Eleven months into his bid for the White House, Mitt Romney is no longer getting questions concerning President Obama’s health care plan. This week, the million-dollar question for the GOP candidate seems to be “who wants to be vice president,” and there seem to be many takers. While vice presidential hopefuls of the past seem to have lobbied for the job in a more behind-the-scenes manner, this year’s race has given the public a front-row seat into potential candidates vying to become Romney’s right-hand man or woman.
The 2008 choice of little-known governor Sarah Palin by then-GOP nominee John McCain appeared to be fatal to his campaign for president, as questions and doubt arose concerning Palin’s preparedness for the White House. Four years later, Democrats determined to reelect Obama have pushed to remind voters of McCain’s choice, by publicizing the book and HBO movie, “Game Change,” which chronicles Palin’s attempt as McCain’s running mate.
Regardless of what happened in 2008, Romney’s potential veeps are surfacing in the public arena in all forms.
Last week, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio discussed his foreign policy views at the Brookings Institution. Rubio has been marked with one major advantage: his pull with the Hispanic vote. The senator showed that the position is on his mind with a Freudian slip two weeks ago in an interview with The National Journal. “If in four to five years, if I do a good job as vice president — I’m sorry, as senator — I’ll have the chance to do all sorts of things,” he said.
The following morning, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan gave an address on budget policy at Georgetown University, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is on the road promoting her memoirs. While the former said he’d consider the role, Gov. Haley said her heart remains devoted to the people of her state, and she’d politely refuse the job. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, nicknamed the “Vice-President Vanilla” by Politico, stated last week via the Romney campaign that Obama was coming to his state’s capital to “argue for four more years of the same failed policies.” Portman would give Romney an edge, however, because of his budget experience and the fact that he’s from Ohio, which decided the 2004 presidential race.
Gov. Bob McDonnell has reserved ad time in his state of Virginia, all of which feature his record as governor. McDonnell is term limited and will not be able to run for governor again, and is claiming that he represents a constituency with whom Romney needs help (the South).
With all of these varying choices at hand, Romney will have to decide what exactly he wants in a vice presidential candidate before picking any of the anxiously (and some not so anxiously) waving hands.