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Will Romney's VP Pick Excite the GOP? Who Cares? Will Romney's VP Pick Excite the GOP? Who Cares?

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Will Romney's VP Pick Excite the GOP? Who Cares?

July 20, 2012
The biggest question looming over Mitt Romney during the combative Republican primary was whether he would be able to unite the party. How could the former governor of true-blue Massachusetts and a onetime supporter of abortion rights, gay rights, and health insurance mandates excite the Republican faithful?

Yet what is known about Romney's vice presidential search in recent weeks suggests that he doesn't think his ability to excite voters is a problem. The names at the top of the presumed short list--Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal--are solid Republicans more likely to let the establishment rest easy than to make the rank-and-file stand up. None of these men would overshadow Romney, nor would they make voters like him any more or less than they already do.

Republicans who can stir an audience, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, appear to have dropped out of contention, despite their popular appeal. Christie reportedly has been tapped to give the keynote speech at the nominating convention, and a major tea party group picked Rubio as its top choice for vice president. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who raised the roof at Romney's donor retreat in Utah and led a Fox News poll of potential running mates, also seems to have fallen off the map.

One thing about Romney's top choices: All of them are palatable. The same could be said of the conservative movement's view of Romney. The segment of the party that put him through the ringer during the primary before finally accepting his inevitable march to the nomination is largely deferring to his discretion in the vice presidential search.

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