Until then, these are some things to keep in mind:
1. You are focused on your day job.
“I’m busy trying to do my job in Congress,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on NBC’s “Today” show recently. “So, if we have to cross that bridge, I’ll make a decision then, but I haven’t given it the serious kind of thought, you know, with my family, to give an answer.”
This is the Old Reliable of vice presidential dodges, hallowed by usage and time. This year, it also has been used by Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), who is mentioned as a top contender: “I love representing Ohio. . . . I just went through about a 20-month election campaign to get the honor to do that, so it’s the best place for me.”
The beauty of this tactic is that it provides its own escape hatch. What if, while a politician was focusing so deeply on his or her daily work, Romney sidled up undetected and popped the big question?
“I owe it to Governor Romney, if he were to ask me the question, to sit and listen to him as to why he thinks I would be the best person to be vice president,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another possible running mate. “From my perspective, if you’re a betting person, bet on me still being governor of New Jersey in January of 2013.”
2. You won’t get it. In fact, you don’t even want it.
As a potential vice president for Romney, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) would appeal to tea partyers and Latinos. Rubio is an energetic campaigner with an inspiring life story. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said recently that the first-term senator would be Romney’s strongest choice.
Rubio, following the ritual, has professed not to want the job.
“I’m not going to be vice president,” he told the Tampa Tribune this month. “I’m not going to be asked to be vice president. I don’t want to be vice president.”
He repeated the mantra again in an interview with CNN en Español, saying: “I’m not going to be the vice president.”
Of course, that’s what Vice Presidents Cheney and Biden also said.
Here’s where the veepstakes gets confusing. Because its rituals encourage all contenders to say no, it can be difficult to discern when one of them actually means it.
This year, for instance, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has been repeatedly pressed about the post — despite the fact that she has always said she’s not interested.
The reason, Martinez says, is that she is the guardian for her developmentally disabled sister. A move to Washington, the governor said, would be “devastating” for her family.
“I just couldn’t do it,” she said.