Among the handful of people Mitt Romney could choose as a running mate, there is one candidate who genuinely would be a high-risk pick, and he’s getting traction down the home stretch: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.
Inside the Beltway, the Wisconsin Republican is perceived as a good-natured budget wonk whose proposals have prompted serious discussions about entitlement reform within his party. Romney’s reward for picking Ryan would be to send a message that he’s willing to undertake tough but necessary reforms to fix the economy.
But among non-political junkies, Ryan is hardly known at all. He’s viewed as just another member of Congress, a politically unpopular institution. Moreover, picking him would allow President Obama to make the election a referendum over protecting the social safety net.
A disproportionate number of the undecided voters, according to polls and focus groups, are disaffected people who disapprove of Obama’s job performance but rely on government entitlements that Democrats vigorously defend. They don’t know much about the “Ryan budget,” but they worry Republicans could take away their benefits. They’re inclined to vote Obama out of office, but a Romney-Ryan ticket could worry them enough that they’d vote for the devil they know.
— Josh Kraushaar, Hotline Executive Editor
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Convention Challenge: VIP Speakers Who Send the Wrong Message
[National Journal, 8/7/12] The chosen few devising the lineup for a party’s nominating convention have egos to stroke, aesthetics to consider, and dramas to avoid. What to do with North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, two of the least popular governors in the country, is just one of the problems.
Jimmy Carter To Speak by Video at Democratic Convention
[USA Today, 8/7/12] Former president Jimmy Carter won't be attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, but he'll address the gathering by videotape. He promises to offer “unique insights.”
Santorum, Rand Paul, Jeb Bush To Speak at Convention
[National Journal, 8/7/12] Republican National Convention organizers are giving speaking roles to former Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Rand Paul, the son of Rep. Ron Paul, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Kristol Predicts: Thursday Will Be Veep Day
[Mediate, 8/6/12] It’s going to come eventually, so why not on Thursday? Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol opined on Fox News on Monday that following campaign stops this week, Mitt Romney’s schedule is clear on Thursday afternoon and Friday, leaving a window before a bus tour that starts on Saturday. Kristol has urged Romney to “go for the gold” and select either Rep. Paul Ryan or Sen. Marco Rubio.
Obama Camp Calls in Podesta to Rebut Welfare Ad NEW!
[Politico, 8/7/12] Bill Clinton's former chief of staff, John Podesta, held a conference call rebutting Romney camp characterizations of an Obama Administration policy that made welfare qualifications more flexible. He called Obama's Welfare policy "quite consistent" with Clinton's.
Obama's Hand Forced on Sequester NEW!
[Politico, 8/7/12] By voting to force Obama to spell out the cuts he would implement should $1.2 trillion in federal spending cuts begins to go into effect early next year, Congress has put Obama in a tough political position at a critical juncture. Meanwhile, Republicans are advising Romney to remain vague on budgets cuts he'd implement as president
Who's the Worst Person Mitt Romney Could Pick to be His Running Mate?
[CNN, 8/7/12] The Romney campaign has vowed to pick the anti-Palin, putting down any hype around Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., or Gov. Nikki Haley being chosen. How much could it hurt him if he selects a vanilla-flavored VP, as oppose to a bold choice.
Romney Offers No Clues on Vice Presidential Pick
[Los Angeles Times, 8/7/12] The Romney campaign is building suspense around who will be chosen as running mate. Today, the candidate told Fox News that by the third night of the Republican Convention, he will have communicated his decision.
George Romney’s Extra, Extra-Value Meals
[The New York Times, 8/7/12] During a fundraiser in Chicago on Tuesday, Romney shared a memory of his father, George. The former Michigan governor had been rewarded a lifetime supply of McDonald's- as a thank you for leading a training exercise at the chain restaurant.
Romney Should Avoid a Boring Running Mate
[Daily Beast, 8/7/12] Everyone agrees that experience and gravitas are fine qualities in presidential politics, but you don’t want an uninspiring, overly cautious, anti-charismatic VP choice. Conservative talkers are suddenly urging Romney to, if not throw caution to the wind, at least give it a good fanning.
Romney Veepstakes: Who Would Add International Cred?
[National Journal, 8/7/12] In an election that is all about the domestic economy, Romney will probably not choose a running mate based on that person’s fluency in foreign relations. But after his gaffe-ridden foray into international affairs, National Journal’s James Kitfield writes that perhaps he should reconsider.
Romney Team Struggles To Sharpen Foreign Policy Message
[Washington Post, 8/6/12] Senior Romney campaign officials acknowledged that they need to sharpen their message and its delivery. Campaign officials, advisers, and GOP conservatives discuss Romney’s foreign-policy positions and how they are decided and disseminated.
An Ill Wind Blows for Romney in Iowa
[National Journal, 8/7/12] After a campaign spokesman for Romney told The Des Moines Register last week that the candidate does not support extending the production tax credit for wind energy, Romney faces a backlash — particularly in Iowa, the second-largest wind-producing state, where he's campaigning this week.
Myth of the Small Donor
[Politico, 8/7/12] Roughly 2.5 million people have kicked in $200 or less to the various committees helping their candidate win the White House. But those small donors account for less than 18 percent of the total money haul. Politico has a list of the top GOP and Democratic donors and where they’re putting their cash.