Reuters: Romney could name VP as early as next week

Emphasis on “could.” They have no inside information that he will, but the circumstances of this campaign are such that it might make sense to do it sooner rather than later.

As they work from a short list of leading Republicans, Romney and his advisers say they are weighing whether he should announce his choice some weeks earlier than the traditional time of around the Republican National Convention, which is to be held in Tampa in late August.

The reasoning, advisers say, is that two candidates would be able to raise more money and engage Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in battle with polls showing Americans closely divided on whether to pick the Republican challenger or Democratic incumbent in the November 6 election…

Romney is to attend the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in London in two weeks in a trip that will also take him to Jerusalem. Should he choose to name his choice early, then he would have next week as an option for a proper rollout, or he could wait until he returns from abroad and announce his pick in early August.

It makes sense to wait and do it right before the convention if you’re leaning towards a charismatic VP whose effect on the ticket will be seen as something of a gamechanger. Christie would be worth waiting for, as would Ryan or Rubio. The announcement would make a splash and those shockwaves would carry over to the convention to make it more of an event. If you’re leaning towards Portman or Pawlenty, though, as Romney almost certainly is, then why wait? Name them now, enjoy a few days of nice buzz during the summer doldrums, and then send them out on the trail to raise money. These campaigns are waging the fundraising equivalent of nuclear war; no sense holding any missiles back if you’re not going to get a dramatic media payoff by waiting until August. And if Romney is thinking of naming someone early, why not name them next week rather than wait until he gets back from vacation? That’s a few weeks wasted where the VP nominee could have held down the fort while Mitt’s abroad. If you’re going to wait until early August, you might as well wait until late August and the convention.

The one wrinkle in all of that: With someone like Ryan, who’ll be attacked viciously by Democrats for his budget if he lands on the ticket, there’s an argument either way as to timing. Would you rather have the Dems pile on now, in hopes that people’s memories will be short and the Mediscaring will fade in their minds by November, or would you rather wait to name Ryan and deny Democrats a target for as long as possible? Ah well: Probably doesn’t matter. From the looks of this ABC article, Portman’s probably a likelier pick.

Exit question: Shouldn’t Mitt think about balancing his stiff persona with a jolt of magic and whimsy? There’s a candidate out there who could provide it, you know.