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Romney's VP Sleeper: Kelly Ayotte

The veepstakes talk has ramped up to a near-fever pitch this week, now that Mitt Romney has all but clinched the Republican nomination.  The usual names have been bandied about: Marco Rubio, Rob Portman, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie.  But if Romney wants to make inroads with the female vote, there's one candidate who would be a compelling choice.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte isn't a household name inside the Beltway, but has a resume that should instantly attract attention from Romney advisers.  The first female attorney general in New Hampshire history, she prosecuted several high-profile murder cases and won plaudits from Republicans and Democrats alike - including the state's Democratic governor John Lynch. She campaigned for the Senate on a fiscally conservative platform, and beat a sitting Democratic congressman by a whopping 23-point margin.  She was one of Romney's earliest backers among elected officials, endorsing him in the run-up to his comfortable New Hampshire primary victory.  And New Hampshire is, after all, a swing state, albeit one with just four electoral votes.

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