November 19, 2014

RNC 2018 Straw Poll Lists 33 Possible Candidates

The Republican National Committee recently began an on-line straw poll asking its members which candidate they would like to see. The respondents are to circle any three. The list includes:

  1. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte
  2. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour
  3. Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton
  4. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush
  5. Businessman Herman Cain
  6. Dr. Ben Carson
  7. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  8. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
  9. Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels
  10. Former CEO Carly Fiona
  11. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
  12. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
  13. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
  14. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
  15. Ohio Gov. John Kasich
  16. New York Rep. Peter King
  17. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez
  18. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
  19. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul
  20. Former Rep. Ron Paul
  21. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
  22. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
  23. Texas Gov. Rick Perry
  24. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman
  25. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  26. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
  27. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan
  28. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval
  29. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum
  30. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott
  31. South Dakota Sen. John Thune
  32. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
  33. Former Florida Rep. Allen West

Write-in votes are allowed.

The results have not been published anywhere that I’ve seen, and I don’t particularly wish to sign up just so they can get my email address to spam me. However, if you are inclined to participate, here is the link.

September 20, 2012

Pawlenty to Leave Romney Campaign

In case you missed it, today, Politico reported that Tim Pawlenty has left his position as Romney campaign national co-chair to become the president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, an influential banking lobbying group:

Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who was on the short list of candidates to be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate, will replace Steve Bartlett, who earlier this year announced he was leaving his post as the group’s president and chief executive officer. Bartlett is a former member of Congress and mayor of Dallas.

Pawlenty will earn $1.8 million annually as head of the Roundtable, according to a person with knowledge of the compensation package. Bartlett received $1.8 million in total compensation in 2009, according to the group’s most recent publicly available tax records.

Pawlenty will take over effective Nov. 1.

…Pawlenty said he informed the Romney campaign a “couple of days ago” of his decision and that as a condition for employment at the Roundtable, he has also agreed not to take a position with a possible Romney administration.

This, quite frankly, shocked me, as I had acquiesced to the prevailing opinion that T-Paw had cemented his future in a Romney administration with the loyalty he showed after ending his own campaign.

On another level, I also came away disappointed, for two reasons:

1. Becoming the top lobbyist for one of the public’s most despised industries casts a formidable shadow over Pawlenty’s future prospects for electoral office, as it severely damages the populist credibility that propelled his career.

2. This likely reduces the chances that Mitt will forgo the opportunity to have a “Sister Souljah” moment of his own and campaign on bold financial reform. James Pethokoukis elaborates:

Now I would like to believe Pawlenty is leaving now because Team Romney is about to unveil a dramatic financial reform proposal that his future employer might balk at.

But I doubt it.

I’ve repeatedly talked up the obvious political advantage for Romney of a call to restructure Wall Street. In one fell swoop, Romney would a) distance himself from the Bush presidency, b) demonstrate to skeptical voters that he’s not just representing the interests of elite financiers, c) show he understands that the Great Recession means American needs fundamental change in addition to tax and entitlement reform (neither of which I heard much about at the GOP convention, by the way.)

by @ 8:53 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty

September 3, 2012

Tim Pawlenty — New Secretary of State?

Rumors are starting to fly that Tim Pawlenty is a strong candidate for Hillary Clinton’s current job. From the Daily Caller:

TAMPA, Fla. — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is emerging as an attractive secretary of state option in a Romney administration for conservatives who believe in an assertive American foreign policy.

Pawlenty has displayed a strong interest in foreign policy topics both while he was governor of Minnesota and after. And while people close to Pawlenty say that the governor is not campaigning for the post, he certainly wouldn’t turn it down if offered it.

Phil Musser, a former adviser to Pawlenty, told TheDC his old boss ”is not angling for anything.”

Another former adviser to Pawlenty, who preferred not to be identified, concurred, saying Pawlenty was too modest and loyal to campaign for the position.

But, he added, Pawlenty “is deeply knowledgeable on foreign policy and that kind of Cabinet post would play to his strengths.”…

I have no opinion on the subject other than I know Mitt values competence over practically anything else. Does T-Paw have what it takes to be a great Secretary of State? Are there Republicans out there who could do a better job?

What do you guys think?


by @ 10:16 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty

August 15, 2012

August 12, 2012

The Final Three Were T-Paw, Portman, and Ryan; Rollout Delayed For Sikh Memorial

Politico scores with the first inside baseball versions of the behind-the-scenes Veep selection process. Some highlights:

  • The Romney campaign began with a list of 20 candidates, which seems to be the usual starting point for Presidential campaigns in recent history. The process of whittling down that list of twenty began back in April. Beth Myers started her job on April 16, compiled the list, and then gave it to Governor Romney.
  • On May 1, Romney finalized the first round of cuts and gave a shortened list back to Beth Myers. Romney contacted everyone on the list to see if they were interested in being Vice President. No one said no.
  • By July, Romney had made the second round of cuts to the list, and Beth Myers then prepared more in depth folders on each of the semi-finalists. Romney read through those folders during his overseas trip to London, Israel, and Poland at the end of July.
  • According to some sources, Rubio and Christie made that second-to-final cut, but the final three candidates were Pawlenty, Portman, and Ryan.
  • Romney was “uncharacteristically stressed” as he made the final decision, but on August 1 he convened a meeting in Myers’ office and told ten of his top aides that he chosen Paul Ryan. A meeting for August 5 was arranged for Romney to offer the position to Ryan in person. Ryan accepted.
  • The rollout was originally planned for Friday, August 10 in New Hampshire — which is why the schedule of that day was never made public — but the shooting in Wisconsin forced a change of plans. Ryan needed to attend the memorial service for the victims on Friday, so the campaign pushed the rollout back to the morning of Saturday, August 11.

There you have it. So, that day off back on August 6 was evidently spent planning the new Veep rollout since the original plan had to be scrapped due to the Sikh memorial service. (And I am glad that I read the tea leaves at least partially correctly when I predicted the rollout for Friday the 10th. Heh.) Looks like once again, Pawlenty is stuck holding the “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” card. Someday, I would love to know who the other names on that list of twenty were, and when and how the runners-up were notified.

by @ 12:30 am. Filed under Paul Ryan, Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

August 3, 2012

Paul Ryan: Still the Best Option

These ideas began as a comment on my colleague Matthew Miller’s helpful reminder of Paul Ryan’s sheer brilliance when it comes to philosophical framing of the choice we face this November. I decided to turn it into a full-fledged post, to open up some debate on one of my favorite political topics, the Veepstakes, just ahead of Gov. Romney’s final decision.

Back in April, I advocated Congressman Ryan as Gov. Romney’s best choice for VP. Despite the scuttlebutt that Tim Pawlenty has pulled into a commanding lead on Mitt’s Veep depth chart, I maintain my preference of Ryan (and this comes from someone totally in the tank for T-Paw back during the primary campaign). I also take the view that Ryan would actually help more than Pawlenty among younger voters and moderates, by improving the ticket’s – and the Republican Party’s – brand.

First and foremost, Rep. Ryan would bring enormous intellectual heft to the ticket, as evidenced once again by the videos in the aforementioned Matthew Miller post. I don’t mean this to denigrate T-Paw as an intellectual lightweight, but few, if any, can better articulate the merits of capitalism, free enterprise, and limited government than our dear Budget Committee Chairman. This would go a long way toward changing the perception of the GOP (among young voters, moderates, suburbanites, and other growing demographics) from a rural-dominated group deficient in critical thinking to a liberty-focused, philosophically sophisticated bunch – closer to the positioning the party established during the Reagan years.

Many in Romney’s corner have voiced concern that tapping Ryan would shift the conversation away from the economy and onto his budget proposals. I may stand alone here, but I would welcome this shift if it changed the target of the Democrats’ attacks from Romney’s wealth – their current topic du jour – to entitlement reform. Class warfare is very powerful politically. It plays into voters’ insecurities and jealousies. People can do scary things when their emotions take over. And like it or not, Mitt already struggles with the “empathy” test. That, along with the electoral efficacy of class warfare, largely accounts for why Democrats have trained their fire on Mitt’s wealth so often in the campaign, and they show no signs of discontinuing. If he figures to get attacked for his success, anyway, why not at least strive to extract some benefit from it, by going all-in on long-term, structural budget reform with Rep. Ryan?

And that brings me to my next point: adding a counter-punch to the Romney campaign. Mitt has drawn criticism for relying too heavily on negativity, instead of following up his critiques of the President with proposals of his own. What better way to do that than to add arguably the biggest policy wonk among Republican elected officials in Washington, not to mention one of the most persuasive salesmen of conservative reform? Instead of simply arguing, in effect, “Obama’s policies stink,” Team Romney can go on the offensive with, “Obama’s policies stink, and we can do better. Here’s how.” We must not underestimate the significance of this; voters don’t always just want to vote against someone or something, they prefer to vote for something else, if given the chance. This especially holds true if the person they would have to vote against retains strong popularity on a personal level.

Last but not least, Ryan has spent 13 years in Washington. While that in itself carries some risk, it also means he has forged valuable relationships and connections on the Hill. Recent administrations have demonstrated the advantages of a vice president well-versed in the legislative process. As such, a Vice President Ryan could prove invaluable with spearheading a President Romney’s agenda through Congress. All the executive experience in the world doesn’t matter very much if the president can’t get any legislation passed. Ryan’s ability to help in this realm adds the figurative cherry on top for his case.

In the end, Paul Ryan may not have the greatest chances of getting the eventual nod from Gov. Romney, but when we take a step back and analyze the long-term implications of this campaign, he remains the best option.

August 1, 2012

Down to Two?

Jonathan Karl reports that two of the potential Veeps have been put on “standby” for an announcement.  I’m assuming standby means “don’t plan anything else”.  Given that, who seems to be otherwise occupied?  Well, the Republican Governor’s Association has meetings all this week and Jindal, McDonnell, and Christie are attending.  So they’re out, I suppose?  Curiously, the buzz around Ryan seems to be heating up and Karl reports that Ryan makes the final three (with Portman and Pawlenty).  It seems like we will indeed get our launch prior to the swing-state tour. Who will it be?

Update:  It appears that Romney will be making an appearance at one of these meetings, so perhaps the attendees aren’t quite out of consideration.

by @ 2:48 pm. Filed under Bob McDonnell, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan, Rob Portman, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 31, 2012

VP RUMOR MILL: Romney to Announce VP Aug 10; Major Multi-State Bus Tour Planned for Rollout

Political Ticker reveals some details about an upcoming multi-state bus tour which are being leaked out by the Romney camp — and quotes the source of the leak as saying, “Sounds like VP week…”

On August 11, Romney (and his VP?) will be campaigning in the three largest media markets in Virginia – metro D.C., Richmond, and Norfolk. August 12 takes him through the media markets in North Carolina. August 13 finds him doing a Florida swing through Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami. And tour dates are being added in Ohio – and potentially other states – for the end of the tour.

It sure sounds like a VP rollout to me, as well, and the timing really makes perfect sense. It gives Mitt and his VP two weeks to campaign together, building momentum up to the RNC on August 27. The Romney campaign, for what it’s worth, have confirmed that the leaked schedule is accurate, but are saying only that Romney will be discussing his vision for the economy during the bus tour.

July 30, 2012

Fitting the Veep to the Agenda: Part 2

Last week, I rated Rob Portman and Bobby Jindal in the five categories of Mitt Romney’s economic agenda.  Here’s the second round.  A quick recap of my rating system.

My rating system is pretty simple.  I’ll rate each potential VP on a scale of 1-5 in each category.  A rating of 1 means the VP will hurt the Romney narrative in this category; a rating of 2 means the VP will neither hurt nor help, etc.

Now how am I determining what constitutes a 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5?  Roughly but, I think, reasonably.  A rating of 3 indicates the VP has meaningfully dealt with this issue but it hasn’t been a focus of his career.  So, for instance, a generic governor would receive a 3 for the “balanced budget” issue.  All governors balance budgets, but most are constitutionally required to do so, diminishing the accomplishment.  A rating of 4 indicates the VP has made the issue a key goal in his career but hasn’t necessarily accomplished much of significance.  Someone like Chris Christie might receive a 4 for the “economic freedom” plank, due to his prominent- but somewhat unsuccessful- push to lower NJ taxes.  A rating of 5 indicates the VP has made the issue a key goal in his career and has major accomplishments towards that goal.  A Condoleeza Rice might warrant a 5 in the “trade” plank, due to her work as Secretary of State.

First up, Tim Pawlenty

Energy (3)-   In some ways, Pawlenty seems a particularly bad fit for this category, given that his one great foray into energy policy- cap and trade- is also his one great conservative heresy.  That said, this is a general election.  Romney’s focus on energy policy might be aided by a VP who’s been favorable to something other than oil and gas.  It’s an “all-of-the-above” strategy, after all.  Pawlenty may hurt with conservatives but could plausibly, on the margins, enhance Romney’s appeal to indies. 

Trade (2)-  Lots of trade missions as Governor, but no one who’s only served as a state official can seriously enhance Romney’s ability to pitch trade policy.

Balanced Budget (3)– The same deal with Jindal: as a Governor, he’s balanced budgets, and he favors a balanced budget amendment, but he hasn’t been a particular leader on this issue.

Education/Workforce Training (4)–  Pawlenty rather notably spared K-12 education funding during his budget trimming in Minnesota.  It’s fair to say he made education a priority.  He’s talked, in the past, about the inefficient 1950s education model,  and promoted choice and innovation.  That said, he had limited success implementing this agenda.

Economic Freedom (4)- Pawlenty held the line on taxes in Minnesota but notably failed to pass any of his proposed major tax cuts.  Additionally, he managed small, but meaningful reforms on health care, such as implementing a rating system which allows potential customers to compare price and quality.

Total Score: 16/25

Next up, Paul Ryan:

Energy (3)– There’s little in the record to suggest Ryan has any affinity for energy policy.  His sponsored bills deal with other issues.  That said, the Path to Prosperity covers this issue, bumping him up from a two.

Trade (4)–  He gets to three simply by virtue of being a 7-term congressman (i.e, a national politician).  Again, the Path to Prosperity brings him up another notch.

Balanced Budget (4)–  On the merits, Ryan deserves a 5 here, having done more than any other politician to bring the national budget attention.  Also, he’s the budget committee chair.  But he suffers in the same way that Portman suffers- his connection with the budget isn’t an unalloyed good.  He’d help Romney make the case for a balanced budget, but he’d give Obama a larger target.

Education/Workforce Training (5)–  The Path to Prosperity is shot through with detail about reforming the social safety net.  Of note: Ryan’s proposal (embraced by Romney) to convert workforce training programs into education scholarships.  This aspect of the Ryan budget is not particularly controversial and his expertise here is purely positive.

Economic Freedom (5)–  If I could give out 10s, Ryan would merit one.  The record speaks for itself.  He has spent the better part of a decade making the case for a fundamentally more market-oriented society, while preserving- but modernizing- the social safety net.  Outside of another Paul (Ron), no politician in America is most easily associated with the concept of economic freedom.

Total Score:  21/25

by @ 10:48 am. Filed under Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 23, 2012

Veepstakes: HotAir Interviews Gov. Pawlenty

Ed Morrissey of HotAir interviews Tim Pawlenty:

As to the question of the hour, Ed quotes TPaw on the subject:

Of course, Pawlenty has drawn a lot speculation about his own chances to join the ticket, but he reminds me that he was “on the short list” four years ago, too.  For now, he’s happy to make appearances and campaign for Romney as a volunteer.  “I think I can help him best in other ways,” Pawlenty told me, “but obviously, anybody would be honored to be asked to consider serving in such a position.”

by @ 1:54 pm. Filed under Media Interviews, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 22, 2012

A Book Intended To Be Better Than Expected

Books by politicians who are running for president are usually  most notable for what they do not tell you. After all, the purpose of these books is not genuine autobiography, nor even complete biography. Their purpose is to convey an image of the author and presidential wannabe so that the whole effort will serve to enhance  his or her campaign for the highest office in the nation.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s contribution to this modern American genre is, in most ways, no different from those of his predecessors or current rivals. “Courage To Stand” (written in 2011) is short and panoramic in its sweep of the author’s childhood and life in politics, and predictably selective in what it chooses to tell us. This is not a criticism, of course, it is simply the nature of presidential campaign autobiography. There are some surprises, however, most notably Mr. Pawlenty’s frequent mention of his religious beliefs and their role of in his adult life.

Those who know Mr. Pawlenty may be surprised by this because he is not someone who usually publicly wears his religious beliefs on his sleeve. It is well-known that he converted from Catholic to evangelical Protestant soon after, and primarily because of, his marriage to his wife Mary, but his public speeches, and at least the private conversations I have observed over 20 years, do not more than hint at his private religious feelings.

I don’t doubt that what he writes is sincere, but some skeptics might suggest that he expressed it so often in his book because the first big electoral test of the presidential campaign occured in Iowa whose Republicans are known for their conservative Protestant views.  Because he is from the adjoining state of Minnesota, expectations were high he would do very well in Iowa, where in 2008 Mike Huckabee won the caucus and Mitt Romney came in second. Huckabee did not run this time, but Romney did.  Further complicating Pawlenty’s chances in Iowa, so did Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. In the Iowa Straw Poll, a year before the GOP national convention, Pawlenty campaigned all out, and was beaten by Mrs. Bachmann. He almost immediately withdrew from the presidential race, surprising even his closest advisors.

Not only did Pawlenty then quickly fade from national view, interest in his autobiography became virtually nil. Almost a year later, however, Pawlenty has reappeared on the national stage as a loyal surrogate for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney. In this role, also fulfilled by several other Republicans, Pawlenty quickly became prominently mentioned as a possible vice presidential choice. (In 2008, Pawlenty also was a major contender to be John McCain’s running mate, and was a finalist, only to have Mr. McCain ultimately choose Sarah Palin.)

As matters now stand, Tim Pawlenty has become the frontrunner  in the speculation about Mitt Romney’s choice for a running mate. According to reports, the Pawlenty family and the Romney family have “bonded” in the course of these surrogate speaking appearances and after several personal meetings. The rationale of a Pawlenty choice, it turns out, can be gleaned from the former Minnesota governor’s autobiography, so recently put on back shelves.

Pawlenty tells a classical midwestern story of rising from a working class background, being the first in his family to go to college, and employing his family values and circumstances to rise to be a conservative governor in a state usually known as traditionally liberal, having put Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and now, the liberal comedian Al Franken, on the national political scene.

Pawlenty’s narrative centers around his childhood growing up in South St. Paul, a suburban Twin City community whose main fame was because it was the location of the largest stockyards. in the U.S. His story centers on his relationships with family and neighbors here, including a traumatic loss of his mother when he was only 10.

What emerges in Pawlenty’s account is a smart boy growing up in ordinary circumstances surrounded by persons with small town working class values. There is a gentlemanly and decent impression Pawlenty the politician has always broadcast, and its origins fill the pages of this short book.

It is the stark contrast between this story and the more dramatic and affliuent details of Mitt Romney’s childhood as the son of a famous father, that many are citing as reasons Pawlenty is a serious possibility for the vice presidential nomination.

When “Courage To Stand” was written, it was meant to introduce a little-known midwestern governor running for president to the voters of his party. When he withdrew prematurely from the race, the book inevitably faded from view.

It is only a matter of days or weeks before Mr. Romney will make his choice known. If it is Mr. Pawlenty he chooses. I can safely predict that the remainder copies of the Minnesotan’s autobiography will soon be back in demand.


-Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman.  All rights reserved. Please visit Mr. Cassleman’s personal site

by @ 9:21 pm. Filed under Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 19, 2012

NRO Veep Finalists Poll

Yesterday, National Review conducted a VP poll of the four men who most frequently turn up on alleged Veep shortlists: Tim Pawlenty, Rob Portman, Bobby Jindal, and Paul Ryan.  They had nearly 16k respondents.  The results?

Paul Ryan: 54%

Bobby Jindal: 28%

Rob Portman: 10%

Tim Pawlenty: 7%


Now, obviously this excluded at least one very popular potential Veep (Rubio).   Still, it’s another data point.

by @ 2:21 pm. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 18, 2012

Pawlenty Makes the Case for his Selection as Veep

Apparently, it involves taking his shirt off (a least I hope it’s his shirt…):

Hat-Tip: Hot Air

by @ 9:54 pm. Filed under Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

VP RUMOR MILL: Pawlenty’s Website Taken Down for Updating

Well, this is certainly interesting…

Visitors to this week only found a white screen with the message “Please come back later.” Maybe Pawlenty is relaunching his website? Or maybe the Romney camp has taken over and is rebranding it?

In this day and age, reading tea leaves has gone digital. It may be nothing – but then again, why else would Pawlenty completely take down his website and leave the tantalizing “Please come back later” up as a teaser?

Maybe the site goes live on Friday with the big “America’s Comeback Team” branding…?

by @ 10:13 am. Filed under Rumor Mill, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 17, 2012

Race42012 VP Survey

Let’s hear your opinions!  We want to know who you would pick for VP running mate if you were Romney, who you think Romney will actually pick, what your reasoning is behind why Romney will or won’t pick the individuals whose names have been floated, and when you think Romney will announce his decision.

1). I would pick:

Rand Paul.  Intelligent, articulate, principled, and eager, Rand Paul would show the small government base of the conservative movement that Romney is serious about being something better than another in the Bush-Obama continuum.  Rand Paul would help shore up a little bit of the Ron Paul contingent and might even sway some of those Gary Johnson voters (who might be eating into Romney’s support in the Mountain West).  Romney won’t pick Rand Paul, of course, because of the ideological differences on many issues, but Paul would be my pick.

2). I think Romney will actually pick:

Marco Rubio.  Young, articulate, conservative, and Hispanic.  Rubio’s minority status will energize Republican voters and help Team Romney not be seen as the club of old, rich, white men.  He’s a great debater, and would slaughter Biden in a head-to-head.  He has a clean record, and is not prone to gaffes.  He gives Romney a little Washington insider knowledge, and also could help solidify the important swing state of Florida, as well as helping Romney pick up Hispanic voters in other swing states like New Mexico and Colorado.

3). Why Romney won’t pick the other guys:

Tim Pawlenty.  Pawlenty is an artful surrogate on the trail, but never really shined in the debates.  As another Governor, he could re-inforce Romney’s executive experience, but that doesn’t really need much more re-inforcing.  Having Pawlenty on the ticket probably won’t flip Minnesota, or any other state.

Rob Portman.  Portman is a smart and effective Senator, but doesn’t really add any wow or excitement to the ticket.  Sure, Romney is a level-headed businessman who is trying to pick the best person for the job, not a celebrity sideshow, but Romney is also a shrewd politician, and he knows that the base is not thrilled with him.  He needs someone competent, but energizing, and Portman just doesn’t really offer the latter quality.

Condoleezza Rice.  As a Bush administration official, someone who is pro-choice, someone who has never actually run for electoral office herself, and someone who flat-out has no desire to be the running mate, she’s a no go.

Paul Ryan.  Ryan would be a smart choice, as he is articulate and would help shore up optimism amongst the small government, Tea Party type crowd.  Ryan puts forth some bold, positive, substantive plans, and can hardly be accused of simply being a Republican naysayer.  He’d demolish Biden in a debate, but much of the rationale for a Ryan VP is the same rationale for a Rubio VP.  If Romney is going to pick a Ryan type, he’s going to go big and just pick Rubio.

Chris Christie.  Christie is sharp, quick, and popular in his home state.  However, as cruel as it may sound, having a guy who instituted universal health care in Massachusetts and an obese individual, as the standard bearers against Obama’s health care law…well…it’s just bad imagery.  Plus, the general consensus is that Christie is doing great things for New Jersey, and New Jersey needs him more than the nation does right now.

Bobby Jindal.  Jindal is a much more likely pick than he’s being given credit for, I believe.  If Rubio is not the pick, it may very well be Jindal.  As another young racial minority, he too helps dispel the rich, old, white guy imagery.  But like Pawlenty, as another executive, he doesn’t really round out the ticket much, and he doesn’t quite fire up the base with his oratory like Rubio does.  Furthermore, he seems rather busy with Louisiana at the moment.

4). Romney will most likely announce his decision:

August 14th.  I think Romney is a cautious man, and wants the maximum amount of time necessary to vet his running mate options.  He also wants to give the opposition very little time to dig up dirt on his ultimate selection.  Delaying his announcement until after the Olympics are over, and just two weeks before the Convention, seems the most sensible thing to do, as the excitement of the announcement will begin to fade just as the Convention comes along to boost it up again.

What are your opinions?

by @ 5:48 am. Filed under 2012 Misc., Chris Christie, Gary Johnson, Mitt Romney, Predictions, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 4, 2012


The Hill reports that Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal will be stumping for Romney in Pennsylvania and Ohio as a counterweight to Obama’s bus tour:

 The two Romney surrogates will hit the battleground states on the same days that Obama launches his first campaign bus tour of the year through those swing states…

A Romney campaign official said Jindal and Pawlenty would be in “several of the same areas” as the president “to make sure the Romney message gets out.”

What to make of this pairing of Pawlenty and Jindal?  Pawlenty is practically Romney’s most frequent surrogate; Jindal has never appeared with Romney anywhere.  Pawlenty has obvious appeal in Rust Belt states; Jindal’s appeal is less obvious.  It seems strange to pair the two for anything, at this stage, let alone a major campaign swing.  I haven’t put much stock in the Eagle’s rumblings but this seems awfully coincidental.  If Pawlenty and Jindal are the finalists, it makes sense to have them “squaring off” and a busy 4th of July weekend would camouflage the significance.

Although I’m happy to finally see some sign that Team Romney is aware of Jindal’s existence, I’m not sure how I feel about this theory.  Jindal has never stumped for Romney before.  It would be more than passing strange to expect him to engage in a high-stakes tryout now.  It’d be like giving a great minor league prospect his first at-bat in game seven of the World Series.    At any rate, it may be worth watching some of these events.  Oh, and Happy Independence Day!

by @ 9:13 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

July 2, 2012

VP Ideological Rankings

Chris Moody of Yahoo helpfully digs up the ideological rankings of some of Romney’s top potential running-mates.  You should read the whole thing but I’m going to highlight two rankings- National Journal’s and the Club for Growth’s- and list each person’s standing within the caucus (those with higher percentiles are more conservative).  Note: these are last year’s rankings.

National Journal:

Kelly Ayotte: 17th most conservative Senator (64th percentile within caucus)

Rob Portman: 35th most conservative Senator (25th percentile within caucus)

Marco Rubio: 13th most conservative Senator (72nd percentile within caucus)

Paul Ryan: 150th most conservative House member (38th percentile within caucus)

John Thune: 24th most conservative Senator (49th percentile within caucus)


Club for Growth:

Kelly Ayotte: 8th most conservative Senator (17th percentile within caucus)

Rob Portman: 29th most conservative Senator (38th percentile within caucus)

Marco Rubio: 10th most conservative Senator (79th percentile within caucus)

Paul Ryan: 101st most conservative House member (58th percentile within caucus)

John Thune: 20th most conservative Senator (57th percentile within caucus)

There’s also a little bit of info about the Governor’s under consideration- Jindal and Pawlenty primarily- but, generally, Governor’s receive fewer grades: basically, CATO is the only game in town.  Jindal and Pawlenty scored 2nd and 3rd in the last CATO rankings, both receiving A’s.


by @ 11:52 am. Filed under Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

June 24, 2012

BREAKING: T-Paw for VP? Not according to Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty today to when asked if he’ll be on the Romney ticket this fall:  “[Pawlenty has] encouraged people who asked this question in the campaign to look at other prospects.” Here’s the full article from the AP:

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (puh-LEN’-tee) says he’s told Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign to look elsewhere for a running mate.

Pawlenty, who competed briefly last year for the GOP nomination before dropping out and endorsing Romney, says he thinks he could serve the Republican ticket better in other ways.

Pawlenty says being asked to run as vice president with Romney would be an honor.

But Pawlenty tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he’s “encouraged people who asked this question in the campaign to look at other prospects.”

by @ 12:59 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

June 21, 2012

In Defense of a Pawlenty Veep Pick

With rumors abounding that Gov. Romney may be seriously considering selecting former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty as his running mate this fall, conservatives at the grassroots seem to reacting with something less than unbridled enthusiasm at the prospect of the mild-mannered Minnesotan joining the ticket. My view, however, is that given the manner in which the general election is unfolding, Gov. Pawlenty may actually be the perfect pick for Gov. Romney, as a non-threatening evangelical with blue collar roots, Midwestern street cred, and absolutely no baggage.

It is often said that the first rule of selecting a running mate is that the potential veep must “do no harm” to the ticket. Not only does Gov. Pawlenty pass that test, he passes it with flying colors. Pawlenty may be the one prospective veep pick who would give the Democrats no additional line of attack against Gov. Romney, and who would actually mitigate several existing lines of attack, especially those on Romney’s seeming aloof demeanor and affluent upbringing. Pawlenty, a hockey dad who grew up in a working class Midwestern family, is the epitome of a man of the people. Unlike, say, Rob Portman, a Pawlenty selection doesn’t double-down on the “buttoned-up bean-counter” image that is already projected by Gov. Romney. Nor does Pawlenty have ties to the much loathed Bush Administration, as does Portman.

Indeed, each prospective Romney veep aside from Pawlenty gives Democrats something to pounce on. With Rubio, it would be a dearth of experience. With Christie, it would be his brusque personality. With McDonnell, the conversation would turn to forced transvaginal ultrasounds. Supporters of these and other potential veeps suggest that these issues could be “framed correctly” so as not to harm the ticket. But with Pawlenty, no framing is necessary, because there is no ding on his record that requires such framing. Pawlenty is ready to go from Day One.

Further, Gov. Pawlenty emanates from the right demographic groups, and the right region, to help Gov. Romney win this election in the only place he can win it — among working class whites in the swing states of the North. This strategy is admittedly a controversial one, as many observers are likely pining for Gov. Romney to take a more traditional tack of attempting to win this election via the “Bush states” of the Southeast and the Southwest, going wobbly on immigration to win Hispanics and hoping that the election can be won south of the Ohio River and west of the Missouri River.

But the polling doesn’t bear out that vision for the coming election. Of the red states won by Obama in 2008, Indiana, Florida, and North Carolina appear to be coming safely back into the GOP fold, while Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico stubbornly refuse to produce polls favorable to Gov. Romney. Meanwhile, Ohio and Iowa seem to be moving into a lean Romney position at the moment, while Michigan and Wisconsin are now in the toss-up category if recent polling is to be believed. That makes a Romney victory that runs through the Midwest a distinct possibility, and perhaps even more probable than the Sunbelt Republican victories that President Bush delivered during the 2000s.

Bush, a product of the culture of Texas, understood how to craft a coalition of Southerners, evangelicals, and Hispanics due to his familiarity with those very demographic groups while winning elections in his own home state. Romney, a Yankee through and through, should not be expected to replicate the coalition of the last Republican president, but should be invited to form his own. Romney’s ties to states like Massachusetts and Michigan, the latter of which his father once governed, give Romney an understanding of the sensibilities of the sorts of swing voters in the Northern suburbs that elected Scott Walker. But what Romney is missing is an understanding of what motivates the working class segment of the Northern swing vote, particularly the white ethnics of the Rust Belt, the original Reagan Democrats. These voters have historical ties to a manufacturing economy, and tend to be older, whiter, and more culturally conservative than the swing voters in the Southwest and Northern Virginia. If Romney is going to close the deal in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa, Romney needs a veep whose cultural cues and body language will connect with these voters. Pawlenty, with his Polish heritage and his regional Upper Midwestern accent and his regular guy schtick, which comes off as natural, and not gimmickry, would likely help Romney on the margins in 4 or 5 states where the margins might mean the presidency.

Finally, a Pawlenty nomination for vice president means that, outside of the aforementioned assistance Pawlenty would give the ticket among specific pockets of voters, the focus of the election will remain on the economy and on the president’s job performance. This is important, because as the national polls indicate, Gov. Romney can at least tie the president, if not beat him outright, if the election remains framed as it is currently, a referendum on President Obama’s leadership and stewardship of the economy. A veep selection that aims to “shake things up” or “change the game” is the sort of selection that is made when a candidate is 10 points down, not when the candidate is tied with his opponent, and even sometimes beating his opponent in the polls. Changing the game with an “exciting” veep pick means taking the focus off of President Obama and the economy. That’s exactly what Gov. Romney does not want to do.

I suspect that the reason that many conservatives prefer that Gov. Romney select a larger-than-life veep has a lot to do with the uneasiness of the base at an election that seems to be moving away from a race about competing visions for America and that seems to be more about a practical look at the economy and President Obama’s inability to turn the economy around. This is not the race that many Republicans wanted to run, especially those who are most active and who really wanted a big picture, ideological debate over the direction of the country that didn’t simply hinge on the unemployment rate. That’s why so many folks are pining for a Paul Ryan or a Scott Walker veep pick, or a Rubio, a Christie, or even Sarah Palin 2.0, tanned, rested, and ready.

But I would argue that a larger-than-life veep pick would be disastrous for the Romney ticket, as it would make the election about the vice presidential nominee, and no longer about President Obama. Moreover, the vice presidential nominee would then be in the precarious position of overshadowing Gov. Romney while being unable to deviate from the Romney message. To put it another way, Paul Ryan is not the sort of fellow who can “lead from behind” with his bold economic prescriptions. If folks wanted this election to be about the Paul Ryan message, they should have convinced Paul Ryan to run for president. As it is, the GOP has its presidential nominee, and the vice presidential nominee’s job is to fill out the ticket, not completely remake it because conservatives didn’t get their way during primary season.

Given all of these considerations, I believe that Gov. Pawlenty would make a fine addition to the GOP ticket this year, and I am hopeful that Gov. Romney will give his friend and supporter from Minnesota ample consideration when making a call that only Gov. Romney can make.

by @ 8:33 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty

June 20, 2012

No One Knows, NO ONE

As soon as Mitt Romney had clinched the Republican nomination for president several weeks ago, I wrote a column with my own list of prominent persons who might be considered for vice president. I have been observing and writing for presidential politics long enough to know it was no more that. My list included Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Governor Robert McDonnell of Virginia, and Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico. Soon after that, more lists appeared, many of them including other names. The person I have thought to be the most likely choice, Senator Portman, has appeared on virtually every list, and seems to be the first choice of several observers.

Speculation about a vice presidential choice is one of the most inevitable, and least useful, aspects of a presidential campaign. With the exception of 1956 Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson, only the nominee makes the choice after a highly confidential vetting process (a process heightened after 1972 Democratic nominee Geroge McGovern’s initial choice had to resign from the ticket after public disclosures about his health).  I say “least useful” because so much that is written and said about who will be chosen before the choice is announced is wrong.

Already, we read published speculations that former Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota is the new frontrunner, if not the certain choice, to be picked by
2012 presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. Senator Portman, these speculations also say, has been eliminated from consideration. Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, it is also said, is the second choice, and Governor McDonnell has also been taken off the list. The basis for most of these speculations is that certain politicians have “bonded” with Mr. Romney, and others have not.

It appears, however, that the vetting process has only begun, and that Mr. Romney is only now becoming better acquainted with the men and women he might choose.

Publications and networks, most of which have been hostile to the Republican cause, are breathlessly reporting “unnamed sources” with inside information about who is in and who is out. A recent such report, allegedly from high sources in the Romney campaign, stated that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and a major Romney ally, was not being vetted. Mr. Romney, on the campaign trail, promptly refuted the report, stating that Mr. Rubio was being fully vetted.

My rule of thumb is that ANY report before the official announcement, no matter how high (always anonymous) the sources from which it came, is to be viewed with considerable skepticism. Ninety-plua per cent of such reports, to be blunt, are false. (And those that are true are lucky guesses.)

Only one person knows who the nominee will be (Mr. Romney) and only one other person (Beth Myers, who he placed in charge of the nomination vetting process) knows fully who is being vetted, who is not, and the status of that process. As the date of the announcement approaches, more facts may be known, but the final choice will be a very tightly kept secret. The whole purpose of drawing out the process, other than the practical efficacy of the vetting, is to create suspense, and maintain news interest in the campaign. It is unlikely the final choice will be announced any time soon.

A lot of folks with various connections to the Romney campaign, to the Republican Party, and even to Mr. Romney personally, will be tempted to
parade their self-importance (hiding behind anonymity) to members of the news media by “leaking inside information.” And virtually everyone (myself included) will indulge in speculation about who the final choice will be.

But only Mitt Romney and Beth Myers will really know the facts, and they won’t be revealing anything until the final choice is made.

A little anecdote from the 2008 campaign: I was told by VERY HIGH sources the day before Senator John McCain was to make his vice presidential choice known that it would be then Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Living in Minneapolis, I drove over to the governor’s residence in St. Paul that evening to see if the secret service were now protecting the residence, as they would have to do if Mr. Pawlenty had been chosen. No secret service were visible. In fact, they WERE quite visible that night accompanying Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska (who had been chosen.)

Mr. Pawlenty might be chosen this time, or it might be Mr Portman. It might be someone else. But no one knows who it will be now, and until a few hours before the announcement, no one but Mitt Romney will know.

You don’t have to wait for the fat lady to sing, but it will be a good idea to watch for which vice presidential hopeful is suddenly joined by a small horde of figures with little devices in their ears.


-Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman.  All rights reserved. Please visit Mr. Casselman’s personal site

June 19, 2012

Romney Adviser Confirms, Rubio Not Being Vetted at this Time

Plus, is it already down to Pawlenty vs. Portman?

FRANKENMUTH, Mich. — Mitt Romney’s vice presidential search team is not seriously vetting Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), one of the Republican Party’s brightest young stars, as the all-but-certain GOP nominee increasingly gravitates toward more experienced but less charismatic leaders as a potential running mate.

ABC News first reported Tuesday morning that Romney’s campaign had not asked Rubio to complete a questionnaire or submit any personal financial documents, which one outside Romney adviser confirmed to The Washington Post on Tuesday. The adviser left open the possibility that Romney officials could decide to thoroughly vet Rubio at a later date.

Another Romney adviser who works directly on the campaign said that Romney officials conducted a preliminary review of Rubio, mostly reviewing documents, statements and news reports that are publicly available. The team did a similar public vetting with a large number of other candidates before whittling down to a short list for a more thorough investigation.

Other vice presidential candidates, including Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, are undergoing a more intensive review, according to two Republicans close to the campaign.

Full story at The Washington Post. Hat-tip to The Argo Journal.

by @ 3:40 pm. Filed under Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

The Race 4 2012 Rumor Mill – Final 2012 GOP Veepstakes Edition!

Over the course of the last 7 weeks, I have been blessed by the kindness of Kavon to be given the opportunity to bring you the “Buzz before the Buzz” regarding who will be Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential selection. When I wrote my first Rumor Mill article 8 weeks ago, I had no idea how much information I would be able to report to you regarding this process.

I have  truly enjoyed the VP parlor game: all the head fakes, all the intrigue, and all the debate regarding who should be selected as VP. I have also really enjoyed my talks with “The Eagle”, and I hope that you all have enjoyed these interviews as well, for it was my intention to provide insight into the thinking of those who comprise the “GOP Establishment” through the eyes and ears of someone in the position to know such as “The Eagle.”

This will be the last Rumor Mill Veepstakes edition because my work is done (although I have many other items which I will discuss in the near future, such as the rumored “Mitt’s Grand Bargain” and some good stuff on the Kaine vs. Allen – Virginia Senate race). At this point The Rumor Mill is going dark on the 2012 GOP Veepstakes. I believe I have established a good track on where this is all going based upon the latest rumor/information given to us by “The Eagle” within the last 48 hours.

You may think it foolish to make a final call on who Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential selection is going to be on June 19th. Perhaps you are correct. But since The Rumor Mill strives to provide the “Buzz before the Buzz”, we can’t just ignore the rumor/information we have been given just based upon a date on the calendar.

I am ready to make the call, so again grab your favorite beverage and take a deep breath and enjoy…

“The Eagle” predicts that Mitt Romney’s selection for Vice President will likely be former Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty.

Here is the transcript of my latest interview with “The Eagle”;

Greg: Now that you have made your final call, tell us what made you make this decision of Pawlenty being the VP selection on June 16th. Did you come across new information that convinced you it’s going to be Pawlenty, or was it by process of elimination, or a bit of both?

The Eagle: I would say it’s about 90/10. 90% of it being new information, tied together with what we already knew. The new information is a bit sensitive, so I’m going to be careful here, gonna be a little soft with the description of it. The thing is, well, how do I say? Let me say this, in this way. There is like two rings around Pawlenty, two rings of people. There is the first ring, the ring that holds his people, truly his people. The guys who have worked for him, and will in the future.

Then there is the 2nd ring of people around Pawlenty, these people are the ones I (redacted). The first ring have not said a word, not here in Minnesota, and not to any “paper guys” (the press). But of course, the 2nd ring of people are gabbing it up. But what do they know, right? Well, they do know what was told to them by the first ring before, well, before this got serious (the vettting process).

Now this it, this is what was told. Tim wasn’t going to go through this again (the VP vettting process) not without some sort of out-card from Boston. What I mean is, Tim did not want to be pushed into the vortex of the process and come up short, and to be seen to come up short. Tim needed an out card, and assurance from Boston that he would be cut with a soft landing. After talking with a couple of people about this, we pretty much have some to the conclusion that Tim was given the out-card and the card would be that Boston would announce a different job for [him] before it got to be seen [that he] was close to being [put] on the short list. Now, it’s too late in the game for all of that man. Now it’s perceived from everyone that Tim could be in the last 3 or 4.

An announcement from Boston that Tim is going to be doing something else won’t work now, it would be considered by me and everyone that Tim came up short again. I thought it was totally possible that Mitt & Tim decided he wouldn’t be vetted when Tim was saying to the Press, “cross me off the list”. But now that can’t be anymore. I’m not saying that Tim has been assured he is the guy, no that’s not it. But I do think Tim knows he is in the final 2 or 3 because he wouldn’t be going through with this. Many people I’ve talked to, and these people are from outside the state, are convinced Tim was talked into the vetting process. My calls that are coming into me from other people are many times more than my calls outbound, you know what I mean? People who I have known for years are calling me saying they think it’s Tim.

Now there is another thing that has been put up by 2nd ring people and this is a bit on the sensitive side. So I’m not going to spend much time on this, going to be careful, alright. Tim is a lot like Rubio when it comes to needing money. Rubio has like student loans up the whazoo and has a house that is under water, or something like that. Tim needs to work so he has been jumping on these Corporate Boards. Now these Boards are easy to get off if need be, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about Mary (Mary Pawlenty).

You see, here is the deal. Everyone (2nd ring) has been watching Mary to see what she is doing. You see Mary can pull down great money, but it would mean she needs to get all up into something that she would struggle getting out of quickly (Mary was a District Judge.) Mary has stayed, well, has kept her ability to move to DC, to put it in a way. This has been a signal to many here (2nd ring-Minnesota) that Tim is being considered seriously, like he has a real shot, more than a real shot. But that’s all I’m going to say on the Mary thing.

Now here is the thing. There is only so many hours that Boston has before election night. They have lots of resources but only so many hours, days before the election, you know what I mean? Look at where and how they are spending their time. Mitt has spent his first swing, tour, whatever you want to call it in PA, NH, IA, MI, OH & WI. Those are Northern states, all of them. But look more closely and you will see that all the counties that Mitt will go to in this swing are blue counties, all of them went to Obama narrowly. Mitt is attacking the slightly blue regions of rural, Northern counties. What does that tell you? Mitt’s internals see beautiful things in Rock County (WI) and the others (Counties). Mitt needs to spend no time in regions of Red (GOP counties). So Mitt’s campaign is all about targeting these Northern democratic counties that are starting to not only walk away from Obama, but to run away. Mitt’s team knows what they are doing. They see their internals, they see great weakness in Obama in these counties. Who helps in these counties?

Christie? Yes, but where was Christie? He wasn’t in PA was he? Yeah, that whole thing went south about 4 weeks ago. Sorry dude, it just did. Who else helps in these counties? Who for sure helps? Ryan? Yep. Portman?.. maybe. But I said earlier, Portman is not a Romney guy. Portman will not be selected. That bubble has been pricked. Does Jindal help in the counties I’m talking about. Yes, I think he does actually. We will get to Jindal later. But he comes 2nd in this process. That is my call. Does Rubio help in Rock County? That is a tougher one. But Tim does help. Tim does not scare off the Suburban voters of the North, and he is well liked by rural voters. Tim is a 2nd term Governor of Minnesota, blue, blue, blue.

OK, now let’s move away from that. How important was it that Tim was put into the bus (the Romney swing state tour)? Was it really that important that Tim spoke for Mitt in NH & PA? No, not really. But what gets to me is how closed lipped Tim’s people are in all of this. Tim had some staff with him. They were with him in both states. That says something right there. Now I know I’m going all over the place with these comments so I’m sorry none of this makes sense. There is another thing that plays right into Tim becoming the VP selection. Tim is not a Governor right now. He does not bring the worries to Boston that a Bobby or Chris (Christie) would give. Christie is in a tight budget battle, and Bobby, well, everything is cool, but you never know. Mitt likes certainty. Tim gives him that.

Ok, here is the thing. Again, there are only so many hours, that is the one resource you can’t increase. Boston is way ahead of schedule on everything when it comes to the VP process. Why? Because they want maximum time with Mitt and whoever, they want maximum time in fundraising for the VP guy. They want the VP to establish himself. They want the VP, well, they want to quickly get through the press vetting. They want to quickly set up a message with their VP that they can sell with Mitt. Boston can’t increase their time on the back end, but they can on the front end. Don’t get me wrong, I do not think they have made their final decision yet, But they only have about 4 names in the hopper. They have 4 names on a digital file on one of their computers with their design team ready to be kicked off to their printer. They have the ink paid for, the ink used for the side of the plane. Boston is moving, moving, moving. They want to spend as much time as possible in destroying the Obama campaign, not spending time on this. I mean, they are spending time on this, but they want maximum time on the back-end. What does that mean? Mitt has less time to get to know these other guys. Boston does not want their VP selection to go through some sort of class in Boston to get in step with Mitt. That takes time, resources. Tim fulfills the plan in all of that. A Tim Pawlenty selection is time not wasted. Up and running from the time of the announcement. Now do you want me to stop, or what?

Greg: What about political and electoral considerations? Even I know that Tim Pawlenty may not help Mitt as much as some others. You give an example about some northern counties, but a Pawlenty selection would cause some backlash among the most fervent part of the base, correct?

The Eagle: I mean, I think that is Tim’s weakness in all of this. I think if that becomes an overriding issue than I think it slides over to Jindal. But I think Boston is not so much thinking about how much a VP helps them outside of messaging. Tim will help in some Northern Blue counties, he won’t hurt. Remember, the Romney internals are very good. They do not need to go into a 2 minute offense with this selection.

Greg: What do you make of not seeing Mitt and Bobby together on the trail as of yet? Was that your biggest issue with making the call that Bobby was not the one?

The Eagle: Bobby is a pro. He knows the issues, and I think he can mesh with what Mitt is doing and saying. But Boston perceives that they have a smooth operation that wants little change put into it at this point. Bobby’s team has not spent time in Boston, and I think that is a big thing for Boston. Maybe I’m wrong, but Bobby is at a big disadvantage vs. Pawlenty in this regards.

Greg: So if you have Jindal has the alternative, is that mean Rubio slid to 3rd?

The Eagle: I think Rubio is only one who will get the nod if it’s not Pawlenty or Jindal. I think what puts Rubio at a disadvantage in Boston vs. Jindal or Pawlenty, and especially Pawlenty, is the vetting process. I have heard over and over that Boston wants to give the press no surprises in this selection. They want to give the press someone who they are familiar with. Remember, they (Boston) want to dismantle Obama, not have a vetting war with the press over the VP selection. Pawlenty is known by all these guys (the press). Jindal is known, but Rubio is going to get hammered. Not fair, I know, but he will get hammered. Now the whole Rodgers think has faded quickly. Cathy is managing the House for Mitt and that is where she will be. A lady with a great future. But she is not getting the nod.

Greg: I have to ask this question, so bear with me. Does the factor that you are from Minnesota play a major part in your final call the Pawlenty will be chosen by Mitt?

The Eagle: I hope it doesn’t, but maybe. Like I said, the amount of incoming calls to me outside this state to talk about this is now much greater than me calling South Dakota about Thune for example. People are trying to figure out now how it might not be Pawlenty, instead of thinking of ways how it might be Tim. Big change, big change. No, the Pawlenty call is based upon everything I have heard. If I’m wrong I will buy you dinner at (Redacted).

Greg: So in your mind was Thune or Ryan ever a strong possibility for VP? Is Portman still totally out?

The Eagle: Yeah, Portman is out. My best guy told me a couple of weeks ago, which I told you. Just not a Romney guy. Now Ryan has been talked to, but nobody thinks he is going to be picked, pretty much a courtesy type of deal. Thune, well, I will be pissed if Thune is picked. My guy (redacted) says there is nothing going on there. I like Thune, and he gives Mitt something the other guys don’t if Boston does not want Pawlenty, and that is a pass with the Evangelical leaders, which I have mentioned before. But yeah, I don’t see it happening for anyone other than Rubio, Pawlenty or Jindal. I think Pawlenty will be the pick. 2 Governors from Blue States who are going to try to expand the map.


-Gregory J. Flugaur can be contacted at

by @ 12:00 am. Filed under Rumor Mill, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

May 16, 2012

How the VP is Vetted

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on how the VP vetting process works. It is written by A.B. Culvahouse who lead the McCain team’s efforts in 2008. While no two vetting processes are the same, it offers some excellent insights on the process from one who has been on both sides of it.

A few excerpts:

A short list of five to 15 leading Americans soon will be notified that the presumptive Republican nominee for president believes they are serious contenders to be his running mate. They will be asked for their agreement to join him on the GOP ticket if chosen, and in the meantime, to submit to a most intrusive and far-reaching vetting by lawyers and advisers working for the campaign. No other candidate, not even the presidential nominee himself, is subjected to the same scrutiny.

In our current presidential election, despite the many political risks and personal indignities involved, I predict that few on Gov. Mitt Romney’s short list will decline the opportunity to be considered. In my experience, when potential VP nominees are asked to submit themselves to the vetting process, their thoughtful reasons to decline—and perhaps their ambitious motives to accept—are overcome by feelings that are more instinctively noble.In the summer of 2008 I asked each person on John McCain’s short list, “Why do you want to be vice president?” The question hardly was a surprise, but after the scripted answer was finished, every potential nominee began to speak from the heart about honor, service and obligation, on occasion with moist eyes. Their successors on the short list this election cycle deserve our respect in the same measure as they will receive our scrutiny.

That last bit is why I am convinced that despite protestations to the contrary, almost every single person who manages to make Romney’s shortlist would serve if asked. That would include Tim Pawlenty who just this week seemed to take himself out of contention.

Mr. Culvahouse also talks about the vetting of Sarah Palin. His final assessment on her? “High risk, high reward.” He stands by that today.


by @ 10:06 am. Filed under Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

May 15, 2012

Pawlenty: “Take My Name off the List,” Not Interested in Being Veep

We have one less name to speculate about being on Romney’s shortlist this morning:

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who once had his sights set on the White House, said Monday that he absolutely is not vying to be vice president.

“I’m going to take my name off the list, so if … you’re a journalist, an observer, remove my name from the list,” Pawlenty said. “I went through it before with McCain.”

So reports the Star Tribune. Pawlenty did leave the door open to running for Senator or even Governor again in 2014.

by @ 10:06 am. Filed under Tim Pawlenty, Veep Watch

April 13, 2012

How Romney Won the GOP Nomination

Memories and Lessons of a Just-Completed Campaign

Now that the primary season has all but officially ended (mercifully and at last), it is time for political analysts to look back at the yearlong trek that got us Nominee Romney and see what conclusions we can draw from this prolonged fight. There are several things that led to Romney’s success this time around:

The Job Interview
At first glance, it may seem the most cogent lesson is the simplest one: the Republicans once again nominated their next-in-line candidate. Just as John McCain, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford before him, Romney was widely perceived as “earning his turn,” so to speak. But there is something going on at a deeper level here – why (with the notable exception of George W. Bush) does the modern GOP seem to hand their nomination to the next-in-line? After all, this is a truism, a force, strong enough to revive John McCain from political death a thousand times over in 2008. And it was enough to protect Romney from one of the most anti-establishment, angry conservative electorates in recent memory. How?

It has been said that the Republicans treat their primaries much like a job interview, while Democrats treat theirs like a dating game – a comparative analogy that has some heft behind it to be sure. Democrats get excited about insurgent candidates that send thrills up their legs, whereas Republicans like to sit back and determine whether our candidates have the experience necessary for the job. Looking at the 2008 primaries in an parallel universe, then, we wouldn’t have been surprised to see a Mike Huckabee vs. Hillary Clinton general election matchup – where Huckabee had won the Democratic primary and Hillary the Republican one.

Insurgent candidates are just not built to survive modern Republican primaries. And so Romney perhaps had the huge advantage in this way from the outset: with no Huckabee and no Palin in the mix, he was the only “serious” candidate applying for this job. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum were never going to pass the job interview process. Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry both had a chance based on the resumes they had submitted, but as soon as they were called in for a face to face interview they were both summarily dismissed from contention. And so, after inspecting each of the job applicants in turn, ultimately the Republican Party ended up calling the candidate that looked the most attractive at the beginning of the process and saying, “You’re hired.” It’s a familiar process that makes sense for the “party of business” to follow.

Continue reading for Cycling Seppuku, I Can be Your Friend, Where in the World is Romney Sandiego, and “Establishment” Support…

September 12, 2011

Pawlenty Talks Romney Endorsement on “Fox and Friends”

P.S. In addition to the endorsement, Pawlenty will serve as Nation Co-Chairman of Romney’s campaign.

by @ 8:23 am. Filed under Endorsements, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty

BREAKING – Pawlenty Endorses Romney

This morning, Tim Pawlenty has endorsed Mitt Romney for President. Here’s the link to the press release.

by @ 7:05 am. Filed under Endorsements, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty

August 21, 2011

Race42012 Polling Averages and Line Chart – August 21, 2011

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination

Poll Average Rasmussen FOX News CNN USA Today / Gallup McClatchy / Marist
Date 7/18 – 8/9 8/15 – 8/15 8/7 – 8/9 8/5 – 8/7 8/4 – 8/7 8/2 – 8/4
Romney 22.40 18 26 23 24 21
Perry 20.50 29 18 17 18
Bachmann 11.20 13 13 9 13 8
Paul 10.00 9 10 14 14 3
Gingrich 6.20 5 9 8 7 2
Cain 6.00 6 9 5 4 6
Santorum 2.40 1 4 3 1 3
Huntsman 2.20 1 2 5 2 1
Johnson 1.17 1 0.5 2
McCotter 0.50 0 1 0.5
Karger 0.50 0.5 0.5

While Pawlenty only had about 3 percentage points to his name when he dropped out of the race, the first full post-Ames poll (done by Rasmussen) shows a healthy Perry lead, with no real gains for anyone else.  It has to be assumed that Perry benefits a little bit by the absence of Pawlenty (though the biggest beneficiary may be a prospective Christie or Ryan run).  In this edition, Bachmann continues to slide, even while solidifying her position as the Iowa frontrunner.  National polls, of course, mean little at this point, as a good showing in an early primary or caucus state can cause tectonic alterations in national polling overnight.

Like I said last week, little is keeping Gingrich and Cain in the race at this point, either polling-wise or issue-wise.  For some reason, Santorum’s 9% finish in the Ames Straw Poll seems to be garnering him a lot of press, despite the fact that in 2007’s Ames Straw Poll, no-chancers like Brownback and Tancredo got 15% and 13% respectively (while eventual nominee McCain received less than 1%).  It reinforces my perplexity as to why so much weight is given to this Straw Poll at all.  Ron Paul, the man who came in a fraction of a percent behind Bachmann, has been shamefully treated by the media, though his polling numbers continue to build, slowly and steadily.

August 19, 2011

REPORT: Team Pawlenty Waits For Christie

From the Daily Caller:

Team Pawlenty is waiting on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to make a decision about entering the field as a presidential candidate, The Daily Caller learned Friday.

Key staffers who formerly made up the Pawlenty campaign have been in discussions with Christie all week and the talks are still ongoing, sources told TheDC. They are reportedly very anxious to have Christie officially place his hat in the ring. At one point, there was discussion of Christie flying to Texas at the beginning of the week; he ultimately nixed that plan.

The sources also said that in the midst of back-and-forth discussions this week, Pawlenty staffers resisted an overture from Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is also rumored to be considering a bid, because they want Christie to run.

Lots of big news in here, if true.  Not only is Christie in talks with staff about jumping in, but also Paul Ryan.  Rove’s prediction looks more and more like it may come true.


by @ 1:38 pm. Filed under 2012 Misc., Chris Christie, Tim Pawlenty

August 15, 2011

Pawlenty for Senate…Mary Pawlenty

Ramesh Ponnuru sensibly argues that Tim Pawlenty shouldn’t run for Senate in Minnesota.  He writes:

It would look like he was looking at the Senate as a consolation prize. Voters wouldn’t like it. Klobuchar is going to be hard enough to beat as it is. In 2014 he has a shot at running either for Franken’s seat or trying for governor again.

In January of this year, Klobuchar had a 59% approval rating and only a 29% disapproval rating.  At Tim’s peak, he never matched that.  He was the guy who played for 51%- governing and running as far right as he could manage while remaining above water.  Since then, he has gone underwater, his presidential bid pushing him to the right and alienating some more moderate Minnesotans.  In May, even Survey USA had him at -3.  Tim Pawlenty could not beat Amy Klobuchar.  And if he tried and failed, his career would be over.  Fortunately, Tim’s only the second most natural politician in his household.  Mary Pawlenty has all of Pawlenty’s strengths without any of his weaknesses.  She’s warm and seems perfectly authentic, but while warmth can be (as we’ve seen) turned into a weakness in a male politician, it’s an absolute necessity for female politicians who are often accused of being shrill.  She gives a great speech.  She’s more obviously evangelical than Tim, without any of the hard edges of Michele Bachmann.  And she has a resume and an interesting one.  She spent 13 years as the District Court judge of Minnesota’s biggest Republican County and she’s since worked for non-profits.  Back when Tim still had a chance, I used to lament to MWS that a Pawlenty Presidency would leave Mary a smiling first lady, when she had the potential to do a great deal of good on her own.  Well, with Tim retreating to the sidelines, and with Minnesota’s Republican heavyweights likely to decline a challenge to Klobuchar, Mary has something of an opportunity.  She should take it.  Tim Pawlenty’s luster may have faded in Minnesota, but it’s a good bet Mary still benefits from the modest popularity all first lady’s enjoy.  Here are a few videos of her.

In Ames


With Tim, talking about faith.


Welcoming the Red Bulls home.


by @ 8:56 am. Filed under 2012 Misc., Tim Pawlenty

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