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Republican Veepstakes: Plain is the new pizzazz

Before you can make even a guess at who former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will pick as his vice presidential running mate, you have to decide what this election is really about.

In this Feb. 20, 2012 file photo, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio talks to reporters in Cincinnati, Ohio. Days into his new role as presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney has initiated a months-long search for a running mate, an effort to be guided as much by his methodical corporate-based approach as the shadows of Sarah Palin. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Is it a referendum on President Obama’s first four years in office? Or is it a choice between the policies and personalities of Romney and Obama?

Democrats generally prefer the latter option. Republicans like the former.

If you buy that basic way of thinking about the race, it makes it more likely that Romney’s main criteria in picking a running mate will be to do no harm, to avoid the public relations debacle that Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) courted when he named former Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick in 2008.

Rather than having his VP pick be a major moment in the campaign, Romney may well want to simply make the pick, have he/she get the requisite two or three days of wall-to-wall media coverage and then disappear back into the fabric of the campaign as Republicans work to shine the spotlight fully on Obama and his record.

That way of thinking seems to have propelled Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s prospects of late. Every one we talk to in DC — literally, everyone — seems to have Portman at or near the top of their Veepstakes list. He is, after all, a former Budget director (albeit during the Bush Administration) and a popular elected official from the swing state of Ohio.

And, most importantly if you believe the theory we laid out above, Portman is relatively short on pizzazz. (Here’s Stephen Colbert’s take on Portman.)

Our latest Veepstakes Line, which ranks

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RobertButler Posted by on Apr 27 2012. Filed under 2012 Presidential Campaign. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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