That still leaves a number of presumed contenders — including former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — in the mix.
With less than three weeks until the convention, speculation about Romney’s selection is escalating rapidly. And his campaign is doing its best to maximize the attention, taunting reporters with the prospect of news, joking about the timing and scheduling a bus tour through four swing states this weekend that could be the backdrop for a vice presidential rollout — or not.
“I’ve got some folks coming over today,” Romney told reporters Monday as he left a grocery store near his vacation home in New Hampshire. When one asked whether his house guests included Portman and Pawlenty, Romney simply laughed.
He did meet on Monday with Beth Myers, his longtime adviser who is managing the vice presidential selection process. He also saw strategists Stuart Stevens and Russ Schriefer, and Bob White, one of Romney’s closest friends and a fellow founding partner at Bain Capital, joined the group at the house. The meeting was likely to be one of Romney’s few opportunities to review the selection process in private before the Tampa convention.
Whether he has made any decisions about a running mate — or the timing of a rollout — is unclear. His wife, Ann, remains in London to watch her dressage horse compete in the Olympics. The horse, Rafalca, will participate in the Grand Prix Special round on Tuesday morning (5:45 a.m. Eastern time) — her final opportunity to help the U.S. team win a medal. It’s also her chance to qualify for the final individual medal round on Thursday.
Republicans widely assume that Romney will wait until his wife returns home to announce his vice presidential choice, making next week seem like a logical time.
All eyes on the bus
But the campaign is also fanning speculation that an announcement could happen at any moment, including on this weekend’s bus tour. The trip will take Romney through the home states of three possible contenders: Virginia, home of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, on Saturday; Florida, home of Sen. Marco Rubio, on Monday; and Ohio, Portman’s home, on Tuesday. Romney will also stop in North Carolina on Sunday.