Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Mitt's Pick

Romney's choice of a running mate is likely coming in days, then we'll know whether he's for "sizzle" or "solid."

Mitt's Pick

Amid campaign squabbles over the "war on religion," welfare policy, taxes, tax returns, voter supression, voter fraud, super PACs, socialism, Bain and what happened to whom after "Mitt Romney came to town," there's an opportunity just ahead to alter the conversation.

At least temorarily.

It would be a welcome relief, for example, if Mitt Romney announced his choice of a running mate on Tuesday.

(Here's what the New York Daily News is saying; and here's a sample of the Obama camp's efforts to trash talk BEFORE the pick.)

Why Tuesday? Well, Monday's are mostly recovery and week-ahead planning days, especially in summer. And this coming Monday's the 13th and nobody wants to launch anything on a day with an unlucky number.

But Tuesday, now there's a good news day. Gives everybody the rest of the week to chew on all aspects of the pick and allows plenty of time to book those Sunday talk shows.

Plus, going now allows some positive coverage (who is this person, what's his or her background, record, family, favorite type of music, etc.) that could stretch all the way to the GOP convention in two weeks.

So Tuesday it is.

As to the pick,The Wall Street Journal reports on a rift in the party between "solid" or "sizzle," between "mild" or "spicey."

I'm thinking solid and mild.

With the race so close there's no need for risk-taking (read Christie, Ryan, Jindal, Rubio). And with the economy the top issue, there's every reason for serious and solid (read Portman, Pawlenty).

A strong case for such a pick is made in the Journal piece by Greg Mueller, a veteran of past GOP campaigns who also likes Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell:

"Pawlenty and Portman and McDonnell are chief executives—the fix-it wing of the Republican Party," Mr. Mueller said. "The country had pizazz with Obama, and now they want people who can get things done...I don't think you need anybody to spice things up."

The only caveat I'd add to this is Republicans need to attract women. The problem is last time the party put a woman on the ticket it didn't work out that well.

I've always thought the pick would be Portman because Ohio's important, he likely helps carry it for Mitt, he's solid on the economy and he won't outshine the nominee in the personality department, which is saying something.

But Portman also served in the House and in both Bush administrations, as chief counsel in the first and director of the budget in the second. Such experience sends a message that Mitt's more about attacking economic problems if elected than he is in putting on a show during a campaign.

If that IS the case, look for Portman on Tuesday.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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