Obligatory “Romney may have already picked his running mate” post of the week

posted at 12:01 pm on July 16, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

True, Mitt Romney may have already picked his running mate — or he may not have made his decision yet, either.  The closer we get to the convention, the more chance this line from the New York Times’ Jeff Zeleny has of being correct:

Mr. Romney has reached a decision, his friends believe, and he may disclose it as soon as this week.

The media has been very anxious indeed to get Romney to make an early pick.  Last week, Condi Rice was the pick.  This week it’s Tim Pawlenty, which at least seems more realistic:

While Mr. Romney has kept more distance from the rest of his primary challengers, he has embraced Mr. Pawlenty, seeking his advice about running against President Obama and sending him to Republican events on his behalf. They began forging a closer relationship last year on a visit to the Romney family’s lakeside home in New Hampshire, aides said, and during debates this year when Mr. Pawlenty often traveled with the Romney campaign after dropping out of the race himself.

He has emerged as one of the most energetic cheerleaders and forceful defenders of Mr. Romney, firing back against Republican skeptics and Democratic critics alike. All but forgotten are the days when Mr. Pawlenty coined the troublemaking term “Obamneycare,” suggesting that few differences existed between the health care plans of Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama.

The conservative National Review now describes Mr. Pawlenty as “Romney’s traveling salesman.” While other potential vice-presidential candidates like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana have day jobs that limit their availability, Mr. Pawlenty, who has no other full-time position, is the political equivalent of an empty nester, available to do whatever Mr. Romney asks.

Pawlenty has received a lot of attention in the Veepstakes, and for good reason.  The former Minnesota governor connects well with working-class voters, has excellent message discipline, is unquestionably prepared to be President should the need arise, and can play well in the Midwest and probably the Rust Belt, a quality Romney will need in November.  Pawlenty gets a lot of criticism for not being exciting enough on the stump, but he improved his game considerably over the last two years, and delivers impressively in speeches.

ABC, on the other hand, hears that if Romney has made his decision, it may be Bobby Jindal who gets the nod:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will appear at a fundraiser with Mitt Romney today in Baton Rouge, fueling speculation about his vice presidential chances, the Washington Post’s Nia-Malika Henderson reported in a profile of the Louisiana governor. “Three years ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal got his first big chance in the national spotlight and bombed. His response to President Obama’s first State of the Union address was uniformly panned. ‘Not ready for prime time’ was a common critique. But Jindal (R), who is often mentioned as a vice-presidential contender on Mitt Romney’s short­list, is proof that there are second acts in American politics,” Henderson wrote. “On Monday, Jindal, who backed Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the primary contest, is set to join Romney for a high-dollar fundraising luncheon with supporters in Baton Rouge, probably fueling more debate about his chances of becoming the running mate. Romney announced in a note to supporters last week that he will name his pick before the Republican National Convention in August, dubbing the ticket ‘America’s Comeback Team.’ Asked recently about his vice-presidential prospects, Jindal offered the classic non-response. ‘We’re not going to speculate. I’ve said this for the last several weeks. We’re not speculating. We’re not commenting on that,’ he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referring questions to the Romney campaign. ‘No disrespect to Joe Biden, nobody’s going to the voting booth and voting based on who’s vice president.’ Yet social conservatives are looking closely at Romney’s choice for signs that he wants to assuage their concerns about issues that are important to them, such as their opposition to abortion and gay rights. Jindal would fit that bill.”

And so on, and so on, and so on.  Either Pawlenty or Jindal would make a good choice, and there are plenty of others who would, too.  Romney may or may not have made a decision already, but given the options, it wouldn’t be too surprising if he’s still mulling over those choices.  You can bet on one thing: the more the media keeps reporting that Romney may be on the verge of announcing his choice, the better off Romney will be in waiting until just before the convention.  He wants to build buzz, not end it.  The only reasons to pull the trigger early is either to counter a bad media environment, which so far Romney has been content to fight himself, or to help fundraising, which is going gangbusters for Team Romney at the moment.

I’d expect an announcement on Friday, August 17th, or Monday, August 20th to drive attention all the way through the convention.  Until then, I’d expect the “he’s ready to announce” hype to be a weekly media meme.


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I think Governor Pawlenty is an excellent choice if it turns out that its he whom Romney has chosen. He would be a genuine a asset as VP.

He has national recognition. He’s squeaky clean. He’s been thoroughly vetted recently. He’s got a solid reputation as a governor and ample experience. He did a good job with Minnesota, a blue state. He stepped up and rolled up his sleeves to help Romney immediately after he resigned his own run in the primary. He’s smart, steadfast, and reliable.

Another valuable quality that Governor Pawlenty has is ‘Minnesota nice’ by the bucket load. He’s friendly and understands protocol and has plain old good manners. He’s the antithesis of Biden. This nation could rely on Pawlenty NOT to be an embarrassment.

If Governor Pawlenty had emerged from the primary as the nominee he would have had my support. I’d be very comfortable with a ROMNEY/PAWLENTY ticket.

thatsafactjack on July 16, 2012 at 1:09 PM

PappyD61 on July 16, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Not that in particular, but the Patriot Post has a lot of good ones…

kirkill on July 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM

Has Dante trolled the thread to say Jindal is ineligible yet?

DRayRaven on July 16, 2012 at 1:15 PM

casuist on July 16, 2012 at 1:03 PM

He’s head to head with an incumbent President and a savaging 24/7 media blitz. If you don’t live in a battle ground state- you do not realize how much fire power is being umloaded on Super Mitt at this time.

Turn off MSNBS- Rombo is holding on better than was expected during the primaries. Its Axelfraud and friends who need a turn around guy.

“Paging a Mr. Carville” -”Mr. Carville- to the white courtesy phone, please”

FlaMurph on July 16, 2012 at 1:16 PM

He, MAY have made his decision, but I doubt he’ll announce it before the Olympics have finished. The Olympics will take up too much of the oxygen in the room as far as the news cycle goes, so any real announcement buzz would largely be cut short if he announced it before then.

Besides that, the Olympics will give Romney a few relatively calm weeks to let the air clear, so to speak. If he waits until they’re over he can use it as an opportunity to reintroduce himself, just before the convention.

WolvenOne on July 16, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Yah, let’s pick the guy who ran like a scared rabbit out of the primaries when the first softball hit him in the face.

ppfffttt.

katy on July 16, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Pawlenty is well-qualified although I’d prefer Jindal. The pres and VP are here to serve important roles not be loved by non-nothing Hollywood airheads who have no clue how most of us live.

gsherin on July 16, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Rubio is still the best pick for VP because he will gurantee Florida for Romney, almost assure winning Colorado for Romney, and make Nevada very competitive… Those are the three battleground states where Hispanics votes matter, all the other battleground states have little Hispanic vote to make any difference…

mnjg on July 16, 2012 at 1:21 PM

sorry, non-nothing = know-nothing

gsherin on July 16, 2012 at 1:21 PM

NY slimes is talking up Pawlenty-
WacomPOst is talking up Jindal now……

Hmmmm….. what’s all that (not) about ????

FlaMurph on July 16, 2012 at 1:28 PM


He’s head to head with an incumbent President and a savaging 24/7 media blitz. If you don’t live in a battle ground state- you do not realize how much fire power is being umloaded on Super Mitt at this time.

Impression formation–’bracketing’ is what campaign communication directors used to call it–takes time to develop by means of multiple sources. Kerry was also up in the polls in the summer of 2004 even as he got swift-boated. This was alleged to be one of the reasons that he didn’t respond. I personally believe that he didn’t respond because he had no effective response. My hypothesis yet to be tested by facts on the ground is that Romney is in the same position of not having an effective response. The best Romney can bring himself to say is that he is not responsible for the activities of Bain post-1999 when Bain and Romney have already become indissolubly linked in popular perceptions, so when Romney says I am not responsible for Bain he only reinforces the perception of a link. In effect, he repeats the charge even as he makes himself appear weak and ineffectual. He supports the narrative. You have to wonder why no one in Team Romney can figure that out.

casuist on July 16, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Yah, let’s pick the guy who ran like a scared rabbit out of the primaries when the first softball hit him in the face.

ppfffttt.

katy on July 16, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Not to mention: Pawlenty couldn’t even help Romney carry Minnesota in the GOP caucus. Despite heavy Pawlenty lobbying, Romney finished a distant third.

Pawlenty brings nothing to the table.

Norwegian on July 16, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Pawlenty? Come on – Romney just can’t be that stupid – Can he?

Team Romney simply can’t be so completely oblivious as to not recognize that Romney suffers from a huge enthusiasm gap – and the VP choice is Romney’s last, best chance to get conservatives excited about the ticket. Pawlenty would do absolutely nothing to help Romney. Pawlenty is way too safe and has very little to offer, and choosing him would simply feed the meme that Romney is risk averse, and that Romney is not interested in getting conservatives on board.

Be BRAVE, Mr. Romney – be BOLD – show us how much you want to win – PICK a STRONG conservative VP who can rally the troops and FIRE UP the conservative base!

( AND – Romney had better invite SARAH PALIN to speak at the convention – TOUT SUITE!!! )

Pork-Chop on July 16, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Has Dante trolled the thread to say Jindal is ineligible yet?

DRayRaven on July 16, 2012 at 1:15 PM

You mean Jindal is eligible after all. Good to know.

Bmore on July 16, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Pawlenty would be a respectable choice, but to lock up the Republican and independent vote he needs to pick someone from the South (or at least has an aspect of the South) or someone highly regarded as integral to the Tea Party’s goals.

Romney – more than any other Republican of the last 30 years – needs to pick his Veep in order to demonstrate he understands the need of a strong coalition from different political regions.

Jurisprudence on July 16, 2012 at 2:07 PM

He’s head to head with an incumbent President and a savaging 24/7 media blitz. If you don’t live in a battle ground state- you do not realize how much fire power is being umloaded on Super Mitt at this time.

Turn off MSNBS- Rombo is holding on better than was expected during the primaries. Its Axelfraud and friends who need a turn around guy.

“Paging a Mr. Carville” -”Mr. Carville- to the white courtesy phone, please”

FlaMurph on July 16, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Yep, that’s exactly right, brilliant analysis. They are in shock that the blanket attacks by O’s camp didn’t move the figures one bit in O’s favor, saw all the dim pundits can’t wrap their ead around it…the funniest meme on the left now is ‘let’s wait a few weeks to see if the attacks worked’, it just cracks me up…

jimver on July 16, 2012 at 2:11 PM

He’s head to head with an incumbent President and a savaging 24/7 media blitz. If you don’t live in a battle ground state- you do not realize how much fire power is being umloaded on Super Mitt at this time.

Impression formation–’bracketing’ is what campaign communication directors used to call it–takes time to develop by means of multiple sources. Kerry was also up in the polls in the summer of 2004 even as he got swift-boated. This was alleged to be one of the reasons that he didn’t respond. I personally believe that he didn’t respond because he had no effective response. My hypothesis yet to be tested by facts on the ground is that Romney is in the same position of not having an effective response. The best Romney can bring himself to say is that he is not responsible for the activities of Bain post-1999 when Bain and Romney have already become indissolubly linked in popular perceptions, so when Romney says I am not responsible for Bain he only reinforces the perception of a link. In effect, he repeats the charge even as he makes himself appear weak and ineffectual. He supports the narrative. You have to wonder why no one in Team Romney can figure that out.

casuist on July 16, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Aww, maybe coz they didn’t hire you as a consultant, to psychanalize and proble their messaging and figure the best subliminal undertones that would stick into people’s subconscious…but you can still do it from your armchair, alas, as impotently as it is :)…

jimver on July 16, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Tim Pawlenty is a gutless turd of a RINO who would suck any enthusiasm i have for the election into the void of space.

The guy is a weak kneed, spineless, back bencher who succumbs to liberal peer pressure, then makes pathetic excuses. See global warming.

He is Romney without the good qualities.

I would never give money or volunteer for a Romney/Pawlenty ticket. In fact, i wouldnt even put a sticker on my car with the name Pawlenty on it. He is the worst kind of Republican politician.

Just YUCK!

alecj on July 16, 2012 at 2:38 PM

I don’t know another topic that could create a bigger yawn?
Dr Evil on July 16, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Somewhat related, I watched a Q&A with TPaw when he was running for Governor.
I literally, not figuratively, fell asleep.

eeyore on July 16, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Maybe since he’s in LA this week it’s Jindal.

Philly on July 16, 2012 at 3:30 PM

eeyore on July 16, 2012 at 2:40 PM

If you check out Drudge’s poll results for Romney VP pick: Pawlenty is dead last. Rubio followed by Rice is leading.

New York Times trying to sell democrats on the idea that the Romney campaign isn’t very savvy so they have nothing to worry about? It seems more likely this NYTimes article was targeting democrats not republicans.

Dr Evil on July 16, 2012 at 3:44 PM

I’m rooting for Bobby Jindal, just so that I can watch the birthers’ heads explode.

Shump on July 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Dear Mr Romney,
If you want to pander to the women vote, DO NOT PICK A WOMEN VP.
You will need to pick a handsome man to the VP spot.
Do not, I REPEAT, Do Not pick a vanilla wafer (Mr Polenta) as a running mate.

Yours Truly,
Ask What If

askwhatif on July 16, 2012 at 3:57 PM

If Romney picks Jindal, he’ll be criticized by Liberals of only choosing him to pander to minorities. If he picks Pawlenty, he’ll be criticized by Liberals for choosing a white man.

hadsil on July 16, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Shump on July 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM

True, that would be fun. And then we can play the “Obama isn’t a natural born citizen” card, and somehow SCOTUS looked the other way when the petition challenging Zero’s status crossed their docket.

Philly on July 16, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Precedent

Philly on July 16, 2012 at 4:38 PM

I hope that pic was photoshopped or I may have a bad few months ahead

Pawlenty was a big Greenhouse guy until just recently

For amnesty, NumbersUSA upgraded him to a ‘C’. He is not big on e-verify

If you go back to Hotair 2010 folk were not happy about Pawlenty and McCain’s amnesty scheme. I call it a scheme because it was, and duplicitous too

Pawlenty is being reshaped to have broader appeal and the search engines reveal the movement

If he is picked it will be for the RINOs, although it is possible he will not revert if he gets the job

It would be nice to get a candidate who is fully evolved

Trust, after all

entagor on July 16, 2012 at 5:18 PM

I sure wouldn’t mind if T-Paw is the pick. He was a popular and responsible governor from a state and region that could put this race well out of reach of PBHO if it turns red.

MJBrutus on July 16, 2012 at 5:57 PM

It’s John Bolton.

Deep Timber on July 16, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Why hasn’t Obama made his choice yet? Four years of using a fart machine as a stand-in is long enough.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on July 16, 2012 at 6:03 PM

I just heard he asked Sarah Palin for the VP slot. She declined due to scheduling conflicts.

leftnomore on July 16, 2012 at 6:13 PM

I’m rooting for Bobby Jindal, just so that I can watch the birthers’ heads explode.

Shump on July 16, 2012 at 3:56 PM

You don’t think the democratics will jump into a Jindal/NBC argument with both feet an hour after that announcement?

slickwillie2001 on July 16, 2012 at 6:38 PM

T-Paw’s Got the Personality of a Broken Parking Meter!

Reaganite Republican on July 16, 2012 at 12:12 PM

This just in. Biden just announced that a broken parking meter is right twice a day. In its defense, the parking meter said that’s two more than Plugs. It’s on!

I’d prefer Allen West, who has shown no shyness about taking it to Zero, and would destroy Biden in any debate.

However, if you’re looking for a pick with a built-in slogan, there’s always Herman Cain and “Cain vs. Unable.”

MrKleenexMuscles on July 16, 2012 at 6:39 PM

Pawlenty makes Romney look like Rubio or Reagan.

sDs61678 on July 16, 2012 at 8:12 PM

T-Paw cannot carry any water in the midwest – people in Wisc and Iowa don’t know him and don’t give a crap about him. And he certainly cannot deliver Minnesota. Total waste. Pawlenty may have been a good Governor – talked moderate but governed right – but he is no attack dog and didn’t lift a finger to help Norm Coleman when the Senate election was being stolen in Minn fromthe corrupt Dem SOS.

With Obamacare back on the front burner, Jindal’s stock rises considerably, and he’d make Tea Party enthusiasts happier.

matthew8787 on July 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

The main qualification for VP is that you are eloquent and can argue effectively. The VP’s job is to sell the ticket. But the reason Pawlenty couldn’t get any traction in the nomination fight wasn’t that he was boring as hell, though that didn’t help, but he just can’t talk that good. I’m amazed he made it to the MN governor position.

anotherJoe on July 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

I wouldn’t mind John Bolton at all.

Philly on July 16, 2012 at 9:32 PM

SlickWillie, they will. Take it to the bank. And I can count on the fact that they will insult everyone’s intelligence while they are at it.

Philly on July 16, 2012 at 9:34 PM

This is a frantic and ill-considered attempt by Team Stupid Romney to deflect attention from the line developing in earned and paid media about Romney’s activities at Bain that we were told over and over would be ineffective for some reason.

Wow. Who could have predicted that post-2008 a figure who made ker-zillions in the financial services industry would get caught flat-footed in a national electoral contest? … duh …

It is nice to see yet another voter so enamoured with Romney’s McLame styled campaign. Who would have thunk it?

To the Romney supporters: TYS!

DannoJyd on July 17, 2012 at 3:51 AM

Obligatory “Romney may have already picked his running mate” post of the week

I get it now! Romney is a bloody JOKE!

Thanks, Ed. I already knew that, but I appreciate your highlighting the fact so well here.

BTW, we really cannot blame the 0bamaGanda Media propaganda services for Romney’s lack of messaging.

DannoJyd on July 17, 2012 at 4:17 AM

We already got one boring and uninspiring middle-aged white man on the ticket, why do we need another. Rubio or Jindal, but please, no more milquetoast white guys. If GOP primary voters couldn’t get excited about T-Paw, why should anybody else?

JFS61 on July 17, 2012 at 6:53 AM

I understand Ed’s man-love for T-Paw being from MN and all. But I don’t understand how any reasonable person could think T-Paw can help in the Midwest, MN, or anywhere else. OMG, he couldn’t even help Romney win the MN primary and in Iowa (the mid-west last I checked)he spent millions on a straw poll to finish “no-where in sight”. If this is Romney’s choice we are going down in flames!

jmell7 on July 17, 2012 at 9:42 AM

3 reasons not to make Condi VP: Bush Bush Bush.

3 reasons not to make Pawlenty VP: Obamneycare Obamneycare Obamneycare.

BKennedy on July 17, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Rob Portman.

Among many other very good reasons, the following two should stand out for those who really do want to win this fall.

1) Ohio is a battleground state, and everyone agrees that it will be a necessary building block in the Romney victory, come November.

2) In his several federal races in Ohio over the years — 6 for his House seat, and 1 statewide for the U.S. Senate — not one opponent who he has ever faced broke through the 40% threshold. Not one.

Trochilus on July 17, 2012 at 11:02 AM

We already got one boring and uninspiring middle-aged white man on the ticket, why do we need another. Rubio or Jindal, but please, no more milquetoast white guys. If GOP primary voters couldn’t get excited about T-Paw, why should anybody else?

JFS61 on July 17, 2012 at 6:53 AM

So now Republicans, on a national level, should openly play the identity politics of the other guys?

What a crock!

I might even agree with your conclusion about Tim Pawlenty, but certainly NOT for the reason you have given, i.e., by saying that he is white and boring!

Some people are very good at elective politics, and, by definition, good at garnering a winning percentage of the vote.

Others, not so much.

Rubio is good at it. So is Bobby Jindal. And so is Rob Portman. I happen to like all three of them, but not because of identity politics. This year, I tend to favor Rob Portman for several reasons, not the least of which is his crucial importance to the race in Ohio. But I’d be happy with any one of those three on the ticket.

As for Tim Pawlenty, he is a great guy and I certainly admire him. But he never even got to 50% of the vote in either of his statewide runs for Governor of Minnesota. Sure he won both multi-candidate races, but by very slim margins. And, until MN fixes it’s inherently corrupt election day registration system (by eliminating vouching), it is unlikely that any Republican presidential contender is going to take that state. And, it certainly is not crucial to a Republican win.

Also, I don’t think Condi Rice is a serious contender. She’s never run for anything. It just has never been a part of her career track, and what looks like it may be the most hotly contested Presidential race in our lifetime, is not the appropriate time for OJT! She openly says she does not want it.

If you believe, as your statement above certainly seems to imply, that being a white man makes someone boring and should be a disqualifying characteristic, then why aren’t you a Democrat? Or, maybe you are, and you just don’t know it yet.

Trochilus on July 17, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Picking a running mate for vice president to make such a risky choice in choosing Pawlenty. Obama’s only hope is Romney scewing up his choice running mate.

volsense on July 17, 2012 at 3:51 PM

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