Will Mitt Romney Announce VP Today?
Mitt Romney, left met with campaign aides, including Beth Myers, at his vacation home in New Hampshire this month.
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They have instructed possible No. 2's to fill out a questionnaire with about 80 detailed and sometimes intrusive questions covering the financial and the personal, including, "Have you ever been unfaithful?"
And they have listened for political intangibles that are subjective but potent, like: is a candidate's style of speaking inviting or grating?
The Romney campaign has cloaked its vetting of possible vice-presidential nominees in layers of secrecy, so much so that it is even considering using a decoy -- two sets of planes, two rollout locations, for example -- to try to keep the selection from leaking out.
But as Mr. Romney prepares to unveil his pick, interviews with those inside and outside the campaign offer a glimpse into the scope and depth of the three-month process and the intense lobbying that he has faced from donors, operatives and elected officials trying to influence his choice. (Karl Rove, Jeb Bush and Senator Mitch McConnell, for example, have talked up Senator Marco Rubio.)
Mr. Romney's possible running mates, who have handed over reams of documents to the campaign, have probably opened themselves to a greater level of scrutiny than the candidate himself, especially on the thorny question of taxes. Mr. Romney has said he will disclose federal tax returns covering two years by Election Day, far fewer than the 23 years' worth that he handed over to Senator John McCain as a possible vice-presidential pick in 2008.
With their leave-no-document-unturned thoroughness, advisers to the candidate readily acknowledge that he has conducted a search specifically designed to avoid the kind of rushed and risky selection of Sarah Palin that ultimately bedeviled Mr. McCain four years ago, a choice that startled Mr. Romney as much as anyone.
Friends and advisers say that after assessing basic qualifications and personal chemistry, Mr. Romney has been guided by a simple principle: do no harm to the ticket.
Mr. Romney could disclose his pick as early as this week or after returning from a trip abroad the first week of August, according to those close to him.
The campaign has already started sketching out the stagecraft of a vice-presidential debut. A longtime Republican operative, Randy Bumps, who served as a chief strategist for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the 2010 midterm elections, has relocated to Boston to oversee the introduction, people familiar with the move said. And a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee, Kevin Sheridan, will become the communications director for the person selected.
Source: The New York Times | ASHLEY PARKER and MICHAEL BARBARO
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