With a victory in the Wisconsin primary tonight, Mitt Romney would be in commanding position for the nomination - and he can thank one of the state's most prominent Republicans for the help. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has been a regular on Romney's Wisconsin roadshow, and the two have bonded during their time together. It's not surprising: Both Ryan and Romney are wonks, less comfortable in the glad-handing aspect of politics. Ryan has embraced Romney's candidacy, and Romney has embraced Ryan's entitlement-reforming budget proposal.
It's instructive to contrast the enthusiastic endorsement Ryan gave Romney, with the more middling "lets-end-the-primary-fight" argument that another veepstakes contender, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, advanced. Over the last several days, Ryan has acted as Romney's best advocate; Rubio sounds downright skeptical of Romney's conservatism, even in support. Rubio, notably, hasn't made any campaign appearances on Romney's behalf.
Two lines of veepstakes thinking have emerged from Team Romney in recent days. One advises Romney pick a telegenic running mate, who compensates for his weaknesses and can help the ticket win over key demographic groups (most notably Hispanics). Rubio is the clear frontrunner in this category. Then there's the first-do-no-harm view, that Romney should pick a fairly bland running mate who won't upstage him and who he's comfortable with on the campaign trail. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman have been at the top of this list.
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