Romney’s three VP finalists: Pawlenty (the loyal outsider), Portman (the insider), and Ryan (the crusader)… GOPers are currently split over whether Romney should pick Ryan… New Q-polls: Romney leads in CO – where Obama stumps today – but trails in VA and WI… The Romney camp’s danger in elevating Bill Clinton: You turn him into a fair observer just before his primetime convention speech… New Romney and Priorities USA TV ads play loose with the facts… Romney Hood vs. Obamaloney… McCaskill gets her man… And conservatives in MO and KS wage (and win) the “Border War.”
*** The final three: We can say with a high degree of confidence that Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick has largely come down to three men: former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. And it’s more than possible that Romney has already made up his mind. All three VP finalists bring something different to the table. Pawlenty is the loyal outsider, who would enable a Romney-Pawlenty ticket to run as former governors vowing to take on Washington; Pawlenty also potentially would add some blue-collar appeal to the ticket. Portman would be the insider, someone who knows the ways of Washington and who could help govern starting on Day 1. And Ryan would be the crusader, who wants to substantially transform America’s entitlement programs and who would excite a good portion of the GOP’s conservative base. Indeed, Ryan has emerged a VERY REAL possibility, but he also brings the most risk. If Romney selects him, it’s more than conceivable that the dominant campaign discussion in the fall won’t be the economy – but rather the deficit and Medicare. Of course, there was already a good chance the Ryan plan will get plenty attention regardless of Romney’s VP pick.
*** Bold vs. cautious GOPers divided on Ryan: Politico writes that Republican observers are split on Ryan. “Ryan advocates, including some of his colleagues and high-profile conservative elites, believe Romney will lose if he doesn’t make a more assertive case for his candidacy and that selecting the 42-year-old wonky golden boy would sound a clarion call to the electorate about the sort of reforms the presumptive GOP nominee wants to bring to Washington. Call them the ‘go bold’ crowd.” On the other hand: “Their opposites, pragmatic-minded Republican strategists and elected officials, believe that to select Ryan is to hand President Barack Obama’s campaign a twin-edged blade, letting the incumbent slash Romney on the Wisconsin congressman’s Medicare proposal and carve in the challenger a scarlet ‘C’ for the unpopular Congress. This is the cautious corner.”