Romney: You know who’d make a good running mate?

posted at 10:25 am on February 16, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Mitt Romney’s campaign and his super-PAC have begun ramping up their ad buys in Michigan to hit Rick Santorum where they believe he is weak — by painting him as an unreliable conservative, a big spender, and too much of a social conservative to win.  They need to undermine his credibility in a hurry if they want to reverse his momentum and bring Santorum back down to the second tier.  Santorum will have to find a way to defend himself while getting outspent, a task that Newt Gingrich couldn’t manage, and maintain his credibility as a national candidate.

In that, Santorum got some help yesterday from … Mitt Romney?

Mitt Romney, whose campaign is preparing a multi-million dollar wave of negative advertising to persuade voters that Rick Santorum should not be president, says he is open to the possibility of choosing Santorum to be his running mate should Romney win the Republican nomination.

Romney appeared on Fox News Wednesday morning and was asked, “You and Rick Santorum, we haven’t seen you go head-to-head yet…In the big picture, could you see a scenario where you two team up?”

“Oh, I think it’s always possible to have people come together in our party, whether it’s Rick and I, or others in the party, who knows?” Romney responded.  “It’s a little early to tell something like that, but we have similar views on issues — very different backgrounds.”

Romney’s “very different backgrounds” description of Santorum points to an argument Romney plans to use through the February 28 primaries in Michigan and Arizona and on through Super Tuesday on March 6.  Santorum has no executive experience — “hasn’t run anything,” Romney will say — and is not qualified to be president.  Romney, on the other hand, has run private businesses, the 2002 Olympics, and the state government in Massachusetts during his one term as governor.

Well, here’s the problem with that argument when made at the same time as suggesting the opponent as a valid running mate.  The position of VP/running mate exists for the sole explicit reason of replacing a President in a hurry, should the President die or become unable to carry out his/her duties while in office.  (Even the one official duty of the VP, President of the Senate, puts the VP in position to act as the President’s proxy.) If the “different backgrounds” issue is a disqualifier for the top of the ticket, it’s a disqualifier for the bottom of the ticket as well.

In that very real sense, Romney has essentially stepped on his own message.  At the same time he’s painting Santorum as unqualified for the Presidency, he’s trying to have it both ways and play to Santorum’s growing voter base by praising him in public by teasing out the possibility of a Romney/Santorum ticket.  Romney sees the need to do this because of Santorum’s high favorability ratings, whereas with Newt Gingrich he could just goad the former Speaker into a public fight and drive up his negatives even further.  However, this suggestion undermines the message Romney is using in Michigan, and it’s not a good moment for him to do that, considering his polling status in his native state.

Would Romney really consider Santorum for the bottom of the ticket? Possibly, but it wouldn’t make much sense for either man to have the other at the bottom of the ticket.  Romney wouldn’t accept it anyway, although Santorum might, but there are other options for both.  Santorum won’t gain anything by putting a Northeastern Republican on the bottom of the ticket (unless it were Chris Christie, perhaps); both would do better by picking a Tea Party favorite.  Bobby Jindal is probably the best choice for either, although Susana Martinez or Nikki Haley could work.


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santorum needs Romney to balance out Santorums lack of charitable giving.

gerrym51 on February 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM

There are ways to avoid answering the question. A smart guy like Romney should be able to figure it out- or ask one of his dozens of advisors for a line ahead of time for such an obvious question.

Yeah, it was a diplomatic answer. However, Ed’s spot on- Mitt stomped all over his message. He can’t send the mixed messages of “Santorum is inexperienced and unqualified for the Oval Office” and “Sure, he’d one acceptable option to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency” in almost the same breath- not and maintain any credibility, at least.

cs89 on February 16, 2012 at 11:29 AM

The position of VP/running mate exists for the sole explicit reason of replacing a President in a hurry, should the President die or become unable to carry out his/her duties while in office.

dunno about this……a “Running mate” should also “backfill” the Candidate’s perceived weaknesses – Romney badly needs conservative cred.

Tim_CA on February 16, 2012 at 11:30 AM

my friends.

Red Cloud on February 16, 2012 at 10:59 AM

A Mittbot using Juan McVain’s signature phrase? Not surprised.

Norwegian on February 16, 2012 at 11:02 AM

lol….I’ve seen Red Cloud called a lot of things over the last couple days….but “mittbot” is definitely a new one!

lol.

Tim_CA on February 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM

That bothers me too, because it is so transparently written to imply that Romney brought this up.

Priscilla on February 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Yeah, the headline here is a real hit-job on Mittens. I overreacted to it in the beginning (though Mittens is still an idiot and should have answered the way I said). This was pretty low on HotAir’s part, though. Mittens does enough stupid stuff that they don’t need to be making sh#t up.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Priscilla presents a reasonable point of view. I’ll be more blunt–we are so busy hating each other’s choice that we’re increasingly unable to come together. The view that we will unite to defeat Obama is becoming remote.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Dr Evil on February 16, 2012 at 11:09 AM

OMG. Did I say anything about this being a free country? Your Bush analogy is also a total fail.

I made a point, via Breitbart, of the high stakes at play here. Do you disagree with that? Do you not understand that the future of our Republic will be determined by this election? What the hell are you (and those like you) thinking? I can guess it involves some fantasy of teaching The Establishment a lesson, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong…

Buy Danish on February 16, 2012 at 11:37 AM

The view that we will unite to defeat Obama is becoming remote.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Nonsense.

Don’t buy into the hype.

This is EXACTLY what primaries are for…..and it’s been the same for centuries.

Tim_CA on February 16, 2012 at 11:39 AM

It’s a little early to tell something like that, but we have similar views on issues — very different backgrounds.”

.
Does ANYONE read anymore- or have we been conditioned to see only what we want to see- this is another waste of discussion- this conversational exchange is tongue and cheek humorous- not the baited gotcha people are looking to exploit- stop hanging on every word.
.

FlaMurph on February 16, 2012 at 11:39 AM

That bothers me too, because it is so transparently written to imply that Romney brought this up.
Priscilla on February 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Yep. The implication is he brought it up and is actively promoting the idea in order to attract Santorum’s supporters. Really disappointed with Ed on this one.

Buy Danish on February 16, 2012 at 11:40 AM

cs89 on February 16, 2012 at 11:29 AM

You’re right, mixed messages are definitely not confidence builders and it is lousy PR.

Remember how we on the right mocked and derided Hillary and Biden for their hypocrisy for supporting and joining the Obama administration after both of them had publicly stated that Obama wasn’t ready to be president?

Hillary

Biden

Flora Duh on February 16, 2012 at 11:41 AM

No, not nonsense. These are not primaries they are slander contests simply put…and may just take if we’re not careful.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Yep. The implication is he brought it up and is actively promoting the idea in order to attract Santorum’s supporters. Really disappointed with Ed on this one.

Buy Danish on February 16, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Ed does this all the time. He did it to Gingrich repeatedly.

You’re only disappointed because ‘this time’ it hurts your candidate.

fossten on February 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

No, not nonsense. These are not primaries they are slander contests simply put…and may just take if we’re not careful.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Yeah……you’re right…..this has NEVER happened before!

Good Lord, we’re you even ALIVE when Reagan was running? People who talk like you were telling us he was a “senile old man with his finger on the button”.

Take a deep breath and let the process play out.

Tim_CA on February 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Ouch.

I know you 99%ers (percent of commenters on HA that hate hate hate hate the evil evil evil evil Mitt Romney) can’t stand anything that Romney says or does (no matter what the actual content).

But is it necessary to either:

A)Say that floating the idea of Santorum as VP is a bone-headed political move or

B)Say that floating the idea of Santorum as VP is just an example of how Mitt is soulless and insincere and will do anything to steal the nomination away from what the peeps actually want ?

My suggestion, lay off the Mitt-Hate for a while, you will live longer ;-)

In all seriousness though, I don’t understand the modern aversion to a Team Of Rivals type administration.

In this case, Romney is just speaking the truth: Rick’s a good guy. Proposed Policy-wise, they are more similar than different. Rick became a part of Washington DC, while Mitt found his greatest successes in the private sector.

It’s not an attack on Santorum, nor a ringing endorsement of Romney.

It is simply the kind of approach I tried to suggest yesterday in one of my comments:

Encourage an atmosphere of potential teamwork by noting the similarities you have with your opponent… but then, without going negative, acknowledge your differences.

The point is, the Republican field all have much more in common with each other than they do with Obama.

[cue the blathering about MassCare, the false accusations of gun-grabbing, etc]

:-)

RightWay79 on February 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

The motto would be “Let us both lose to Obama now and we promise not to run in 2016 if there are still elections in the USA.”

Annar on February 16, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Yeah, it was a diplomatic answer. However, Ed’s spot on- Mitt stomped all over his message. He can’t send the mixed messages of “Santorum is inexperienced and unqualified for the Oval Office” and “Sure, he’d one acceptable option to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency” in almost the same breath- not and maintain any credibility, at least.
cs89 on February 16, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Oh please! You all need to stop making stuff up out of whole cloth. Romney hasn’t said he’s “unqualified”! He didn’t say he’s
“inexperienced”. He has contrasted his experience with Santorum’s. In a nutshell, primary voters can choose whether they want a former governor/businessman/executive or a legislator/lobbyist. Once that’s decided we can choose between Obama and our nominee.

Buy Danish on February 16, 2012 at 11:49 AM

But is it necessary to either:

A)Say that floating the idea of Santorum as VP is a bone-headed political move or

B)Say that floating the idea of Santorum as VP is just an example of how Mitt is soulless and insincere and will do anything to steal the nomination away from what the peeps actually want ?

RightWay79 on February 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Especially considering that Romney did not “float the idea”…

Sorry that wasn’t clear.

RightWay79 on February 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM

I was alive when FDR was president. You?

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Oh come on folks, everyone knows that this primary nominee will be decided by the looks of the candidate’s hair…er, I think I’m jesting.

In the general, it will be a contest of ears…since voting for hair would be open to suspicions of racism.

Don L on February 16, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Ed does this all the time. He did it to Gingrich repeatedly.
You’re only disappointed because ‘this time’ it hurts your candidate.
fossten on February 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Don’t project your thinking on to me. Gingrich was my second choice. If he did it and I noticed it I would have remarked on it. I have defended everyone of our candidates at one time or another against commenters, and our hosts, when I felt they were being unfairly attacked or portrayed.

Buy Danish on February 16, 2012 at 11:52 AM

I was alive when FDR was president. You?

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM

I was a young kid holding my Mom’s hand when he spoke from a train in Springfield Mass. Those poorer folks liked him -had no idea the damage he’d done.

Don L on February 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM

I was alive when FDR was president. You?

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM

so up until this year you’ve been watching cartoons instead of elections?

Sorry….I only go back as far as eisenhower…..but I pay attention.

Tim_CA on February 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Don’t project your thinking on to me. Gingrich was my second choice. If he did it and I noticed it I would have remarked on it. I have defended everyone of our candidates at one time or another against commenters, and our hosts, when I felt they were being unfairly attacked or portrayed.

Buy Danish on February 16, 2012 at 11:52 AM

“If he did AND I NOTICED IT” – way to wiggle out of it.

fossten on February 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM

In the general, it will be a contest of ears…since voting for hair would be open to suspicions of racism.

Don L on February 16, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Who wins, smallest or largest? Because if it’s largest, even the Boy King has joked his ears are so big there would not be room on Mt. Rushmore for his head.

Flora Duh on February 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM

[cue the blathering about MassCare, the false accusations of gun-grabbing, etc]

:-)

RightWay79 on February 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Poisoning the well

fossten on February 16, 2012 at 11:56 AM

In the general, it will be a contest of ears…since voting for hair would be open to suspicions of racism.

Don L on February 16, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Who wins, smallest or largest? Because if it’s largest, even the Boy King has joked his ears are so big there would not be room on Mt. Rushmore for his head.

Flora Duh on February 16, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Well we could go for Mussolini raised chins or who has the best photoshopped halo pic….

Don L on February 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Well we could go for Mussolini raised chins or who has the best photoshopped halo pic….

Don L on February 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM

heh.

Tim_CA on February 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Could you have a worse ticket than Romney/Santorum that is even feasible?

cpaulus on February 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

No, Romney needs a reliable conservative from a Southern state, not Santorum.

He needs a Haley Barbour, Bobby Jindal, Suzanna Martinez or Marco Rubio.

Conversely, Santorum also needs a reliable conservative, but one who is also strong on fiscal policy and who would not over-shadow him. I cant think of many Republicans who fit the bill and that have enough name recognition to matter. The best guy would be Paul Ryan, but he clearly would over-shadow him, and I doubt Ryan would even want the job.

milcus on February 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Could you have a worse ticket than Romney/Santorum that is even feasible?

cpaulus on February 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Santorum/Romney.

Red Cloud on February 16, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Could you have a worse ticket than Romney/Santorum that is even feasible?

cpaulus on February 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Obama/Biden

j/k I know what you meant. :-)

Flora Duh on February 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Don L Yes, what a Pandora’s Box he opened.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Poisoning the well

fossten on February 16, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Hey, cool.

I was using a nifty rhetorical device without even knowing it. I guess I am a natural. :-)

RightWay79 on February 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM

“If he did AND I NOTICED IT” – way to wiggle out of it.
fossten on February 16, 2012 at 11:54 AM

GFY and your jackasserie. I don’t read every thread or every comment here! I’m not “wiggling out of anything”…

++
Oh Look! Watch Sarah Palin claim she isn’t “picking on Mitt Romney” after tossing spitballs at him at CPAC. This is why I said I don’t “trust” her. Wait! Now she has the gall to say “we shouldn’t have candidates shooting at each other”. While she does a good job of articulating conservative views she has a severely disingenuous streak.

Buy Danish on February 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Mittens does enough stupid stuff that they don’t need to be making sh#t up.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 16, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Heh. Very true.

Priscilla on February 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Don L My husband remarks that Obama holds his head as Mussolini did too.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Sounds like Mitt would take the VP job…good for him, I think that is where he belongs…

right2bright on February 16, 2012 at 12:20 PM

I think Romney’s suggesion of possibly adding Santorum to his ticket if he won the nomination is Romney’s attempt at a replay of 1980 when Reagan beat Bush in a bitter primary fight then put Bush in the Veep slot on the ticket to unify the party going into the general. But Reagan didn’t suggest doing this until after he won the nomination.

Bitter Clinger on February 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM

He can’t send the mixed messages of “Santorum is inexperienced and unqualified for the Oval Office”

Since when does saying that your experience is better than your opponent’s qualify as saying your opponent is unqualified?

Priscilla on February 16, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Sounds like Mitt would take the VP job…good for him, I think that is where he belongs…

right2bright on February 16, 2012 at 12:20 PM

I have always maintained that Romney is a perfect fit. He might be a lousy, liberal-ish president, but VP? Organizational talent, familiarity with finances and fundraising, reasonable message control, presentable appearance – what else to wish for? It will also heal the GOP split that is bound to occur if ABR gets the nod.

Archivarix on February 16, 2012 at 12:26 PM

But Reagan didn’t suggest doing this until after he won the nomination.

Bitter Clinger on February 16, 2012 at 12:24 PM

And, as far a I can see, Romney didn’t suggest putting Santorum on the ticket….

Priscilla on February 16, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Don L My husband remarks that Obama holds his head as Mussolini did too.

jeanie on February 16, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Yeah, it’s a practiced dead ringer for the dictator that ended up hung upside down by his people.

So….who would make the best…er, messiah?

Don L on February 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Romney is a buffoon – he is completely desperate and totally ridiculous. Romney is a flaming (pro-abortion) liberal, and he would never choose a true conservative as his running mate; Romney and Santorum are polar opposites.

Pork-Chop on February 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Could you have a worse ticket than Romney/Santorum that is even feasible?

cpaulus on February 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Obama/Biden

j/k I know what you meant. :-)

Flora Duh on February 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Just wait for 2016 Biden / Romney (Romney will have ‘grown’ through his losses.)

Annar on February 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Romney needs to carry the South and would have to go with either Jindal or Marco to make that happen.

Punchenko on February 16, 2012 at 1:11 PM

As for your assessment as to the quality of comments here, how are we to characterize that^^^contribution?

Buy Danish on February 16, 2012 at 11:22 AM

As an accurate one, if you possess even a scintilla of intellectual honesty; however the voices in your head best prefer, otherwise.

Kent18 on February 16, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Michigan, BRACE YOURSELVES!?! Yet another Romney is going to try to BUY your vote with nothing but negative ads (read: LIES)!! Michigan and Arizona, don’t succomb to the dreaded LEMMING disease, MHIT-For-Brains!!! The RepublilcRAT establishment is RESPONSIBLE for spreading this dreadded LEMMING disease from state to state!?! MHIT-For-Brains ROBS you of any common sense, and steals your ability to see a LIAR for a LIAR!?! RINO Romney (aka Obama-Lite) canNOT run on his record, so he must LIE about his opponents’ records. Don’t be infected by the dreaded LEMMING disease, MHIT-For-Brains!! Don’t vote for ANOTHER potential LIAR-In-Chief!?! We already have one of those!?! And how’s that “hopey-changey” crap working out for you????

Colatteral Damage on February 16, 2012 at 2:40 PM

GFY and your jackasserie. I don’t read every thread or every comment here! I’m not “wiggling out of anything”…

Buy Danish on February 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Man, the Mittbots are sensitive. Telling people to go f*** themselves. Whew, somebody has some anger issues.

fossten on February 16, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Hey, cool.

I was using a nifty rhetorical device without even knowing it. I guess I am a natural. :-)

RightWay79 on February 16, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Don’t flatter yourself; actually, it’s a logical FALLACY. Sympathy for not knowing the difference between a device and a flaw.

fossten on February 16, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Hoo boy, hold me back… Romney-Santo 2012?
Dear Lord, that is bad.

New Party time folks. Not a 3rd party, a new 2nd party to toss the GOPe over the rails and take its place.

james23 on February 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM

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