Those Republicans hoping to make Mitt Romney’s VP short list have a delicate dance to pull off – they want to express interest in the position, without looking desperate. The unwritten rules for potential running mates is to feign passive disinterest, saying noncommittal things like “I have no intention of being the running mate” or “I’m happy with the job I already have.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) have arguably gone too far in the other direction – both have said recently, on the record, that they would turn down a VP offer if they were invited to join the ticket.
Over the weekend, the Albuquerque Journal reported that New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R), the nation’s first Latina female governor, was even more adamant about ruling out a vice presidential nod.
…Martinez insists that when she says “no,” she means it.
Martinez told the Journal recently that her responsibility as guardian of her developmentally disabled sister, Lettie, in Las Cruces is one that she can’t take to Washington, D.C., regardless of who calls.
“The family has to be a consideration, and for me to take (my sister) to Washington would be to separate her from … the family that’s down there, and that would be devastating,” Martinez said. “I just couldn’t do it.”
The governor added that she gave her word to voters that she would serve a full term, and she’s not prepared to break her promise.
Admittedly, there are examples of politicians giving firm denials and then joining their party’s ticket anyway, but Martinez certainly sounds like she means it.
In the larger context, this puts Republicans in an awkward spot: the number of notable GOP officials rushing to stay off Romney’s VP list seems larger than the list of those clamoring to get on it.
What’s more, if Romney starts to look like a candidate likely to lose, this may get worse, with likely 2016 candidates becoming even more adamant about steering clear of this year’s ticket. Running mates from unsuccessful presidential campaigns often fail to get their party’s nomination four years later – just ask Sarah Palin, John Edwards, and Joe Lieberman.
As for what the rumored players are saying, Emily Schultheis has a good round-up of quotes from the usual suspects.