In SC, Gov. Mark Sanford (R) has gained a reputation for "theatrics" after he carried out "an incident known inside the state Capitol simply as 'The Pigs.'" Four years ago, Sanford "walked into the House chamber carrying two squealing piglets in an effort to shame legislators over pork-barrel spending."
Now, Sanford is being mentioned as a possible VP choice for John McCain. So what does Sanford think of the VP's job? Sanford: "[Dick] Cheney has revolutionized the role. He arguably has done more than most vice presidents by working as a partner with the president. ... I guess, it's what you make of it. But at the end of the day there can only be one boss and that boss is the president. I think what Cheney has done very, very well is to be supportive of the president's larger goals and aims. So I don't think it is a forum to say, 'I think this stuff is really cool. I think I'm going to go over here.' I believe in the military notion of a chain of command."
More Sanford: "I think privately you can have impact and have conversations in (the) direction that I think we ought to go, but when the orders are met, you have to salute and march forward in accordance with the orders. ... And part of it is born out of my own experiences in the governorship. And so, there is a third component, having seen this from the inside as an executive, that you don't want a guy who is just randomly free-lancing in directions you don't want to go." So would he accept the VP nod? Sanford: "If that lightning strike comes, we'll deal with it when we get there."
Still, Sanford had this to say about fellow VP contender Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) on the issue of hurricane insurance: "Even in the insurance crisis with hurricanes ... we very much disagreed with the ... Charlie Crist model [which makes the state an insurer of last resort]. Basically the taxpayer is going to be zapped in the long run in that model, when the next storm hits. ... We said, No, let's rely on private markets and let's look for ways to attract private capital to our state. One of the most interesting features in [our reform] was hurricane savings accounts. To say look, if you just flat out hate insurance companies and think they're ripping you off and don't like the way that they're pricing risk, take the risk yourself. ... That's why, in fact, we put in a provision here with hurricane savings accounts, where if you want to tuck money aside, tax free from the state standpoint -- we can't do anything about the feds -- from a state standpoint, go for it" (Miniter, Wall Street Journal, 4/19).
Two New Names
TN Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) is getting some press, while GA Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) is also "in the mix." Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-TN) on Bredesen: "He managed Tennessee out of a crisis on health care. He has been a champion of education. He's got good people around him, and he's a good ambassador for Tennessee." Bredesen spokesperson Lydia Lenker: "Congressman Davis' statements were very kind, but the governor is not pursuing this. ... When this topic comes up, the governor says it makes his mother very proud."
On the GOP side, Perdue has been mentioned "give his stature as a Southern governor and" ex-head of the GOP Gov. Assoc. Perdue spokesperson Bert Brantley: "The governor has said repeatedly it's not something you pursue. He considers any mention of him in those terms is a compliment to the state. There's no point in worrying about something that's not in his control" (Wang, Chattanooga Times Free Press, 4/19).
Deseret News' Pignanelli writes, "Warning to readers: You are about to receive a cold slap in the face. THERE IS NO WAY MITT ROMNEY WILL BE CHOSEN TO RUN AS VICE PRESIDENT IN 2008. Indeed, should McCain enter bizarro world and anoint Romney, it will be a clear indication he is mentally unfit for the presidency and raises questions as a functioning human being. Romney brings nothing to the GOP ticket -- he is just another old white guy. Republicans are not going to win Massachusetts or Michigan. Further, voters are desperate for a difference from the Bush administration -- which Romney embraced. Although he is now campaigning for something, the best Romney can expect is a Cabinet position (i.e. commerce) or a launching pad for" '12 (4/20).
Tell Us, Karl
Karl Rove was on "Fox News Sunday" 4/20, where he was asked about the four names he gave for McCain's VP. The names included Romney, MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), Crist and ex-OMB dir./ex-Rep. Rob Portman (R-OH).
Rove: "I picked those four as sort of representatives of the kinds of areas that McCain has got to be looking at. Romney represents the people who ran in the primary. And he is probably, of the people who ran in the primary, the most plausible. Pawlenty represents sort of more experienced people who have been around. He's a two-term governor of Minnesota. Crist represents sort of newer faces. He's been governor for only two years, but he's a big battleground state. And then sort of an out-of-the-box choice, you know, Rob Portman represents a battleground state, Ohio, with a varied record, respected member of Congress, very strong on economic matters, very strong on trade, for example, which is going to be a flashpoint in the general election."
Asked if it would be a mistake for McCain to choose Sec/State Condoleezza Rice because of her association with the Bush admin.: "Well, I don't think that question even needs to be asked. I had dinner with Condi, who is a close friend. And I said to her during the course of dinner -- I said, 'I've got some friends in Congress who want to go out there and boost your name for vice president, and I've been holding them back and discouraging them from doing so,' and she said, 'Tell them no.' I mean, look. She has no interest in elective office. ... The only election that Condi Rice would like to participate in is the election for NFL commissioner, and that's not available."
Asked if McCain needs to name his running mate sooner or later: "This will take some time. If you do it right, it takes a lot of time, because you have to vet these people. You have to go into every nook and cranny of their life. ... The second thing is you need to keep something exciting for a time when nothing else -- nobody else will be wanting to pay attention to you. So it strikes me that you either make this decision and announce it in late July or early August, at a time when we are going to be looking for ways to draw attention to you, or you save it for the convention. ... My gut tells me they'll probably end up doing something in late July or early August" (4/20).
Something About Huckabee's Prom
Mike Huckabee, on whether he thinks he'll be chosen as McCain's VP: "If I answered that question, it would sound like I was sitting by the phone. You don't go by a prom dress until someone invites you to the prom. Let's hold off, and then I'll tell you how it feels to be asked" ("Fox & Friends," FNC, 4/21).
This article appears in the April 21, 2008, edition of Latest Edition.