The Fix: Veepstakes

Congress’ record unpopularity — and what it means for Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney

Congress’ record unpopularity — and what it means for Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney

That just one in 10 Americans approve of the job Congress is doing in new Gallup polling — the lowest ebb for the institution in nearly four decades — is nothing new. After all, congressional approval hasn’t crested 20 percent in more than a year.

What is new, however, is that Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate is a 14-year veteran of Congress and currently chairs the House Budget Committee.

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Fix Veep Pick ‘Em Contest

Fix Veep Pick ‘Em Contest

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was only the fourth most popular pick among Fix readers in the Veepstakes pick ’em pool we ran last month.

High-fives all around for the Fix Veepstakes pick ‘em contest winners.

Sens. Marco Rubio (Fl.) and Rob Portman (Ohio) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty were all favored over Ryan in our informal poll, and no o ne correctly guessed Ryan would be named to the ticket on Aug. 11.

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5 races where Paul Ryan could matter

Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate is a decision that will impact congressional races this fall. Of that we are certain.

But, where might Ryan on the national ticket grow into a major issue? Based on demographic data, history and the candidates running, below are five races in which the Ryan ripple effect is worth watching in the fall.

Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) could face another race in which Medicare is a central issue. (Harry Scull Jr - AP)

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Positive views of Ryan jump higher after pick

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — the freshly minted Republican vice presidential candidate — got an immediate ratings boost in the wake of his selection as Mitt Romney’s running-mate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Republican vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., gives a thumbs-up at a rally Sunday, August 12, 2012, in Mooresville, N.C., at the NASCAR Technical Institute. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)
Little known nationally before Saturday’s announcement, favorable impressions of Ryan jumped 15 percentage points among the overall electorate with positive views soaring from 49 to 70 percent among conservative Republicans.

In Wednesday through Friday interviews, fully 45 percent of Americans expressed no opinion of Ryan, dropping to 30 percent on Saturday and Sunday. The increasing familiarity all went to the positive side of the ledger, giving Ryan an initial advantage in the sprint to define his candidacy.

Overall, in interviews after his selection, 38 percent of all Americans express favorable views of Ryan, 33 percent negative ones. (Before the the announcement, Ryan was somewhat underwater, scoring 23 percent favorable, 32 unfavorable.) The most recent national numbers on Vice President Joe Biden are from a July Pew Research Center poll showing a split decision, 40 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable.

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Paul Ryan’s budget: Democrats’ ace in the hole?

Conservatives will be thrilled with the selection of their favored pick, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), as Mitt Romney’s running mate, but Democratic campaign operatives may be just as excited.

Democrats have gotten significant mileage out of attacking the budget Ryan has proposed as chairman of the House Budget Committee, particularly the portion of it that would turn Medicare into a voucher program.

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Winners and losers from the Paul Ryan VP pick

For the better part of the last two months — and for some of us far longer than that — the Republican vice presidential sweepstakes has dominated the thought of any political junkie worth his or her name.

Now that we know the identity of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick — it’s Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, in case you have been in a news blackout since Friday night — the last major piece of the 2012 presidential puzzle has been fit into place.

Given the high stakes of the veepstakes, now that it’s over we thought it would be worth sorting through the entrails to come up with some winners and, of course, some losers from the process that was.

Our picks are after the jump. Have some winners/losers of your own? The comments section awaits.

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Mitt Romney goes bold (and risky) with Paul Ryan vice presidential pick

The news that Mitt Romney has chosen Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee today in Norfolk, Virginia amounts to a decidedly bold stroke for the typical risk-averse GOP presidential candidate, a pick that will almost certainly turn the race into a choice between two competing — and strikingly contrasting — visions for the country.

Ryan, a seven term Congressman from Wisconsin, has emerged from (relative) obscurity in the last several years to become the intellectual and policy center of the Republican party thanks in large part to the budget proposal he has offered that would, among other things, fundamentally re-shape Medicare and other social safety net programs in an attempt to get the country’s fiscal house in order.

While that proposal has won him kudos among Republicans, it’s turned him into something of a whipping boy for Democrats, who insist that Ryan’s budget is not only bad policy but also bad politics. In fact, Democrats were openly rooting for Romney to pick Ryan as his VP over the past week, believing that it could well help their efforts to keep control of the Senate and win back the House in November.

In naming Ryan to the national ticket, Romney is sending a simple message to those Democrats: Bring it.

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The Fix’s Final Five Republican VP picks

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney continues to offer few clues about the identity of his vice presidential pick or the timing of the announcement — “I don’t think I have anything for you on the VP running mate,” Romney told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday — but with the Republican National Convention just 17 days away, we know the decision is close.

U.S. representative (R-WI) Paul Ryan attends a vigil in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August 7, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress

Despite the tight-lippedness (is that a word?) of Romneyworld when it comes to the veepstakes, it does now appear that the short list is getting shorter.

Below are our rankings of the five men — yes, they are all men — most likely to get the nod from Romney. These rankings are a combination of reporting, buzz and gut — all in relatively equal measure.

The number one ranked candidate is considered Romney’s most likely VP pick. To the Line!

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The vice presidential pick is overrated. Here’s why.

The political world — up to and including this blog — is consumed at the moment with trying to divine the identity of Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick. Travel schedules are pored over, public statements are parsed, Wikipedia is consulted.

Lyndon B. Johnson (second from left), the last VP pick that really mattered - CREDIT: ASSOCIATED PRESS.
Given that level of attention, you would think that the pick is of the utmost importance in the presidential race, that a look back at past picks reveals make or break moments centered on the identity of the presidential nominee’s ticketmate.

Not so much.

The simple reality is that the vice presidential pick — viewed through the lens of recent history — has almost no broad influence on the fate of the ticket and, to the extent the VP choice has mattered, it’s been in a negative way.

“VP picks can provide a temporary burst of excitement to a ticket, but pretty soon things settle down and the race is once again about the man at the top,” said Ari Fleischer, a former Bush Administration official. “With communications reaching everywhere for the last few decades, the race is about the presidency, not the vice-presidency.”

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The case against Paul Ryan for vice president

On Tuesday we made the case for why Mitt Romney should pick Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee.

Today we argue the opposite case.

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Five reasons why David Petraeus won’t be the VP

Five reasons why David Petraeus won’t be the VP

Speculation that Gen. David Petraeus may be under (super secret) consideration as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s running mate — fueled by a report in the Drudge Report — is running wild in political Washington today.

While it’s an interesting distraction on a slow political news day, the Petraeus pick just ain’t happening. Here’s why — in five easy steps.

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The case for Paul Ryan to be vice president

Welcome to the Paul Ryan vice presidential boomlet.

In the past 48 hours or so, talk of the Wisconsin Republican Congressman as Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president has surged — largely due to a piece written in the Weekly Standard urging the GOP presidential nominee to choose Ryan.

Ryan has been a mainstay on our Veepstakes Line — in which we rank the top contenders to be Romney’s pick — for months, and in our last list he was our #3 choice behind only Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty .

With so much chatter about Ryan, we thought now was a good time to make our cases for and against him to be Romney’s ticketmate. We tackle the case for Ryan today and the case against him later in the week.

(And make sure to check out our cases for and against Portman and for and against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for vice president.)

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Cheney walks back remark about Palin pick being ‘a mistake’

Former vice president Dick Cheney on Monday backed off his comment that it was “a mistake” for the GOP to pick Sarah Palin as its vice presidential nominee, suggesting the comment was more about the VP process than about Palin herself.

“It wasn’t aimed so much at governor Palin as it was against the basic process that (John) McCain used, “ Cheney told Fox News’s Sean Hannity in an interview airing Monday night. “My point basically dealt with the process in terms of that basic requirement: Is this person prepared to step in to be President of the United States when they’re picked? And it was my judgment — I was asked if I thought the McCain process in ‘08 had been well done or was it a mistake, and I said I thought it was a mistake.”

Former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, right, talks with Lonnie Robb, of Nazareth, Tex. on Saturday in LaVista, Neb. Palin was in the area after having lunch with Nebraska GOP senate candidate Deb Fischer. (Kent Sievers — AP Photo/The Omaha World-Herald)

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The case against Rob Portman for vice president

Earlier this week, we made the case that Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is the perfect vice presidential pick for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Today we argue the opposite case — a case that can be summed up by three “B’s”: Bush, budget and boring. (If you want a much longer case against Portman, be sure to check out the Democratic super PAC American Bridge’s briefing book on him.)

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Palin hits back at Cheney over ‘mistake’ comments

Sarah Palin is hitting back at former vice president Dick Cheney’s contention that her selection as the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee was “a mistake.”

Palin suggested that Cheney is buying into a false media narrative and, in the process, made a joke about the vice president’s quail-hunting accident in which he accidentally shot his friend. (Palin’s comments on Cheney begin at the 7-minute mark.)

“Seeing as how Dick — excuse me, Vice President Cheney — never misfires, then evidently he’s quite convinced that what he had evidently read about me by the lamestream media, having been written, what I believe is a false narrative over the last four years,” Palin said Tuesday night on Fox News. “Evidently Dick Cheney believed that stuff, and that’s a shame.”

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The case for Rob Portman to be vice president

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign unveiled an app — you can download it here — this morning that will be the first place where they announce the former Massachusetts governor’s pick to be his vice president.

That means one thing: We are getting close.

With the day of reckoning rapidly approaching, we continue our “case for/case against” treatment of the top contenders for the VP pick. (If you missed our case for and case against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal make sure to check them out.)

Today we make the case for Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the presumed frontrunner for the veep slot. Later this week, we’ll make the case against him.

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Cheney says picking Palin for V.P. was ‘a mistake’

This post has been updated.

Former vice president Dick Cheney said in an interview with ABC News that Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) decision to pick Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008 was “a mistake.”

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“I like Governor Palin. I’ve met her. I know her. She – attractive candidate,” Cheney told ABC’s Jonathan Karl. “But based on her background, she’d only been governor for, what, two years. I don’t think she passed that test … of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake.”

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The veepstakes: Condi’s up, Portman and McDonnell feel the love (VIDEO)

Could Condoleezza Rice help Mitt Romney win the election?

Two new polls show that as Romney’s running mate, the former secretary of state, would help him close the gap both nationally and in Pennsylvania, moving him up 4 and 6 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, Sen. Rob Portman’s state GOP chairman says his guy would do the same in Ohio, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell gets a little on-the-record love from Romney’s top vice presidential adviser.

It’s all in our weekly installment of who’s up and who’s down in the veepstakes...

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How ‘You didn’t build that’ hurts Pawlenty’s VP chances

Mitt Romney’s campaign looks like it intends to make a major issue out of President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment.

And that may not bode well for Tim Pawlenty’s chances of being Romney’s vice president.

Romney’s campaign has gone whole-hog after Obama’s remark to business owners, and Republicans believe the attack is working in spades. But if that’s the message, then Pawlenty may not be an ideal messenger as Romney’s No. 2.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) calls potential voters from his campaign headquarters in Charleston, S.C., in January. Romney is joined by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), left, and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. (Jim Young/Reuters)

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The Condoleezza Rice effect

Condoleezza Rice isn’t likely to be Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president, but a new poll suggests that she would be a big help if she were.

Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice answers questions from reporters at Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss., on April 17. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP) (Rogelio V. Solis - AP)
The former secretary of state is the clear choice of Republican voters to be Romney’s vice president, according to a new Fox News poll that shows her garnering the support of 30 percent of them. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is second with 19 percent.

The more interesting number, though, is what Rice could do for Romney on the ballot.

While President Obama leads Romney overall 45 percent to 41 percent, adding Rice to Romney’s ticket shifts many of the remaining undecided voters to the Republican side, creating a 46 percent to 46 percent tie.

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The veepstakes: Pawlenty’s up, Rubio’s down (VIDEO)

It’s getting to crunch time in the veepstakes, with rumors flying that Mitt Romney’s short list is taking shape and that he may announce his pick as early as this week.

In this week’s veepstakes video, we take a look at a trio of the top names being bandied about and let you know who’s up and who’s down in the greatest parlor game in Washington.

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The case for Bobby Jindal to be vice president

With the Republican National Convention now only 40 days off, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney appears to be moving into the final stages of picking his vice presidential nominee — with some people even speculating that the announcement could come as soon as this week.

While we remain skeptical that Romney will make the pick any time before mid-August, there are signs that the process is nearing its conclusion.

Reuters’ Steve Holland reported on Tuesday that the Romney short list is down to Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.), Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) and former governor Tim Pawlenty (Minn.). And, the Romney campaign announced this week that it has hired Randy Bumps and Kevin Sheridan to serve as senior staffers to the vice presidential nominee whenever he (or she) is picked.

Given those signs as well as the (relatively) narrow time frame left for Romney, we thought now was the right time to begin making our cases for and against the most likely vice presidential picks.

We kick it all off today by making the case for Jindal. Tomorrow we’ll make the case against him.

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Condoleezza Rice for vice president? Nope (still).

Speculation about Condoleezza Rice’s vice presidential hopes has gone through the roof thanks to a Drudge Report banner headline late Thursday saying the former secretary of state now leads the list of contenders.

Consider us skeptical ... at best.

The Fix has already sorted through the evidence when it comes to Rice and Mitt Romney’s No. 2 slot. Below is a snippet of what The Fix Boss wrote a couple weeks back (and see the whole piece here):

Combine the coverage of the last few days together and, voila!, you have an emerging storyline that Condi could well be the best vice presidential pick for Romney.
Except that it isn’t going to happen. It just isn’t.

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The veepstakes: Walker’s up, Christie’s down (VIDEO)

As we noted earlier today, we are less than a month and a half away from the conclusion of the veepstakes. (!)

That means it’s crunch time for politicians who would love to be on the ticket with Mitt Romney.

In our weekly veepstakes video, we take a look at three contenders who are making moves, and whether their stock is rising or falling.

Condoleezza Rice for vice president? Nope.

It’s happening again. Chatter is rising in political (and non-political) circles about the prospect of Bush Administration Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice being tapped as the Republican vice presidential nominee this fall.

Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice talks to reporters at Mississippi College in Clinton, Miss., on April 17.
Much of the Condi buzz is attributable to her reported star turn over the weekend at a Park City, Utah retreat for donors and supporters of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Wrote ABC’s Shushannah Walshe and Arlette Saenz:

“Many of those same attendees said the star speaker of the weekend was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who received a standing ovation. Ambassador Charles Cobb, who served as ambassador to Iceland from 1989 to 1992, said Rice was ‘spectacular’ and described her as a ‘very bright, sophisticated, articulate lady.’”

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Mitch Daniels is Purdue’s next president

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) has been named the next president of Purdue University, virtually assuring that the popular two-term incumbent will not be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels answers question during a news conference after being named as the next president of Purdue University by the school's trustees in West Lafayette, Ind., Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Purdue announced Daniels as its new president Thursday, two days after anonymous sources indicated that he would be elected to the position. Daniels and Purdue had not commented on the reports.

Daniels will assume the job in January, when his term concludes and a new governor is sworn in. Between now and then, he will not be stumping for Republicans, including Romney.

“Effective immediately, I will recuse myself from any partisan political activities or commentary,” Daniels said.

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Marco Rubio and the dangers of VP reporting

Marco Rubio and the dangers of VP reporting

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said late Tuesday that Marco Rubio is being fully vetted as a potential vice presidential pick, directly rebutting reporting that the Florida Senator was not in the running.

What this episode reveals — for the umpteenth time in the history of the veepstakes — is that reporting on who will or won’t be the vice presidential pick is fraught with peril.

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Marco Rubio isn’t being vetted as VP: What does it tell us? (Or maybe he is)

NOTE: Mitt Romney said late Tuesday that Marco Rubio is in fact being thoroughly vetted by his vice presidential selection team — contrary to previous report that said he was not.


The news that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio isn’t being seriously vetted by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential selection team is both surprising and enlightening.

FILE - In this April 23, 2012, file photo Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, campaigning with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks to reporters in Aston, Pa. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Surprising because many people — the Fix included — had touted him early and often as a potential frontrunner to be Romney’s number two. (Heck, we compared him to Lionel Messi!)

Enlightening because it provides us a window into the sort of person that Romney (and Beth Myers, his head of vice presidential vetting) are looking for in a running mate.

That person? Someone whose credentials and readiness are beyond question. And, more than likely, someone who calls to mind “plain” more than “pizzazz”.

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Reports: Daniels to take top job at Purdue

It looks like you can cross Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) off your list of potential vice presidents for Mitt Romney.

Daniels will be tapped by Purdue University as its next president on Thursday, according to multiple local reports. Daniels is reportedly expected to serve out his term, which ends in January 2013, and assume the job then.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels leaves the White House after a meeting of the National Governors Association with President Obama on Feb. 27. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Jeb Bush’s Clintonian quest

The first families of the two major American political parties are proving to be a little bit of a thorn in their teams’ sides these days.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on June 1. (J. Scott Applewhite — Associated Press)
First it was Bill Clinton wandering off-message a couple times in recent weeks, seeming to depart from the Obama campaign’s line on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital and ending tax cuts for the wealthy.

Now, it’s become quite clear that Jeb Bush, son and brother to the 41st and 43rd presidents respectively, is on a quest to push his party away from the political extreme.

And, in fact, the efforts are somewhat comparable.

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Scott Walker for vice president? Maybe next time (VIDEO)

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) big victory in Tuesday’s recall election has many Republicans drooling over their new star.

But don’t expect Walker on the GOP ticket this year.

Below, we explore why ...

Mike Huckabee goes from pole position to VP dark horse (video)

At the start of the presidential campaign, it seemed Mike Huckabee would be a favorite for the GOP presidential ticket if Mitt Romney won the nomination.

But the former Arkansas governor seems to have slipped from the national consciousness in the last several months – so much so that he’s rarely mentioned as a potential running mate for Romney, or even mentioned, period.

Which is a little odd.
Then-Republican presidential candidate and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty listens as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee speaks to Pawlenty supporters at the Iowa Straw Poll last August. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Is the vice presidency worth having?

Is the vice presidency worth having?

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush doesn’t want to be Mitt Romney’s vice president. Just ask him.

After an Italian newspaper purported to have an exclusive interview with Bush in which he left the door open to the vice presidency, Team Bush quickly stamped out the idea.

Nothing has changed, Gov. Bush will not be candidate for VP,”a Bush spokeswoman told Yahoo News Wednesday.

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Weeding out process begins for the veepstakes (VIDEO)

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is looking like a very unlikely vice-presidential pick for Mitt Romney.

Martinez, who has already said she wouldn’t leave the state because of a developmentally disabled sister, has now also come out against Romney’s illegal immigration policy, saying: “Self-deportation? What the heck does that mean?”

But she’s not the only one separating herself from the veepstakes.

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What you need to know about Rob Portman (VIDEO)

Is Sen. Rob Portman the odds-on favorite to become Mitt Romney’s vice presidential candidate?

That certainly seems the be the emerging conventional wisdom in Washington, where a recent informal poll of insiders by National Journal showed 58 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of Republicans thought Romney should pick the Ohio senator.

But while insiders know plenty about Portman, many of you probably don’t. In that case, we urge you to check out BuzzFeed’s great list of “15 Genuinely Interesting Things About Rob Portman.”

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Chris Christie tames the New Jersey political beast

Chris Christie is really, really popular — by New Jersey standards.

Christie’s 56 percent approval rating in a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll this week may not seem all that remarkable, but when it comes to New Jersey, it is.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (Jonathan Ernst - Reuters)

The reason: New Jersey voters are notoriously tough on their politicians.

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Could David Rivera cost Marco Rubio the vice presidency?

Could David Rivera cost Marco Rubio the vice presidency?

You can sum up Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s biggest impediment to being chosen vice president in two words: David Rivera.

Rivera is the very controversial Florida U.S. House member who remains under FBI and IRS investigation for a series of campaign finance irregularities that led Miami-Dade prosecutors to conclude recently that the Sunshine State Republican “essentially live[d] off” donations from campaign contributors for the better part of a decade. (Those prosecutors did not bring criminal charges against Rivera — though it’s worth reading the full 16-page memo on their findings here.)

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Republican Veepstakes: Plain is the new pizzazz

Republican Veepstakes: Plain is the new pizzazz

Before you can make even a guess at who former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will pick as his vice presidential running mate, you have to decide what this election is really about.

Is it a referendum on President Obama’s first four years in office? Or is it a choice between the policies and personalities of Romney and Obama?

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The Republican Party’s Catholic cadre. . .coming soon

Forget Mormonism; the real story in the Republican Party right now is the rise of the Catholics.

Republicans, who according to Smart Politics have put a Catholic on the ticket just once before (vice presidential candidate William Miller in 1964), seem to be experiencing something of a Catholic renaissance.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) addresses a crowd at a town hall meeting in Manchester, N.J. Christie, like most other potential GOP vice presidential nominees, is Catholic, but the party has only had a Catholic on the ticket once before. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

First, a pair of Catholics in Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum gave Mitt Romney a run for his money in the nominating contest, and now, four of the five politicians seen as most likely to join Romney on the ticket are Catholic as well.

Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) — four of the five most likely GOP VP choices, according to InTrade — are all Catholic, not to mention other people thought to be contenders, like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.), New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.).

In other words, most of the top contenders are Catholic.

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Pick your vice presidential nominee!

There’s no greater guessing game in political Washington than speculating about the identity of the Republican vice presidential nominee.

Candidates are regularly touted, torn down and touted again — all within a few newscycles. We’ve already written extensively about the potential frontrunner — It’s Portman! No, it’s Rubio! — but now we are giving you the chance to play the strategist and make the pick on who should join former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on the ticket this fall.

Do you want someone from the establishment wing of the GOP or the tea party end? A safe choice or a potential game changer? A Senator, a governor or someone with no experience in elected office?

Play our “pick your own vice president” game below. You may be surprised by who you choose!

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Marco Rubio, the veepstakes, and the clam strategy

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is trying a new tack when asked about the GOP vice presidential slot: the clam strategy.

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Rubio said he will no longer engage in the veepstakes parlor game, in which he fields questions ad nauseam about whether he’s interested in the Republican vice presidential nomination.

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Why a vice presidential candidate’s home state doesn’t matter (much)

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have a leg up in the GOP veepstakes, the logic goes, because they come from extremely valuable swing states.

It’s certainly a fair argument; but it’s also over-sold.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

If history has shown us anything, it’s that the home state of a potential vice presidential nominee shouldn’t be over-estimated as a factor in the process. In fact, it’s relatively rare that a presidential nominee picks a running mate from a swing state with an eye toward picking up that state’s electoral votes in November.

Over the last 40 years, only three vice presidential picks (out of 15) have come from legitimately competitive swing states, and the last one came in 1992 when Bill Clinton picked then-Sen.Al Gore and went on to carry Gore’s home state of Tennessee twice. (And Tennessee wasn’t really considered all that much of a swing state back then.)

Before that, the last two swing-state VP nominees were Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (D-N.Y.) in 1984 and Texan George H.W. Bush in 1980, when their states were more competitive than they are today.

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Rob Portman is the insider’s VP pick. That’s a bad thing.

Rob Portman is the insider’s VP pick. That’s a bad thing.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s (R) vice presidential chances seemed to get a nice boost over the weekend: an informal survey of Republican party insiders showed that he was their top choice to be former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s running mate this fall.

Two thirds of the state party chairmen and Republican National committeemen and women polled by the online news site BuzzFeed said that the Ohio senator was the most likely and best pick to be Romney’s running mate.

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$200k missing from pro-Huntsman PAC

Rubio with an apparent Freudian slip on the veepstakes; youth sour on Obama; $200,000 goes missing from Jon Huntsman’s political action committee; and North Carolina’s Democratic Party chairman isn’t stepping down.

Make sure to sign up to get “Afternoon Fix” in your e-mail inbox every day by 5 (ish) p.m!

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Stephen Colbert on Republican veepstakes (VIDEO)

The Fix is a big fan of Stephen Colbert. (And, yes, this is a blatant ploy to get on the “Colbert Report” when the “Gospel According to the Fix” comes out in July.)

Colbert — along with partner in crime Jon Stewart — do more politics than almost anyone else on cable television and, yes, they have influence.

So, we thought it worth flagging to Fix readers that Colbert did an entire segment on the Republican vice presidential sweepstakes — and specifically Ohio Sen. Rob Portman — on Wednesday night.

Here’s the segment:

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Hillary Clinton for vice president: The rumor that just won’t die

On Wednesday night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to talk about the various threats that face the United States across the globe .. and whether she is going to replace Vice President Joe Biden on the national ticket in 2012.

Here’s the exchange:

BLITZER: “If the president of the United States says, ‘Madame Secretary I need you on the ticket this year in order to beat Romney,’ are you ready to run as his vice presidential running mate?”
CLINTON: “That is not going to happen. That’s like saying if the Olympic Committee called you up and said, ‘Are you ready to run the marathon would you accept.’ Well, it is not going to happen.”

So, you’re telling me there’s a chance?!

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Jim DeMint conducts his own VP search

South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who has built a political brand for himself in recent years by searching out conservative GOP Senate candidates, is now sticking his nose in the GOP vice presidential search.

DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund is hosting a poll on its website asking supporters who they would like to see as the party’s No. 2 on the ticket this fall, using The Fix’s list of the 10 frontrunners in the so-called “veepstakes.”

And at least so far, the results aren’t close.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) speaks in Washington last October. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

With 3,000 votes (and counting) in, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is the clear leader with more than 40 percent of the vote, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is second with 23 percent, according to results provided to The Fix.

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Republican Rep. Allen West says many congressional Democrats are Communists

Republican Rep. Allen West says many congressional Democrats are Communists

Updated at 5:27 p.m.

Consider this Reason No. 41 that Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) won’t be the GOP’s vice presidential nominee:

At an event late Tuesday — shortly after The Fix wrote about how West is too much of a bomb-thrower to be the GOP’s vice presidential nominee — the freshman congressman suggested that as many as 81 Democrats in Congress are not only secret Communists, but actual members of the Communist Party.

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Allen West for vice president: Why it’s not happening

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) has quietly emerged as a — if not the — favorite of the tea party element for the GOP’s vice presidential nomination.

Herman Cain became the latest big-name Republican to pitch the Florida congressman for the job on Monday, calling him an “excellent choice.” Cain joins Sarah Palin , Newt Gingrich , and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley in pitching West, who this weekend confirmed that, if called, he would probably take the job.

And, in a lot of ways, it makes sense.

West is, after all, a favorite of the conservative base, comes from an invaluable state in the presidential race, has shown he can raise big money, is a great speaker, and as an African-American veteran of the Iraq war, carries the kind of profile that Republicans would love — LOVE — to have on the ticket. West, on the surface, would be a great balance to a business-friendly Northeastern governor with a more moderate past in Mitt Romney. (He even sings! Though not as well as Cain.)

But it’s not happening, for several reasons.

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Nikki Haley’s succession problem

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley insists she will not be the Republican vice presidential nominee this year, going so far as to argue that she would turn down the job if it were offered to her.

But the ship may have sailed on that offer a few weeks back when her lieutenant governor resigned in the face of an indictment.
Crowd members listen as South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) discusses a plan to bring meaningful tax relief to South Carolina families and businesses during a stop in Garden City, S.C., last month. (AP Photo/The Sun News, Steve Jessmore)

No, the episode wasn’t politically damaging to Haley; the now-ex-lieutenant governor, Ken Ard, was elected separately from her.

But it does raise a troubling succession issue for her as it relates to the vice presidential sweepstakes.

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Paul Ryan’s rapidly-improving vice presidential prospects

Paul Ryan’s rapidly-improving vice presidential prospects

When we did our inaugural rankings of the ten men and women most likely to wind up as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate this fall, we had Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan ranked 10th.

Within seconds, we received a slew of emails, Tweets and Facebook messages from people — political professionals and not — insisting that Ryan was ranked far too low.

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Who will Mitt Romney pick as vice president? A conservative.

Who will Mitt Romney pick as vice president? A conservative.

In our Monday newspaper column, we speculated that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s choices for vice president are actually far more limited than you might think.

While dozens of people are part of the great mentioning, the truth is that — if history is any guide — Romney’s only real option is to pick someone regarded by conservatives as one of them.

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Why Marco Rubio’s endorsement matters to Mitt Romney

Why Marco Rubio’s endorsement matters to Mitt Romney

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s decision to formally endorse Mitt Romney’s presidential bid on Wednesday night doesn’t matter all that much in and of itself.

After all, the Florida Republican presidential primary was almost two months ago and everyone already knows that Rubio will be one of the major contenders to be vice president when Romney makes his pick later this summer. (He is ranked #1 in our vice presidential Line.)

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Veepstakes 2012: The Inaugural Edition

Veepstakes 2012: The Inaugural Edition

There is nothing — literally, nothing — that the Fix loves more in politics than the speculation surrounding who the presidential candidate will pick as his vice presidential running mate.

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Vice President Rob Portman?

If you didn’t know by now, The Fix is skeptical that political endorsements matter much. If they matter at all. But if there’s one that has mattered in the 2012 presidential race to date, it might be that of Rob Portman.

The freshman Ohio senator and former Office of Management and Budget director during the Bush years is getting plenty of kudos for his work to help former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney win narrowly in the Ohio primary on Tuesday.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (C) tours Gregory Industries with Executive Vice President Matt Gregory (R) and U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) during a campaign stop in Canton, Ohio, over the weekend. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

And for a guy who got a fair amount of vice presidential buzz four years ago, it’s likely that Portman will be a major player in the veepstakes as the year goes on. (The Portman chatter is starting already.)

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How will Marco Rubio’s past affect his political future?

How will Marco Rubio’s past affect his political future?

The news that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio had, at times over the years, wrongly recounted the timeline of his parents’ arrival in America is the first major test for the national Republican party’s fastest rising star.

The story, reported by the Post’s Manuel Roig-Franzia, makes clear that Rubio’s parents emigrated from Cuba before not after dictator Fidel Castro came to power.

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