Speculation Grows Over Romney VP Pick

Time is running out for Mitt Romney to make his vice presidential selection, as speculation intensifies over whom the presumptive Republican nominee will choose as his running mate — and when.

The moment will be the biggest one yet for Romney, who will use the selection to set the tone for the remainder of his campaign — and try to derail an Obama campaign that has steadily protected leads in pivotal swing states.

Republican strategists say Romney's weekend bus tour through these swing states — including stops in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio — could be the perfect occasion to both regain momentum and debut his running mate.

"Those states — those aren't swing states, those are must-have-for-Romney states," said GOP strategist Ford O'Connell. "He needs them to win, which is leading to the vice presidential speculation. They're starting to realize the clock is ticking, and they need to make a push to win over white, middle-class workers in those states with a message about the future and where the party is going, which is why in some ways it's an ideal time."

And a heavy emphasis on female and Hispanic speakers in the early wave of convention announcements suggests Republicans could be looking to bracket a white male pick by Romney.

"They need to be inclusive, which we saw with the first round of speakers," said O'Connell. "They realize that the Republican Party cannot be seen just as old white fat men."

Meanwhile, Democrats are looking to take advantage of their two-on-one campaigning advantage while they still have it. Vice President Biden visited the swing state of Nevada over the weekend, speaking to the Disabled American Veterans national convention. And Biden was an active part of the Obama campaign's response to rebut claims by Romney that the president's team was looking to restrict military early voting rights in Ohio.

"Biden's a big part of the campaign's connection to the type of blue-collar voters that can swing the election — more so than any Democrat than possibly Clinton," O'Connell said. "The Obama campaign knows they won after having their best turnout with white males since 1976 last time, and that's not going to be there, so you see them really taking it into consideration."

Read more from Justin Sink at The Hill

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published this page in In The News 2012-08-07 13:30:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy