Posted at 02:04 PM ET, 05/18/2012

John Thune hasn’t been contacted yet by Romney vetting team, says report

Sen. John Thune is No. 3 in the most recent veepstakes rankings compiled by our colleagues at The Fix.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). (Charles Dharapak — Associated Press)

But according to a report in The Hill newspaper, the South Dakota senator has yet to be contacted by presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s vetting team, which has already begun reaching out to prospective running mates.

Reports The Hill’s Alex Bolton:

[W]hen asked directly by The Hill, three of the top candidates on the shortlist — Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — declined to comment on the process.
“I’m not going to talk about the process,” said Rubio. “When they make a choice, I’m sure it’s going to be a great choice.”
Portman said, “I respect him and his process and I’m not going to talk about it.”
Ryan said, “I’m not getting into it.”
And one thought to be on the list said he hasn’t been contacted at all.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who early in the cycle was considered a presidential possibility, said he had not been contacted by anyone on Romney’s vetting team.

A Thune spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Given that the Romney camp is getting an early start on vetting potential running mates — an exhaustive and time-consuming process — it’s worth taking the reported lack of contact with a grain of salt. There still is time for them to contact Thune.

Thune had earlier flirted with the idea of a presidential run before announcing last February that he would remain in the Senate rather than jump in the race. He currently serves as the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, behind Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

By  |  02:04 PM ET, 05/18/2012

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