- Created on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 10:15
As I previously stated, Romney will select Senator Rob Portman of Ohio as his running mate. You can find that piece here. Nothing has changed my thinking. I said you could take that prediction to the bank, and I stand by that bold, brazen, unequivocal statement. But in case we needed it, Romney effectively confirmed yesterday that he is not considering Senator Macro Rubio of Florida for the ticket.
Romney appeared briefly before reporters in Holland, Michigan to deny a report by ABC News that Rubio was not being vetted for the vice presidential nomination. “Marco Rubio is being thoroughly vetted as part of our process,” Romney said.
This means that Romney has no intention of selecting Rubio.
Why is that?
Romney has every reason to stoke up speculation about his potential running mate. Heightened interest keeps his campaign in the news and makes the selection appear valuable. The Romney campaign wants as much buzz as possible. Moreover, Romney flatters politicians by signaling that he is considering them. It gives them stature. Conversely, with one exception, it’s an indignity to have it known that one is not being considered. So we can expect that as time goes on we will be hearing plenty of rumors.
Romney wants to work as much misdirection in the process as possible. He needs the ultimate choice to be at least a bit of a surprise. He hopes the announcement will be big news. That’s when he wants profiles of the vice presidential nominee running in broadcasts and newspapers. That’s when he wants to bask in the reflected glory of his so very wise and savvy choice. Romney does not want the selection, when announced, to be greeted with a yawn.
As mentioned in passing above, there is one exception to the rule that it’s an affront when everyone believes that one is not being considered. That exception is person ultimately chosen.
Romney said yesterday: “I can’t imagine who [ABC’s unnamed sources] are. But I can tell you this: They know nothing about the vice presidential selection or evaluation process. There are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not, and that’s Beth Myers [who heads the selection team] and myself. And I know Beth well. She doesn't talk to anybody. The story was entirely false.”
If he were seriously considering Rubio, Romney would have stopped there. But he didn’t stop there.
Romney went on to add that Rubio was being “thoroughly vetted.” That, as poker players and con artists put it, was “the tell” – the unintended giveaway that, in fact, he is not considering Rubio.