Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential candidate, is reportedly mulling over a surprising move as he names a vice presidential running mate. But don’t expect a repeat of the Sarah Palin move in 2008.
Reuters says Romney is considering announcing his choice early. How early isn’t known, but the announcement could come well before the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa in late August.
Sources told Reuters that one plan under consideration is to announce the pick in early August. The convention starts on August 27. Traditionally, the vice presidential pick is announced just before the convention.
In 2008, John McCain caught media observers and his own party off-guard with his late-in-the-game pick of Palin, who was not on the “short list” of people discussed in the media.
The rest, as they say, is history, as political observers continue to debate’s Palin’s role in the 2008 election.
Romney is expected to play it safer than McCain. Word started leaking out in April that the Romney team was already vetting prospective vice presidential candidates.
According to reports from the Associated Press and Fox Latino, the only requirement from the Romney team was a running mate who was opposed to abortion.
Beyond that, the candidate had to be someone with whom Romney felt comfortable, and someone who would be seen as able to lead if Romney couldn’t during his presidential term.
The latter qualification grew to be a concern with Palin’s campaign.
In a 2008 interview with CNN, former Democratic candidate and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis shed some light on the internal campaign process of picking a vice president.
Dukakis struggled as a presidential candidate in 1988 against George H.W. Bush, but he received high marks for his vice presidential pick, Lloyd Bentsen.
“This is the first real presidential decision you’re making. If you win this person is going to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. And it better be someone who above all is capable in being a first-rate president,” Dukakis said.
Dukakis also said a real problem he faced wasn’t a lack of candidates; it was a surplus of presidential candidates who weren’t interested for personal reasons.
The Dukakis team whittled down their candidates to a short list of four people who were thoroughly researched. That echoes stories from advisers to other presidential campaigns, about how the process works.
But in the Dukakis case, his candidate, Bentsen, did so well that he sometime seemed more presidential than Dukakis.
For Romney, candidates like Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Chris Christie are very charismatic, which could actually be a detriment, in some ways.
The candidate who is currently getting a lot of buzz is Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who is low-key with a long record of service in the federal government.
Ohio is also a key swing state in the election.
Scott Bomboy is the editor-in-chief of Constitution Daily.
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