It's the only mystery left in the 2012 Presidential campaign. If you were presumptive GOP nominee, who would you choose as your running mate?
For Mitt Romney, the possibilities still could be endless. But only one can fill the bill.
Handicapping the choice has been going on for months. A sitting or former governor? There's a lot to consider. A current U.S. Senator? How about a woman? Someone who balances out the ticket geography-wise? A firebrand speaker who can be the attack dog, which the vice president's role has been in recent years? Someone who can attract both Democrats and independents? Or perhaps someone with, as some would say, true right-wing bona fides?
The short list is down to three. But frankly, who would want a job that former FDR veep John Nance Garner likened to a warm bucket of spit (it actually was a "warm quart of spit")?
- Bobby Jindal: A former congressman and now governor of Louisiana, Jindal has solid conservative credentials, is anti-choice and opposes same-sex marriage. A critic of the Affordable Care Act, Jindal has vehemently attacked President Barack Obama on issues from education to tax policy. While he made an unspectacular response to Obama's first State of Union address, he has since recovered. He could provide some diversity to the ticket.
- U.S. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. A solid conservative, who backs the GOP agenda down the line, Portman was U.S. Trade Representative and director of the Office and Management and Budget under President George Bush. He also was counsel to President George H.W.Bush. Portman, who also was a Congressman, could bring solid government experience to the ticket and help Romney carry the critical swing state of Ohio.
- Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. A former candidate for President, Pawlenty, an evangelical, is liked by the GOP establishment and its constituencies. As governor, Pawlenty restricted abortion and expanded gun rights. But some wonder about his real interest in the job. But is he too bland to be vice president?
Talking heads on television, party leaders and groups with plenty of political clout in the GOP have kicked in their two-cents worth. The names of Chris Christie and Nikki Haley, governors of New Jersey and South Carolina, respectively, have been floated but neither has expressed interest in the job.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has been considered, and pundits say he could help Romney in the critical battleground state of Florida and help sway Hispanics to vote Republican. But alas, nothing has come of that; not yet anyway.
Trial balloons aplenty have gone up. Take former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. She would supply the solid foreign policy credentials that are lacking in Romney. The Boston Herald, a venerable conservative paper, thinks she's a solid choice. But there are issues. Right wingers say she's liberal on choice, an issue that has long galvanized the right. But she has too much baggage and wind up as a huge distraction to the campaign, according to The Atlantic.
What do you think? Take our poll or submit your own name. If you tack on a choice, please say why he or she would be great for the job.