Washington has been distracted this week by signs that Mitt Romney is on the verge of announcing his running mate. Longtime Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said Tuesday that the presumed GOP nominee is ready to make his vice presidential pick "any time," and certainly sooner than expected. Romney is reportedly eager to change the conversation after facing the Obama campaign's steady attacks over his tax returns and his record at Bain Capital. Is this the right moment for Romney to unveil a headline-grabbing No. 2 pick?
Romney needs his veep bounce now: History shows that presidential candidates typically get a three-point bounce in the polls when they announce a running mate, says Harry J. Enten at Britain's The Guardian. That would put Romney in front in polls for the first time this year, which "would almost certainly garner good press" — something Romney could use about now to regain momentum, even if it means he has less "good news" to unleash later in the cycle.
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The smart thing is to hold off: Team Romney has diverted attention from Bain by leaking rumors about his veep — well played, says Mark McKinnon at The Daily Beast. "But — and a big but — if Romney pops the VP cork now, there won't be many bubbles left at the GOP convention at the end of August in Tampa. Which means it could fall a bit flat." Whether Romney goes with a safe pick like Sen. Rob Portman or an "earthquake" like Condoleezza Rice, he'll get more bang for his buck if he waits until closer to the convention.
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What Mitt really needs is to go back to the drawing board: Judging by the names reportedly on Romney's short list, says Philip Dine at The Washington Times, he doesn't get that this election hinges on a few key swing states. The leading contenders, such as Portman of Ohio and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, are plenty "smart," but "would add virtually nothing to the rather limited resonance" Romney has with blue-collar conservatives in key industrial states. If Romney wants to win, he'll take a fresh look at his options, and find someone who'll give him "street cred."
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