Influential Republicans Weigh in on Vice Presidential Choice

Thursday, 02 Aug 2012 12:05 PM

By Dan Weil

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Plenty of heavyweight Republicans are publicly offering their counsel on who presidential candidate Mitt Romney should choose as his running mate.

House Speaker John Boehner has come out for fellow Buckeye Sen. Rob Portman. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani support Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker backs fellow Badger Rep. Paul Ryan, Politico reports.

“It’s almost devolved into an NBA or NFL draft, with everyone offering advice on whom Romney should pick,” Democratic strategist Chris Lehane told the news service.

To some extent, the speculation simply is something to occupy the political class during the dog days of summer. But “it’s becoming increasingly common [for influential Republicans to reveal their vice presidential preferences] if only because the speculation has become increasingly intense,” Dan Schnur, director of University of Southern California’s politics institute, told Politico.

The public nature of the debate is different from the past, many say.

“Romney in particular is probably getting a little bit more from the chorus than you typically get,” Lehane said. “And I think that is at some level a function of real concerns about the operation of his campaign to date. That has created a lack of discipline among Republicans so that people do feel liberated and free to offer their opinions out there.”

To be sure, it’s unclear how much significance all the outside advice carries.

“I think it is going to be very hard to influence the governor’s decision, but you certainly can take a stand on behalf of someone in whom you believe,” Ari Fleischer, press secretary for former President George W. Bush, told Politico.

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