Mitt Romney would top Andy Card's list as John McCain’s running mate.
The former White House chief of staff tells Newsmax that Romney proved himself to be a good campaigner.
“He’s attractive, he was knowledgeable, he didn’t stumble too many times, so I don’t think that he suffers from foot-in-mouth disease,” Card says. “He is appropriately respected for his understanding of the economy and how it works and what decisions must be made that complement the ability for people to have jobs. He’s filled with integrity, and he’s a proven winner in a Democratic state.”
While Card says he doesn’t expect that Romney would deliver the electoral college vote from Massachusetts, his presence on the ticket “might help motivate people in Michigan or conservatives who were actively engaged in his campaign to be more actively engaged with McCain than they might otherwise be.”
Many evangelicals have expressed disapproval of Romney’s Mormon religion, but, “When it comes right down to it, the evangelical community will recognize the values of a Republican candidate for president as compared to a Democrat candidate for president,” Card points out. “And I think they’re such good citizens that they won’t stay home. They’ll actually show up and vote, and I think that they’ll vote for the Republican nominee.”
After Romney, those on Card’s list for vice president are Tom Ridge, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
“Condi has got a much broader level of knowledge about America than the perception,” Card says. “She really knows education well, she knows healthcare well. So she’s not just a national security adviser or State Department diplomat.”
Card, the second longest-serving White House chief of staff, saw first hand that Rice “was pretty engaged in the White House in the debates over education policy, healthcare policy and some of the Department of Justice issues. So she’s very savvy.”
Asked how much of a problem her description of herself as “mildly pro-choice” would be, Card says, “I was impressed with her ability to listen as these tough issues were discussed in the oval office and offer quiet counsel. So I didn’t find that she came in with preconceived biases that caused her to be irresponsible in offering counsel to the president.”
In an interview at his home in northern Virginia, Card revealed that Ridge was on everybody’s short list to run with George W. Bush in the 2000 election. Besides Dick Cheney, others were former Oklahoma Gov. William Keating and former Montana Gov. Marc Raiscot.
“Ridge has been a governor, congressman, first secretary of Homeland Security and the first Homeland Security adviser,” he says. “He is a good campaigner, a Vietnam War vet and hero.”
Card, who has endorsed McCain, notes that Barack Obama has done very well in many states where Democrats have almost no chance of carrying the electoral college in the fall.
“So it’s not like he is walking into the Democratic convention with a bulk of delegates coming from states that Republicans would be expected to lose in the fall,” Card says. “These are states like Wyoming, Idaho, and possibly Nevada. Hillary Clinton has done better in states that are swing states or big states like Florida, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, where she’s ahead in the polls.”
What this means is that Obama could go to the Democratic convention with the breadth of support that he has, “but that does not necessarily give him the path to victory in November,” he says.
Since wrapping up the Republican nomination, McCain has had a good campaign strategy, Card says.
As Card describes it, that strategy is, “Don’t be too visible, be visible enough. Study, do homework, raise money. Be sensitive to the base. Go to Iraq, talk about Iran, go to the Middle East, go to England and France. Finally, stay above the infighting of the Democrats and give careful thought to who the running mate should be.”
Neither Clinton nor Obama can win the nomination without superdelegates, Card points out.
“I think it’s very hard for Clinton to come up with a strategy to win it right now,” he says. “I’m inclined to think that the superdelegates will somehow caucus, or there will be some means for them to find a relative consensus, maybe before the Olympics in China, so that they can go to the convention in Denver with a known winner rather than a bloodbath.”
Regardless, the outcome will not be pretty for Democrats, Card says.
“The question is, do you win because the smoke-filled rooms — where smoking is banned — produced a superdelegate movement that locks it up? And does that happen in July? Or do people decide that they can’t go to the smoke-filled rooms because there’s no transparency,” Card says. “So it’s all done with even less transparency over telephones.”
Republican prospects for the White House look good, Card says.
“It’s still going to be a tough time,” he says. “The economy is still not as strong as we’d like it to be. I don’t think it’s as bad as we’re being told it is, but it’s not as strong as we’d like it to be.”
Card sees the economy as bifurcated.
“You have the areas of Florida and California with the subprime mortgage challenges, and then you have Michigan, Ohio, the Rust Belt, and the automobile sector struggling,” Card says. “But the middle part of the country is actually doing pretty well, in terms of commodity prices — corn, soybeans, wheat, energy, transportation to move that stuff.”
At the same time, Wall Street is “struggling to deal with poor risk management of the past,” he says.
“I think we’re learning an awful lot about the nature of an economy in the 21st century, and it’s very different than the economy looked like in the 20th century, because money moves so quickly,” Card says. “For example, most people don’t even know who owns the paper to their mortgage. Could be in Bahrain or Singapore; chances are it’s not the local bank. So that’s very different.”
Winning back Congress will be tough. While many Republicans who are incumbents are running for re-election as senators, giving them an advantage, a tremendous number of House Republican members are not seeking re-election, Card says.
“So it’s an uphill battle, and raising the money for the Republican senatorial committee and the Republican house committee has been a challenge,” Card says. “I am not sanguine about the outlook for Republicans to regain the House and the Senate.”
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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