"Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process," Mitt Romney told reporters late Tuesday, after a long day of reports directly to the contrary that the senator from Florida wasn't being vetted, hadn't been vetted, wasn't on the short list.
Rubio has had a rough few days, first getting triangulated by President Obama on immigration policy, then facing the dreary embarrassment of journalistic navel-gazing about what it meant that the Florida senator wasn't the belle of the ball, and didn't even get an invitation.
Rubio would be a bit of a wild-card pick—young, regarded as not fully tested, and from Florida, with all of that crating.The people who are paid to watch these things, have been laying down wagers on what could broadly be termed The Boring White Guy Set populated by the likes of Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the last of whom is less boring only because he has a controversial federal operating blueprint named after him. Toss in Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, of Indian descent and thus exempted from the above moniker, and you have slate of potential No. 2's who look and act a fair bit like the ticket-topper.
For obvious reasons, these vettings need to remain secret, as do the identities of those undergoing the painful process of watching each episode of their lives pried and peeled. But the shrewdly timed leak can accomplish much, allowing candidates or potential candidates to receive the public side of the vetting that often goes a long way toward determining their long-term viability.
Then again, sometimes a mistake is just a mistake.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Romney’s Battleground Audition Tour: Every Veep Counts
[National Journal, 6/19/12] Mitt Romney’s six-state “Every Town Counts” bus tour through key battleground states has showcased no less than four GOP leaders mentioned as prospective veep picks. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Rob Portman of Ohio stuck close to the script.
Message to Obama: the Diplomacy Thing Ain't Workin'
[National Journal, 6/19/12] It hasn't really been a great few weeks for Obama in an arena where he hopes to highlight his strengths as president: foreign policy, according to National Journal's Michael Hirsh. A series of multilateral meetings beginning with the G-8 summit at Camp David in May and ending on Tuesday with the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico seemed to yield mainly defiance.
New Book Raises Questions About Obama’s Memoir
[New York Times, 6/19/12] A new book by David Maraniss claims to document the ways in which President Obama’s youthfully constructed narrative appears to be contradicted by the people and events in his life. One story about the death of Obama’s step-grandfather was “a concocted myth in almost all respects,” according to the author.
Pro-Romney Super PAC Going Up With More Than $7 Million Ad Buy
[CNN, 6/18/12] Flush with cash from billionaire Sheldon Adelson, pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future is spending $7.34 million on two weeks of TV ads that will air beginning on Wednesday in nine battleground states.
Waiting for Romney: Dems Pounce on Senate Leader’s Refusal to Outline GOP Immigration Position
[ABC News, 6/19/12] Obama's campaign criticized Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for refusing to comment on the president's move to relax deportation laws for children. The senator decided not to comment until Romney explains his position on the matter.
Tim Pawlenty Goes for It, Again
[National Journal, 6/19/12] Tim Pawlenty is an energetic and highly visible co-chairman of Romney's campaign and is coming into focus as a short-lister. According to National Journal's Jill Lawrence, he is demonstrating that he is willing and able to take on the traditional vice presidential role, in which he previously denied any interest.
Romney Keeps Up Attacks on Russia
[National Journal, 6/19/12] Showing no sign of backing down on his hawkish stance on Russia, Romney had harsh words about the country in a radio interview broadcast on Tuesday. The remarks came as Obama has been meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin to try to seek common ground over how to deal with Syria.
Romney: Deal to Halt Campaign Heckling Would Be 'Nice,’ But Unlikely
[National Journal, 6/19/12] To halt the escalating incidents of heckling at campaign stops, Romney said he’s willing to meet with Obama’s campaign to reach an accommodation—but that he's skeptical any deal can be struck. Obama senior campaign strategist David Axelrod condemned the Democratic protestors who showed up at two recent Romney campaign events in Ohio and blasted Republicans by saying such behavior is “their tactic, not ours.”
Obama Immigration Policy Favored 2-to-1 by Likely Voters
[Bloomberg, 6/19/12] According to the latest Bloomberg poll, 64 percent of likely voters surveyed after Obama’s announcement on Friday to end deportation of some illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children said they agreed with the policy, while 30 percent said they disagreed.
Ann Romney's Horse Heading to London to go for Olympic Gold
[NBC News, 6/18/12] The 15-year-old horse Ann Romney co-owns will be competing in the Olympics in London this summer. Over the weekend, the horse placed well at the U.S. Equestrian Federation National Dressage Championships, securing it a spot on the Olympic team.
Wawa Versus the Post Office: Bus-Capade Update
[The Atlantic, 6/18/12] Romney illustrated the difference between big government and the private sector in his big rally on Saturday night, The Atlantic's James Fallows writes. The crowd cheered on all his "the economy is broken" lines, so was his message heard?
Conventional Wisdom on Obama Tilting Too Far?
[National Journal, 6/18/12] For a long time, the conventional wisdom seemed to indicate that Obama would be a clear favorite for reelection. But now, National Journal's Charlie Cook writes, conventional wisdom seems to be shifting dramatically: In some minds, he’s already toast.
Gingrich Defends His Bain Attacks as ‘Legitimate,’ Details Zoo Love
[ABC, 6/19/12 ] Newt Gingrich toured the National Zoo with ABC and defended his attacks on Romney’s time at Bain Capital as “legitimate questions,” adding that the very rich have an “enormous, and I think unfair, advantage.” He also details the penguin bite he suffered at a zoo in St. Louis.
GOP Reels as Obama Move Leaves Dream Act Dead
[The Hill, 6/18/12] In the latest sign of the GOP’s struggle to counter Obama’s decision to stop deporting certain young illegal immigrants, Rubio on Monday dropped his plan to push a Dream Act through Congress before the election. The political backlash underscores the challenge facing the GOP as they try to woo Hispanic voters.
Obama Campaign Launches Spanish-Language TV Ads
[National Journal, 6/19/12] The Obama campaign launched new Spanish-language television ads on Tuesday, featuring the Hispanic talk show host Cristina Saralegui. The ads will air in Nevada, Colorado, and Florida.
Ron Paul to Host Pre-GOP Convention Event
[CBS News, 6/19/12] Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is planning on holding his own event on August 26 to "celebrate our delegates," according to Paul's communications director. The event will be in Tampa and will take place the day before the Republican National Convention begins.
Adelson Lavishing Casino Money on GOP Super PACs
[National Journal, 6/18/12] Billionaire casino operator Sheldon Adelson may end up giving $70 million or more to super PACs and shadow super PACs with ties to Romney, House Republicans, and other federal candidates this year—and no one seems to care that Adelson’s Macau casino is under investigation for possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Impassioned Biden Reassures Public Workers
[National Journal, 6/19/12] Biden on Tuesday delivered a rousing defense of public workers and the labor movement at the annual convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Los Angeles. “You guys are under full-blown assault,” he said, speaking to members of one of the nation’s largest unions.
SEIU Launches Largest Field Campaign in Union’s History for 2012 Election
[Augusta Free Press, 6/19/12] The Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU) launched the largest political field campaign in their history on Tuesday to re-elect Obama. The SEIU is the nation's fastest growing union and by election day, plans to make 13 million phone calls, knock on 3 million doors, and hold over 1 million conversations.