|Screenshot of Ryan (L) and Romney (R)|
Speculation is centering on Paul Ryan. National Review Online notes that a charter plane was flown from Boston to Janesville, Wisconsin, which is Ryan's hometown. The plane is still in Wisconsin as of this post. The Weekly Standard believes Ryan will be the pick because Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is among a group of Republicans who has been asked to be ready, in terms of his schedule and other practical preparations, to make the case publicly for a Romney-Ryan ticket as early as Saturday. No evidence has surfaced indicating comparable preparation for the other two candidates.
The Standard also dismisses speculation that the Ryan gambit might be a misdirection play because the Romney campaign would presumably be acting to tamp down Ryan speculation if Ryan weren't going to be the pick in order to avoid a sense of letdown if he's passed over. But the campaign is doing no such thing; instead, it seems to be preparing the public for Ryan. Read New Yorker magazine's lengthy profile on Ryan for more background on him.
But note that Romney is making his announcement in Virginia, and Governor Bob McDonnell is expected to be present. McDonnell has also been touted as a possible running mate in the past; his selection would help Romney take Virginia in November. Virginia is one of those swing states that Romney must win to take out Obama. The Washington Examiner reports that McDonnell was previously vetted as a running mate by the Romney campaign and is still likely for consideration. In addition, Paul Ryan is scheduled to be on vacation in Colorado, and one would think the selectee would appear alongside the principal when the announcement is made. CNN is now reporting that three of their sources say Ryan is the choice.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times, a bit further removed from the scene, thinks Bob Portman will be the selection. The Times notes that Portman proved his debating skills by prepping both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for fall TV debates in past campaigns. He’s discreet, which should please Romney, who abhors leaks. He has a reputation as a serious lawmaker able to work across party lines, with budget and trade expertise that meshes with the campaign’s central theme. More significantly, he’s also likely to add a point or two to Romney’s total in Ohio, which could be enough to flip the ultimate swing state to him in November. But Portman won't be in Virginia; he's making a five-day swing through Colorado.
If Mitt Romney wants an experienced and innovative legislator to offset his executive experience and give him an "in" with Congress, Paul Ryan would seem to be the answer. But don't rule out the possibility of Bob McDonnell getting the nod.