Rick Santorum's exit from the presidential race this week brings a formal end to a contest that had been over for weeks. It also invites a spotlight on Mitt Romney's next task, picking a running mate – and with it, a glimpse at the future of the Republican Party. Based on a short list that features rising stars, that future looks bright.
Romney now heads a party searching for its identity after George W. Bush's presidency. The process of choosing a running mate will elevate one of a generation of officeholders vying to influence that direction. Consider the names most often atop pundits' lists: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, all young, attractive, articulate conservative spokesmen.
The roster of vice presidential candidates stands in contrast to the weak, lackluster field of presidential retreads. Romney has not won an election since 2002, and hasn’t held office since early 2007. Santorum lost his last race in 2006. Newt Gingrich left office in early 1999.
Any campaign is concerned that the vice presidential nominee might overshadow the top of the ticket. This year, even if that doesn't happen, the vice presidential nominee will likely be a sign of the rise of a new Republican generation – a generation that will likely produce the next Republican president, regardless of how Romney fares this year.
—Reid Wilson, Hotline Editor-in-Chief
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT
Campaigns Plan Maximum Push to Raise Money
[New York Times, 4/12/12] The Romney machine is preparing a major expansion of the campaign’s fund-raising efforts to prepare for a general election contest against President Obama, with the goal of raising up to $600 million.
Hilary Rosen Apologizes to Ann Romney in CNN Interview
[National Journal, 4/12/12] Following a media firestorm that erupted after Hilary Rosen’s comments that Ann Romney “hasn’t worked a day in her life,” Rosen apologized to the GOP front-runner’s wife in a written statement and a live CNN appearance on Thursday. President Obama, David Axelrod, Vice President Joe Biden, and several other prominent Democratic figures have defended Ann Romney after Rosen’s comments.
Romney-Rosen Spat One of Many NEW!
[National Journal, 4/12/12] The Twitter brouhaha between Ann Romney, Hilary Rosen, and the Obama and Romney camps wasn't the first time politicos have taken to the microblogging platform to air grievances. National Journal brings you have five conflicts that played out on Twitter.
What Lies Ahead for Santorum?
[Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/12/12] Speculation has been bouncing around that Santorum might get a Cabinet position in a Romney administration or even be chosen as a running mate, though most strategists say that is a long shot. As for whether the Inquirer would have Santorum back as a columnist? "It hasn't been discussed or explored to my knowledge," the editorial page editor says.
Santorum Says He Dropped Out Because He Ran Out of Money
[National Journal, 4/12/12] Rick Santorum said on Thursday that the main reason he dropped out was that the campaign simply ran out of money. “We were just burning through cash at a rate we couldn't maintain,” he said.
Fox Fires Back at Gingrich NEW!
[Mediabistro, 4/12/12] Fox News is not taking Newt Gingrich‘s excoriation of the network’s coverage of the GOP primary lightly. A Fox News spokeswoman said a “bitter” Gingrich is “auditioning for a windfall of a gig at CNN.”
What Ann Romney and Ted Kennedy Have in Common
[National Journal, 4/12/12] National Journal’s John Aloysius Farrell weighs in on Ann Romney’s similarity to another Massachusetts figure, Edward Kennedy, who was chastised in debate for never having worked for a living. Here’s a lesson for Hilary Rosen, Farrell writes: The public decided the charge was unfair, and Kennedy won.
How YouTube and Twitter Are Hurting Romney
[Washington Post, 4/12/12] It’s a strategy as old as American politics: Run toward the party base — on the left or right — in the primary and then move to the ideological middle once you become your party’s standard-bearer. But YouTube and Twitter complicate this age-old formula, as Romney is discovering.
Ann Romney: 'Respect Women in All Those Choices That They Make'
[National Journal, 4/12/12] Responding to Rosen’s comments, Ann Romney went to Fox News to defend her decision to stay at home. People need to “respect women in all those choices that they make,” she said today. She also said that she has faced her own struggles in life, even if they weren't financial. Ann Romney isn’t the first candidate spouse to get scrutiny on the campaign trail. Here’s a list of other would-be first ladies who faced their own pushback.
Romneycare’s Sixth Anniversary Passes Unmarked By Romney Camp NEW!
[BuzzFeed, 4/12/12] Thursday is the sixth anniversary of the signing of “Romneycare,” the Massachusetts health care reform law that is said to be the basis of Obama’s national legislation. Here’s a video of the singing where Romney praises Ted Kennedy and the individual mandate.
Mormons Proud of Romney's Success, But Fear What Comes Next
[The Guardian, 4/12/12] The Guardian's Tresa Edmunds, a Mormon herself, muses over the mixed gift Romney's ascendancy has been for his religion. Mormons are proud that one of their own is so successful but concerned about the barrage of attacks on their religion that they see as likely to come next.
Evangelicals Edge Closer to Romney, but Warily
[New York Times, 4/11/12] With the National Organization for Marriage endorsing Romney on Wednesday, it appears some evangelical leaders have begun to rally behind the presumptive nominee, saying their shared hostility toward President Obama will be a powerful force for uniting the party in November.
Portman: Working-Class Wonk
[National Review, 4/12/12] Robert Costa writes that GOP insiders are telling him that Romney picking Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio as running mate would be akin to Bill Clinton picking Al Gore. Portman is a seasoned Washington player and an influential lawmaker who has worked for two presidents.
As Race Shifts, Biden Gets Task of Scuffing Romney
[Associated Press, 4/12/12] Because Obama tries to stay away from speaking too negatively about his opponent, that task falls to Joe Biden's shoulders -- and he is up to it. Biden has called Romney "consistently wrong" and "uninformed" on foreign policy, and is not afraid to knock the candidate head on.
Romney Makes SNL Joke
[Providence Journal, 4/11/12] The presumptive nominee was in Rhode Island Wednesday, continuing to stump, and making jokes about Obama. "The president was asked what kind of a job he thinks he's doing," Romney said. "He said he was doing a great job. He went on to say he was doing a historically great job." He joked: "And this was not Saturday Night Live."
Against All Odds, Gingrich Donors Want Him to Stay In
[BuzzFeed, 4/12/12] The mainstream media may have given Romney the Republican nomination, but some conservatives are holding on hope for Newt Gingrich to have an upset victory come convention time. Some of his top donors, elderly Southern conservatives, are still keeping him afloat: “Giving money to him is money well spent,” says one. And if he loses, Gingrich said on Thursday that he probably would not take a Romney administration position.
Ron Paul: Campaign Can't Continue Without More Donations
[The Hill, 4/11/12] Yes, Ron Paul is still in the race, and he needs money. The Paul campaign sent out a frank request on Wednesday to supporters for more funds moving forward in the Republican primary. In recent weeks, he has cut his trail events and TV appearances.