Veep Beat: The Veepstakes in a Smartphone World

ROMNEY TO ANNOUNCE VP THROUGH AN APP: The veepstakes met the technological age this morning when Mitt Romney's campaign announced a new app called "Mitt's VP" where users can sign up to become the first to learn whom Romney selects as his running mate, ABC News' Emily Friedman reported. "The historic announcement is getting closer," Beth Meyers, Romney's senior adviser tasked with leading the vice presidential search, said in a statement released today. "Soon everyone will know who Mitt Romney selects as his Vice Presidential running mate. With this new app, users can be the first to know the second member of America's Comeback Team." As soon as Romney announces his pick, users will be notified via an alert on their smartphones. But when you go to download the app, users are warned that they'll get "the exciting news before the press and just about everyone else (except maybe Ann.)"

PORTMAN PUNTS WHEN ASKED IF READY TO BE VP: Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio refused to comment when asked by ABC News' Gregory Simmons at a stop in Pennsylvania Monday whether he would be ready to be VP if the call came. "This week, Portman punted when asked if he would be ready if the call came asking him to join the ticket," Simmons wrote. 'I'll let the Romney folks talk about readiness,' Portman told ABC News Monday. 'Governor Romney has a lot of great choices. There are a lot of people out there who can do the job and ultimately I think people vote for the president, not the vice president.' Portman has long been rumored to be on Romney's short list of running mates and has appeared often on his behalf in states such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and his home state of Ohio. Today Portman rallied a group of 200 plus Republicans for Romney in Lancaster County, Pa., telling the crowd he 'had a good feeling' the crucial swing state would land in the red column this election cycle."

PORTMAN CHANNELS MEL GIBSON: What flashed through Portman's mind while he was kayaking in Chile earlier this year and dislocated his shoulder? Mel Gibson, the AP reported. "Portman said he thought of the 1989 movie 'Lethal Weapon 2,' when the Gibson character escapes a straitjacket by intentionally dislocating his shoulder, then gets it back in place by crashing against a file cabinet. 'Honestly, that was what flashed through my mind, Mel Gibson. So I took my shoulder, slammed it against the rock, and the shoulder popped in. I couldn't feel my arm, but I could use my arm. I was able to swim to shore.' Portman said he walked out of the canyon on his own, pleased about time spent years ago watching 'Lethal Weapon' movies."

PAWLENTY TALKS BEERS, NOT VP: With speculation rising about where he sits on the VP list, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty turned to talking beer, not VP during a stop in Ohio, NBC News' Carrie Dann said. "Vice presidential prospect Tim Pawlenty won't talk about the vice presidential vetting process, but he will tell you about his favorite beers. Putting in another solid day of swing-state advocacy on behalf of Mitt Romney, the former Minnesota governor pumped up the GOP nominee's small government policies, sampled local ice cream and won laughs from supporters when he deployed some recently-unveiled stump speech jokes at the president's expense," Dann wrote. "'I don't know about you, but I enjoy a cold beer once in a while,' he said at Dublin Pub in Dayton, Ohio, listing some of the available sudsy brands. 'I know you probably have some Guinness here, and some Smithwick's, and some Edmund Fitzgerald, who knows what else? Miller and Budweiser and all kinds of other stuff.'" Imagining the unsatisfying scenario of being served a foamy pint of beer, Pawlenty delivered the punch line: 'Barack Obama is all foam and no beer. And you can't live on the foam. His speeches are his foam.'"

RUBIO'S RISING STAR: Sen. Marco Rubio might not capture the vice presidential nod, but the buzz surrounding him is lifting his political stature, Politico's Scott Wong reported. "Marco Rubio may be slipping down the shortlist of potential Mitt Romney running mates. But Rubio Inc. has been booming. The vice presidential buzz surrounding the Florida Republican has helped put his new memoir on The New York Times' bestseller list, creating a windfall that could potentially wipe out the senator's personal debt. Coffers for his campaign committee and leadership PAC also have become flush with cash in recent months - he's seen a 50 percent uptick in donations," Wong wrote. "And just as it seemed his vice presidential star was dimming, prominent Republicans, including Jeb Bush, Rudy Giuliani and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, began promoting Rubio, keeping his name in the mix, and in the media, as Romney's possible No. 2."

FORMER DEM GOV. ADMITS HE'S 'AFRAID' OF RUBIO'S APPEAL: Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said in a Univision interview that he's "afraid" of Rubio's ability to woo voters, Univision's Emily Derury reported. "Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson says that he is afraid of Marco Rubio's ability to cut into President Obama's Latino support. Richardson, a Mexican-American who ran against Obama in 2008 for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that the freshman Florida senator is one of the Republican Party's fastest-rising stars who could make the GOP more appealing to Latino voters both in this election and in future ones," Derury wrote. "'I like him. And yes, I'm afraid of him because I think he is an attractive politician, well prepared. And he is Cuban-American and to me that is positive,' Richardson said in an interview on Univision's 'Al Punto.' 'Because I want all Hispanics in the Republican Party, in the Democratic Party, whether Latin Americans, Central Americans, Cubans, Mexicans, I want us to unite.""

VEEPS AND TAX RETURNS: The majority of the vice presidential contenders have not released tax returns, following a trend set by the presumptive GOP nominee they might join on the ticket this fall, Mitt Romney, the Daily Beast's Miranda Green reported. "Of the five VP picks considered most likely, Sen. Marco Rubio is the only one who has disclosed multiple tax returns. During his 2010 Senate run, Rubio released nine years of data from 2000 to 2009. But the move was short-lived; the pages can no longer be found on his campaign website and now only exist in the annals of newspaper articles and blog posts," Green wrote. "Bobby Jindal released his 2006 tax return in 2007, during his successful run for Louisiana governor. The others believed to be on Romney's so-called short list - Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Paul Ryan and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty - have all refused to go public with their tax returns. Their offices either declined to comment or did not respond to requests."

HOW ANN ROMNEY'S HORSE DECIDES VEEPSTAKES TIMING: ABC News' Emily Friedman detailed how Ann Romney's horse, Rafalca, who is competing in the Olympic dressage competition, could guide the timing of Romney's VP announcement. "The success of Ann Romney's dressage horse, Rafalca, in the London Olympics could determine when Mitt Romney announces his running mate. As Mitt Romney prepares to head back to the states Tuesday evening after several days abroad, the frenzied speculation about who he will choose to be his running mate will reignite after a momentary pause. But not so fast, veepstakes trackers," Friedman wrote. "One person who isn't heading back to the United States quite yet is Ann Romney, who will return to England from Poland Tuesday to see her horse compete Aug. 2 and 3. Depending on how the horse performs, he could show again Aug. 8 and 9, Ann Romney's spokeswoman, Sarah Haley, said. That means Ann Romney might not be back in the United States for at least another week. The candidate is unlikely to announce his running mate - unarguably one of the most important moments of his campaign - without his wife, whom he often refers to as his 'sweetheart,' by his side."

AYOTTE, McCAIN WARN AGAINST DEFENSE CUTS: Before hosting a day of town halls on sequestration, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, joined by Sen. John McCain, appeared on CNN Monday arguing against defense cuts, The Hill's Geneva Sands reported. "McCain was joined by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), a fellow member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on CNN to promote their town hall meetings this week aimed at showcasing the impact of the defense cuts around the country. They will be joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on the four-state tour, which begins Monday in Tampa, Fla.," Sands wrote. "Ayotte argued that the looming cuts to defense spending are "disproportionate" to total federal spending. 'We've already cut nearly a half a trillion dollars from the Department of the Defense, so we're not saying defense can't take some savings, but this is disproportionate. It's 19 percent of federal spending is taking 15 percent of cuts,' Ayotte said."


@robportman: Olympic silver for Ohio swimmer Nick Thoman! An impressive young man who grew up in our neighborhood - Cinti is really proud

@governorva: For the 3rd straight year, Virginia has reached the end of the fiscal year with a revenue surplus.

@kellyayotte: @ SenJohnMcCain & Sen Ayotte call for presidential leadership on sequestration & fiscal cliff.

Get More News at ABC Politics and a Different Spin at OTUS News.