"The specter of Sarah Palin does hang over the whole process"

As a running mate, Haley could have the same effect Palin had — a tea party member to rally the base around a moderate whom conservatives were once skeptical of supporting.

Romney’s campaign, however, is not likely to pair the establishment candidate with a running mate who might share Palin’s penchant for “going rogue” and speaking lines that aren’t approved by the party.

“With a national media, they’re going to ask her follow-up questions, which is where Palin fell apart,” said Laura Woliver, a professor of political science and women’s studies at the University of South Carolina. “The other thing is, she won’t help him with the gender gap, just like Palin didn’t help McCain with the gender gap. She has not really worked on women’s issues and has not done much to help women in South Carolina.”

Romney said in a TV interview Tuesday that he isn’t reluctant to pick a woman as his running mate, and that he’s looking for someone who “could lead the country as president if that were necessary.”