Romney mulls early VP announcement
By Michael Mathes, AFPWASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney may be preparing to unveil his running mate sooner rather than later, amid speculation the Republican White House contender seeks to quickly pry the magnifying glass off his business and tax records.
July 19, 2012, 10:54 am TWN
Some observers have honed in on this week, and notably Romney's appearance at a campaign event in the must-win state of Ohio on Wednesday, as one in the narrowing list of possible periods in which the candidate may announce who will be on his ticket as he challenges President Barack Obama in November.
The question is: will Romney make a safe pick — Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty top most short lists — or will he go for a riskier but energizing choice, like ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, that could set a spark to his campaign?
Candidates divulge little about the secretive VP vetting process, and Romney has clamped a corporate-style seal around the all-important operation.
But hints have trickled out, including a New York Times report Monday which cited Romney friends saying they believe he has made his decision and it could be announced as soon as this week.
The campaign offered a tease of its own on Tuesday, announcing directors of operations and communications for the vice presidential candidate.
Picks are usually announced much closer to or during the party's national convention, which for Republicans this year is late August.
“However, the general election campaign has begun early with an unusually large amount of money already being spent,” Allan Lichtman, an American University professor and expert on presidential campaigns, told AFP.
“Romney also wants to divert the conversation from his role at Bain and his tax returns.”
The candidate, a multimillionaire and former governor of Massachusetts, has been pummeled in recent weeks over his time at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded and led for 15 years.
The Obama camp argues Romney presided over the firm when it bought up U.S. companies that then shipped jobs to low-wage economies overseas.
Romney also faces pressure to release more than his promised two years of tax returns, as recent reports have drilled into his lucrative holdings in offshore tax havens.