McDonnell Now Leading VP Candidate

Friday, 09 Mar 2012 04:24 PM

By Martin Gould

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has shot to the top of the list of candidates vying for the spot as Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential candidate, knocking Florida Sen. Marco Rubio from the Number One spot, according to the National Journal.

By backing off a controversial invasive abortion measure, McDonnell managed to preserve his status as a leading contender, and his popularity in a state that Romney will see as a must-win makes him even more attractive, the Journal reports on its website.

Rubio fell to Number Two on the Journal’s rankings because of worries that he has not been thoroughly vetted, and Romney might not want to go the same route as the 2008 candidate John McCain took when he selected the relatively inexperienced Sarah Palin as his running mate.

“It's amazing just how much Sarah Palin and Rick Perry stumbling in their early moments in the national spotlight informed top Republicans,” the website reported. “Many are convinced that the party's eventual nominee won't be able to afford a mistake in picking a vice president, and that troublesome itch lives in the back of their minds as they consider some of the less-well-known contenders.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leapfrogs Ohio Sen. Rob Portman for the third spot while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan fill out the other spots in what the Journal calls the “top tier” of candidates.

“Christie is popular with Republicans because he exudes the one thing Romney will never be able to: Authenticity,” the Journal wrote. “Christie's penchant for yelling at some opponents and calling others stupid is part of what got him elected in the first place. But two white guys from the Northeast may not be the image Romney's team is going for.”

The Journal lists four further Republicans as “plausible” Romney running mates: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and the only woman in the top 10, Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

But it admitted that “picking an unknown House member from a state Romney won't win might smell too much of desperation for McMorris Rodgers to make the serious short list.”

Four more names are listed as being “on the bubble” for consideration: South Dakota Sen. John Thune, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, and Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño.

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