kristol write: "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."
Even one of the contenders said to be under consideration by the Romney campaign -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal -- has been pushing Ryan.
"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 at the Red State Gathering in Jacksonville, Fla. over the weekend.And as of this morning, it appears we can check a few long-shot names off the V.P. list. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, South Carolina Gov.. Nikki Haley, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have all been given prime speaking slots at the Republican National Convention.
These decisions don't get made in a vacuum and if the Romney campaign green-lighted their speaking roles in Tampa later this month it's unlikely any of them are still under serious discussion.