Mitt Romney has been frustratingly tight-lipped about his search for a running mate thus far, but his wife isn't as guarded. In an interview with CBS News that was broadcast Thursday, Ann Romney leaked that her husband's campaign is considering choosing a female vice presidential candidate. "We've been looking at that, and I love that option as well," she said. She didn't go into any more detail, but pundits quickly began speculating over whether a female running mate would be a shrewd move. A survey earlier this year showed that President Obama leads Romney among women voters by 16 points, leading some to argue that choosing a woman would do wonders to close that gap. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who just appeared with Romney at a Fourth of July parade, is being pegged as the early frontrunner should Romney go with a female running mate. Would she be a good choice?
Romney has to assure voters that Ayotte isn't Palin: Choosing Kelly Ayotte as his running mate would certainly help Romney secure the female vote, says The Capitol Column, but the campaign needs to tread carefully. "The move would likely remind voters" of McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Romney has been working hard to differentiate his VP search from McCain's in order to reassure voters that the Palin debacle won't be repeated. Ayotte is "a rising star within the Republican Party" and could be a good choice — Romney just needs to be cautious of the message selecting her would send.
"Is Mitt Romney considering Kelly Ayotte as running mate? Ann Romney says it's possible"
Ayotte is good, but not the best choice: Ayotte could be a convincing VP choice, says Elspeth Reeve at The Atlantic. She's from a swing state, is liked by the Tea Party, and has an impressive background as a state attorney general. Yet she's also woefully inexperienced on the national stage, having just been elected to the Senate in 2010. Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who was first elected in 1992, would be the better option, by that metric. Charismatic South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley or New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who is Hispanic and from a swing state, could be strong options as well.
"Romney 'looking at' a woman VP after all"
Don't read too much into this: It's hard to tell whether this is "an honest-to-goodness clue, or just another red herring in the Veep-speculation du jour," says Erika Johnsen at Hot Air. Ayotte and Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers certainly make sense in the conversation, as they've both been "especially staunch surrogates for Romney in the campaign so far." But the fact is, Ann Romney only leaked that her husband is "considering" a woman. Since the campaign is likely seriously vetting a number of people, "a lady may very well be an option as much as anyone else right now."
"Ann Romney: We've been looking at the option of a woman for VP"