Veep Beat: Romney Campaign Bulking Up VP Team

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images;Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

ROMNEY RALLIES WITH GOVS: In his first full day campaigning since last Tuesday, Mitt Romney will be joined in Basalt, Colo., by a number of Republican governors, including some top VP contenders. Among the potential running mates will be Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who will make his first public appearance with Romney aside from fundraisers, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

ROMNEY'S VP TEAM BULKS UP: With an announcement from Romney on who will fill the number two spot coming any day now, Romney's campaign is bulking up its VP team, the Wall Street Journal's Patrick O'Connor reported. "Mitt Romney's campaign is adding more staff to work with the candidate's eventual vice-presidential pick, an indication that a choice is drawing nearer now that Mr. Romney has returned from a trip abroad," O'Connor wrote. "The presumptive Republican presidential nominee returns to the campaign trail Thursday in Colorado after an overseas trip that generated mixed headlines back home. His return is sure to spawn new speculation about whom he will tap as his running mate and when. The new additions to the campaign, which won't be announced until later, will help the small group who are already working on plans for the rollout and making sure the eventual pick is integrated into the broader campaign, according to one adviser."

PORTMAN DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM BUSH: Sen. Rob Portman attempted to distance himself from the Bush administration, in which he served as OMB director from May 2006 to August 2007, saying he was sometimes "frustrated" in his role, the Hill's Alexander Bolton reported. "Portman was careful to not criticize Bush while detailing the challenges he faced from other administration officials, whom he declined to name. The comments indicate that Portman is seeking to keep Bush at arm's length while also not appearing to be disloyal. Portman did note, for example, that he was ultimately satisfied with the administration's second-term efforts to rein in spending," Bolton wrote. "While Portman has many attributes, he knows that his work for the Bush administration could be a handicap.Portman was close with Bush when he served in the House. The 56-year-old legislator later served as Bush's U.S. Trade Representative before heading the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)…Creating daylight between him and the Bush administration could be important for Portman if he is picked as the vice presidential nominee because Democrats would surely try to tie Romney to Bush. Portman… recalled his behind-the-scenes battles with other senior advisers. 'I was frustrated when I was there about some spending issues - specifically, as you know, I wanted to offer a balanced budget over five years, and a lot of people didn't,' he said in the interview, noting the decision to submit a balanced budget was ultimately the president's. 'I prevailed. The president sent his budget - not my budget, his budget - a five-year balanced budget. But it was a fight, internally.'"

RUBIO STUMPS FOR ROMNEY: Sen. Marco Rubio will hold a "Strengthening the Middle Class" event, his second solo effort, for Romney in Orlando Thursday morning prior to President Obama's trip to the state.

RUBIO INTRODUCES BILL EXEMPTING OLYMPIANS FROM PAYING TAXES ON MEDALS: Rubio introduced a bill Wednesday that would exempt U.S. Olympic athletes from paying federal taxes on the medals and prize money they win at the Olympics, ABC News' Sunlen Miller reported. "'Our tax code is a complicated and burdensome mess that too often punishes success, and the tax imposed on Olympic medal winners is a classic example of this madness,' Rubio said in a paper statement today announcing his legislation. 'Athletes representing our nation overseas in the Olympics shouldn't have to worry about an extra tax bill waiting for them back home.' Under U.S. tax law, the athletes must add the value of their Olympic medals and prizes to their taxable income, and are taxed at a rate of 35% by the IRS," Miller wrote. " Americans for Tax Reform found that the value of a gold medal is about $675, meaning that an athlete could be on the hook for a $236 extra tax burden. In addition, and more financially significant, Olympians who win medals also receive cash payments - $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. This taxable income could mean that a Gold Medal winner could face a tax on the cash prize, in addition to the amount from the tax on their medal, at $8,750, according to the Americans for Tax Reform. Rubio said athletes should not be 'punished" by their athletic achievement. 'We need a fundamental overhaul of our tax code, but we shouldn't wait any time we have a chance to aggressively fix ridiculous tax laws like this tax on Olympians' medals and prize money,' Rubio said. 'We can all agree that these Olympians who dedicate their lives to athletic excellence should not be punished when they achieve it.' Rubio's bill, if taken up and passed in Congress, would apply to awards won after Dec. 31, 2011."

GOVS TALK GUN CONTROL IN COLORADO: Speaking at a convention at the Aspen Institute, five GOP governors and potential VP contenders, including Christie, McDonnell and Jindal, discussed their opposition to federal gun control laws, the Aspen Times' Scott Condon wrote. "Five prominent Republican governors in Aspen for a conference dismissed the idea Wednesday night that the U.S. needs a national gun-control law targeting assault weapons despite the multiple-murder tragedy in Colorado last month. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said his state has some of the toughest gun-control laws in the country, which he supports. 'I have to because that's what the people of our state want,' he said. Christie said more states should craft their own gun-control measures following the will of their residents rather than following a national law. 'I don't have a problem with different states making different determinations,' he said," Condon wrote. "While Isaacson tossed the governors a variety of questions, from education reform to immigration policy to the inability of Democrats and Republicans to get along, the toughest question came from the audience. A man asked why so few Republicans stand up with courage and take a leadership position on an assault-weapons ban. Jindal responded, 'I just disagree with the premise of the question. I don't think it takes courage to do the politically correct thing.' The reality is the nation needs to enforce the laws already on the books, Jindal said."


@robportman: Tough break for the #Reds w/ @DatDudeBPout of the lineup. Need Phillips and Votto back soon w Pirates coming to town

@reppaulryan: The House took action today to protect families & workers from a massive tax increase in January 2013.

@marcorubio: Olympic champs shouldn't have tax on medals.Unless@barackobama believes they didn't earn them,someone else did that.

@governorva: Sept. 29, 2012, will be a #daytoserve in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and DC. …

@kellyayotte: Congratulations to my friend & New England colleague @USSenScottBrown on promotion today to Colonel in the Army Natl Guard!

@senjohnthune: Congrats to @USSenScottBrown who was promoted to Colonel in the National Guard. Honored to attend the event today.

@govchristie: New Jersey will continue to stand with Israel.