Veep Beat: VP Possibles Stump For Romney Through Weekend

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PORTMAN 'FEELS THE PRESSURE' TO DELIVER OHIO: Campaigning in Ohio on Saturday, Portman said he sees an added pressure in bringing Romney a win in his home state of Ohio, NBC News' Andrew Rafferty reported. "'I already feel the pressure,'Portman said when asked whether he felt he would be responsible for ensuring the Buckeye State is red this November if chosen as Romney's running mate. 'I'm chairing the effort here in Ohio and again I'm feeling good about things because there is a just a lot of volunteers who are stepping forward. I haven't seen energy like this in past elections, presidential or otherwise… My focus is going to be Ohio. And I do believe that this year, Ohio could make the difference again.'"

PORTMAN'S BUSH CONNECTION: One of the main glitches mentioned about placing Sen. Rob Portman on the GOP ticket is his connection to George W. Bush, but as Politico's Jonathan Martin reported, Portman actually may reflect the characteristics of a different Bush family member - George H.W. Bush. "Sen. Rob Portman is a Bush man, all right. But just not the Bush you may be thinking of. In both his political education and political identity, Portman is much more closely aligned with the 41st president than the 43rd. The Ohio senator and GOP vice-presidential finalist got his start in national politics on George H.W. Bush's1980 presidential campaign and owes his first congressional victory partly to former First Lady Barbara Bush, who recorded a radio ad name-dropping Cincinnati's Skyline Chili and Portman in the same sentence. And overall, his views and political style are more reminiscent of the first President Bush: center-right, bipartisan, results-oriented and gentlemanly if not terribly charismatic," Martin wrote. "As the clock ticks toward a decision by Mitt Romney on his running mate and speculation about Portman intensifies, he's coming under increasing scrutiny for his work as George W. Bush's trade representative and director of Office of Management and Budget. Conservatives fret what that might mean for his approach to spending, which spiked under the last GOP administration, and victory-hungry Republicans worry about putting somebody on the ticket who may remind swing voters of the party's recent unpleasantness. But those who know Portman well say he was shaped far more by the consensus-driven politics of Bush the elder, whom the Ohioan worked for in the White House during 41's single term."

RUBIO'S PLANE MAKES EMERGENCY LANDING: Sen. Marco Rubio's plane made an emergency landing Saturday due to mechanical problems as it was en route to a Mitt Romney campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa. Flying from Las Vegas to Des Moines, the private plane carrying Rubio was forced to land in Albuquerque, N.M., after encountering technical problems. Rubio took to twitter to announce emergency landing and missed his appearance at an event for Romney in Des Moines due to the problems, but the Florida senator still addressed the crowd by phone.

RUBIO'S CROWD COUNTS: Rubio held his first solo events on behalf of Romney this weekend and drew in large crowds. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, a crowd of 800 attending Rubio's rally at his old elementary school in Las Vegas Saturday, and a crowd of 200 gathered to meet Rubio outside the Iowa state capitol in Des Moines though Rubio's appearance was ultimately canceled due to flight problems, the Des Moines Register reported.

IOWA GOV. BACKS RUBIO: One swing state governor expressed his support of Rubio for the vice presidential slot - Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad - NBC News' Alex Moe reported. "Add another top Republican to the growing category of supporters who want Sen. Marco Rubio as vice president: Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad," Moe wrote. "'Well, Marco Rubio sounds pretty good to me,' Gov. Branstad told NBC News following a Mitt Romney Victory event on the steps of the state house here when asked who he would suggest to Romney to be VP. 'There are a number of others that I think are very talented, but Marco Rubio, I think, tells it very much like it is. He is somebody who has come up the hard way and has showed great leadership and he is now one of the great young senators from the state of Florida - an important and key state - so he is certainly one I would like to see considered.'"

PAWLENTY SHOWS FIERY, FAMILY FRIENDLY SIDES: Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty showed how versatile he can be as a candidate this weekend in North Carolina, displaying both his fired up and family friendly sides, ABC News' Shushannah Walshe reported. "On a day when Mitt Romney surrogates and vice presidential contenders were spread out all over the country, Tim Pawlenty showed two very different sides of himself as a possible running mate. Dressed in a blue checkered shirt and jeans, he first held a small roundtable with 'sports parents' at a local ice rink in Cary, before holding a much larger rally opening a campaign office in Raleigh," Walshe wrote. "At the Polar Ice Rink, he listened to voters about their concerns and pledged to take them back to the presumptive GOP nominee. At the rally, it was a much more revved up Pawlenty, one rarely seen during his television appearances on behalf of Romney, attacking President Obama's record. 'I don't know about you, but I'm tired of hearing his teleprompter speeches and no results. His big fancy speeches from four years ago and since, those speeches, those words, they don't put gas in our cars, do they?' Pawlenty asked the crowd, to screams of, 'No!'"

RYAN SEES WISCONSIN WIN: Rep. Paul Ryan said he believes Romney can pull off a victory in Wisconsin this fall, NBC News' Alex Moe reported. "Campaigning for the GOP nominee in his home state with just 100 days before the presidential election, Congressman Paul Ryan said he is confident Mitt Romney can win here in the Badger State this November," Moe wrote. "'We haven't gone Republican on top of the ticket since 1984, but we think this time is different. We think it's different because people in Wisconsin are tired of the direction Washington is going. They don't believe the president's policies have worked,' Ryan told NBC News in an interview Sunday evening. They think, 'this is not the uniter. This is not the hope and change. This is a man who is dividing us, who is giving us terrible economic policies, who is growing government, who is growing the debt, and that just doesn't rub right with Wisconsinites.'"

JINDAL STUMPS IN FLORIDA: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal presented the disparity in President Obama's 2012 campaign from his 2008 presidential bid in which he promised the country "hope and change," but Jindal said Obama failed to achieve that during a campaign stop in Florida Saturday, NBC News' Jamie Novogod reported. "Stumping for Mitt Romney in southern Florida Saturday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal cast the presidential election in stark terms, hammering President Obama over a vision of America that he said pits people against each other and diminishes the contributions of individuals to the national economy," Novogrod wrote. "'It was 'hope and change' four years ago,' Jindal said, referring to Obama's 2008 campaign. 'Now it's 'divide and blame.' Everything is somebody else's fault.'"

McDONNELL ON DEFENSE SPENDING: In an editorial board meeting with the Washington Times, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said he thinks Congress needs to target defense spending in order to rein in spending but doesn't believe they should implement automatic defense cuts, the Washington Times' Seth McLaughlin reported. "Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says that defense spending must be reined in if Congress is serious about getting the nation's fiscal house in order but opposes the $500 billion in automatic defense cuts under last year's debt deal, warning they would weaken national security, kill jobs and devastate his state's defense industry. Thought to be on the short list of potential vice-presidential picks for Republican standard-bearer Mitt Romney, Mr. McDonnell's willingness to place defense spending on the chopping block puts him at odds with the former Massachusetts governor, who has railed against President Obama's attempts to reduce the size of the Pentagon budget and vowed to beef it up," McLaughlin wrote. " In a meeting on Friday with editors and reporters of The Washington Times, Mr. McDonnell said he supported the debt deal that lawmakers hammered out last summer because it represented the 'lesser of multiple evils' - noting the looming concerns over the potential downgrading of the nation's credit rating. Republicans, he said, were optimistic that the 'supercommittee' established through the deal would be able to forge a bipartisan deficit-cutting agreement. But it didn't, triggering $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts that will be split between defense and non-defense spending if Congress fails to find common ground before the end of the year. That does not bode well for Virginia, which is home to a high number of defense contractors and military bases."

AYOTTE DEFENDS ROMNEY'S LONDON STUMBLE: Sen. Kelly Ayotte defended Romney's London gaffes during her appearance on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, Politico's Robin Bravender reported. "New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte defended Mitt Romney on Sunday after a series of gaffes during his trip to London. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee made waves last week for suggesting that London might not be adequately prepared for the Olympics and for publicly revealing that he had met with the head of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency. The campaign also came under fire when a Romney adviser reportedly said that the GOP candidate better understood the UK-USA relationship because of a shared "Anglo-Saxon heritage." The Romney campaign has denied those reports," Bravender reported. "'We all know stuff happens on the campaign trail,' the Republican senator and Romney surrogate said on CNN's 'State of the Union.' 'Governor Romney subsequently said very clearly that he's confident in London's readiness.'"


@robportman: Got my 1917 Model T out this evening to shuttle son and daughter after their float down the river near our house

@marcorubio: Bad news.Replacement plane won't get here in time 2 get us 2 # DesMoines # Iowa for @ MittRomney rally.Was looking forward 2 it.We will be back

@bobbyjindal: @ WSJ gets it right. Use of bullying tactics to keep kids from a chance at a great education is disgraceful. …

@kellyayotte: Go Team USA! Good luck to all our @ USOlympic athletes! # OpeningCeremonies