Keep this in the back of your mind when thinking about Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential decision: Which potential running mate could help the former Bay State governor shore up his foreign policy credentials?
Sure, voters are fixated on a dismal economy. But President Obama's team has made it clear they see the commander in chief's résumé as a testament to his strong leadership and a useful foil against Romney’s international inexperience and reputation for equivocation.
Only one of the most commonly mentioned vice presidential hopefuls has much experience abroad. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, already the chic pick for Washington’s pundit class, served a one-year stint as the U.S. trade representative in the Bush administration.
Portman has enough credibility that Bill Richardson, the former Democratic presidential candidate, governor of New Mexico, and United Nations ambassador, told National Journal that his selection could reduce Romney’s foreign policy vulnerability. But if the putative GOP nominee picks another contender, Richardson said, the Obama campaign will have the green light.
“If he picks [Marco] Rubio or he picks [Chris] Christie, they’re totally without foreign policy experience,” Richardson said. “In a close race, that could make a difference.”
-- Alex Roarty
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
RNC Close to Calling Romney Presumptive Nominee NEW!
[National Journal, 4/19/12] As was previously reported, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will remain neutral in the primary for a little while longer. Speaking to Priebus in Arizona, Hotline’s Reid Wilson reports that the RNC will rally around a candidate after the upcoming contests in the Northeast.
Romney Assails Obama Economy at Shuttered Factory NEW!
[National Journal, 4/19/12] Addressing a crowd in a shuttered drywall-manufacturing factory in Lorain, Ohio, Romney attacked Obama’s economic policies and efforts to lift the U.S. from recession. The factory closed in 2008 at the height of the economic downturn. But BuzzFeed explains why this might have be wrong factory for Romney to give this speech.
Battleground Poll: Obama Leads Romney in Florida, Ohio NEW!
[National Journal, 4/19/12] They’re the two states that have been pivotal in recent presidential races and the president is currently ahead in both in a new poll. According to a new Fox News poll, Obama leads his likely opponent in both Florida and Ohio, by two points and six points, respectively.
Romney Begins to Bulk Up Campaign Team for General Election NEW!
[New York Times, 4/19/12] The Romney team is transitioning to full general election mode, making big-time hires in Boston and across the country. Not only are they bringing on longtime Republican political strategists for the grassroots operation, but the campaign’s speech-writing team is getting a whole new facelift.
Ohio Governor Endorses Romney
[Cleveland Plain-Dealer, 4/19/12] Ohio Gov. John Kasich formally endorsed Romney on Thursday, ending his 8-month-long holdout. Meanwhile, Romney campaigns today in Ohio--a state that isn't safe for either the former Massachusetts governor or the president.
Romney: 'I Will Stop the Attack on Fellow Americans'
[National Journal, 4/19/12] A day after President Obama said he wasn't born with “a silver spoon in my mouth”--a quip seemingly aimed at Mitt Romney--the presumptive GOP nominee had a response, saying that the president “likes to attack fellow Americans.”
Romney to Deliver Commencement at Liberty University
[Wall Street Journal, 4/19/12] Mitt Romney will deliver the commencement address next month at Liberty University, a Christian college in Lynchburg, Va., founded by the late televangelist Jerry Falwell. The address is yet another sign that Romney is looking to shore up his support with evangelicals and other conservative Christians.
Rubio's Vice Presidential Freudian Slip
[National Journal, 4/19/12] Marco Rubio has said he'd say no if Romney asked him to be VP. But in an interview at an event kicking off the University of Phoenix/National Journal Next America project on Wednesday, Rubio slipped from his narrative.
The Fight for ‘the Persuadables’
[Politico, 4/19/12] President Obama and Mitt Romney have been focusing on their two bases for much of the year, but the motley collection of voters who might waffle between the two candidates and ultimately swing the race is very much up for grabs, writes Alexander Burns. They’re “downscale Midwesterners, suburban women and other better-educated, higher-income white Americans.”
Santorum Wants to Be Seduced
[Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/19/12] So why the delay in a Romney endorsement? For one thing, Santorum has a $900,000 debt to settle and he’s also trying to leverage a role at the convention in Tampa. But maybe he’s looking for a little sweet talk and some commitment first. A Santorum aide said on Wednesday that they'll meet with Romney sometime in the next few weeks.
Diocese Clarifies Bishop's Remarks on Obama, Hitler
[Chicago Tribune, 4/19/12] A bishop from the Peoria, Ill., area recently compared the Obama administration's “attacks” on religious freedom to that of Hitler and Stalin. And although they did not rebuke the bishop, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria today attempted to clarify the remarks, saying they were for historical context.
The Business of Ending a Presidential Campaign
[Businessweek, 4/19/12] Bottom line: It’s hard! Bill Clinton last ran for president in 1996--and yet he still owes bills for a disputed $319,000. His wife owes $245,000 to a consultant. Rudy Giuliani owes a whopping $2.6 million to various people. John McCain actually has leftover money he has yet to disburse. And right now, Newt Gingrich has $4.5 million in debt.
Gingrich Secret Service Detail Still Costing Taxpayers
[The Daily Caller, 4/19/12] Even though by his own estimation he has very little prospect of winning the Republican nomination, Newt Gingrich is still costing the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars a day with his Secret Service detail on the campaign trail.
Poll: Obama Still Quite the Ladies' Man
[National Journal, 4/19/12] According to a new poll published this morning, a big lead among women voters is fueling a slight advantage for Obama in the early phase of the general election contest over Romney.
Is Obama in Trouble With Young Voters?
[The Atlantic, 4/19/12] A new poll shows that Obama has the support of less than half of 18-to-24-year-olds and only leads a generic Republican candidate by seven percentage points, indicating he may have trouble with a demographic that turned out in full force for him in 2008.
Gingrich: Twitter Debate is 'Utterly Stupid'
[National Journal, 4/19/12] Gingrich used the recent Twitter spat between top aides to Obama and Romney to rally his supporters, chastising the debate over his rivals’ controversial histories with canines.
Mont. Gov.: Romney’s ‘Family Came From a Polygamy Commune in Mexico’ NEW!
[Daily Beast, 4/19/12] Although he doesn’t think Montana will be in play for Obama, Romney’s Mormon faith and family’s past will be an issue nationally, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said. The Democrat said it was ironic Romney has such problems with Latinos considering his family “came from a polygamy commune in Mexico.” This fact, he said, will be difficult for female voters, as well.
Nugent: Secret Service Satisfied Comments Did Not Threaten Obama NEW!
[Chicago Tribune, 4/19/12] Ted Nugent is off the hook. The rocker said that the Secret Service has concluded that he is not a credible threat to the president, after he made some controversial comments at an NRA convention. The NRA has since removed the video from its site and YouTube page.