Thursday, August 28, 2008
Republican Veep Watch: It's Either Mitt Romney Or Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty; Decision To Be Announced In Dayton On August 29th
On Friday August 29th, 2008, Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain will appear at a rally at Dayton, Ohio, where he will unveil his running mate. The question is, who will be anointed the "second-in-command"?
Informed speculation has now settled on two individuals; former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and current Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Both are socially conservative; both were elected as Republicans in predominantly Democratic states. One, Romney, has more money than God, has been spending it like water, and can bring premier fund-raising prowess to the campaign. The other, Pawlenty, is more middle class but brings a greater populist theme to the campaign. One, Romney, is a household name who is both supported and vilified. The other, Pawlenty, is a virtual Sean Parnell-type no-name for who no one outside of Minnesota is particularly passionate one way or another. Either selection would offer good geographical balance to the ticket.
In addition, either one would be good for Alaska; both favor opening ANWR for exploration and responsible development, which means either one could persuade McCain to change his mind about ANWR, and Romney won Alaska's Republican caucus in February 2008.
And RedState.com is supremely confident that they've already broken the deadlock. In this particular post, they state that "every sign, signal, and background chatter indicates John McCain will pick Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota's governor, as his running mate". In addition, a source close to the campaign has confirmed to RedState.com that it "more likely than not" is Pawlenty. But they don't want to leak it tonight in case the Obama camp get too much of a chance to play the victim card with a sympathetic media. Buttressing RedState.com's credentials is the fact that they also called the Joe Biden VP selection ahead of time, too. RedState.com provides some additional background on Pawlenty HERE and HERE.
Further fueling the Pawlenty speculation is the fact that while both Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty appeared in Denver giving speeches against Barack Obama, only one of them, Pawlenty, suddenly cleared his schedule for the next few days and has returned to Minnesota earlier than expected.
Politico.com, AOL Newsbloggers, and U.S. News & World Report also are leaning towards Tim Pawlenty. CNN is leaning in neither direction.
However, there is persuasive evidence in the other direction. TheCaucus reports that, according to a poll taken of delegates to the upcoming Republican convention, 40 percent of them favor Mitt Romney as the running mate. Tim Pawlenty was a distant second, at seven percent. This is probably one reason why Utah's Republican Senator Bob Bennett told the Deseret News on August 28th that if McCain is smart, Romney will be his vice-presidential pick. "All of the reliable indicators say that he will be," Bennett said. "But when you're dealing with John McCain, you can never be sure."
Bennett said Romney's strengths would fill in all of the holes in McCain's resume because Romney, who amassed a personal fortune, has a solid business background while McCain "by his own admission does not know much about economics". Plus Romney's youth and vitality would bring energy to the GOP ticket.
Although there was plenty of friction between Romney and McCain during the primary, Bennett said the pair "have kissed and made up." Still, he said, there are McCain staffers who see Romney as making McCain look old and grumpy by comparison. "If McCain picks Romney, it will be a demonstration of his maturity as a politician to recognize that whatever the various problems, you picked the guy who can do you the most good," Bennett said.
The Jawa Report, the Haines Report, and the Detroit Free Press is also leaning towards Mitt Romney.
Analysis: While RedState's contacts may be good, don't put it past John McCain to pull a misdirection play by sending Tim Pawlenty home early from Denver to direct attention away from his real selection. His choice may very well be a wild card who we don't know about.
But while Tim Pawlenty may be a less controversial selection who has a better personal relationship with McCain, he doesn't bring the fund-raising prowess and name recognition that the McCain campaign needs to effectively counter media darling Barack Obama. Consequently, I'm leaning toward Mitt Romney as the most likely selection. Besides, is it really necessary for the President and the Vice-President to "like" each other? LBJ and JFK didn't like each other, but they worked together to put JFK in the White House.