The veepstakes aren't usually real news until a choice is made, but that may be different this year because of a report that surfaced today.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is vetting the resumés of that Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, and of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty so as, perhaps, to avoid this. Both men are considered fairly bland, other than the fact that Portman co-owns a haunted hotel. That said, after Sarah Palin's lack of vetting, it's hard to blame Romney. That said, the real news is who isn't on the list. Talking Points Memo's Pema Levy flagged this Washington Post report:
Another Romney adviser who works directly on the campaign said that Romney officials conducted a preliminary review of [Florida senator Marco] Rubio, mostly reviewing documents, statements and news reports that are publicly available. The team did a similar public vetting with a large number of other candidates before whittling down to a short list for a more thorough investigation.
That report was later confirmed by Romney's campaign. So no serious vetting for Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida -- nor, for that matter, any of the women thought to be in play, including New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte. Interesting that Romney appears to not be considering New Mexico governor Susana Martinez (above) either, given that President Obama is "within striking distance" of Romney in her state's neighbor to the west, previously very red Arizona.
There appears to be a (really sexist) reason for that. Scroll to the bottom of msnbc's Michael O'Brien's report:
"I think, unfortunately, Palin poisoned the well on that," said one informal Romney adviser, fretting that any woman selected as VP would draw inevitable comparisons to the former Alaska governor. "I would guess if I were inside the Romney mind that they're worried that any woman chosen will be subjected to a higher level of scrutiny.
It is one thing to dismiss women candidates because you don't feel they're qualified, or because there's some political hangup or skeleton in the closet. And I get why they'd be scared off of Palin specifically. But the Romney campaign does get that no other woman is Palin, right? Or that the problem with her wasn't her gender at all, but the fact that she admits herself that she wasn't vetted?
It seems they don't get any of that at all. Funny thing is, knowing Romney's etch-a-sketch tendencies, any hubbub over this might put Martinez, Ayotte, or perhaps another candidate right back into contention. (No, not Palin.)
Update: Romney is out doing damage control, but not on the anonymous adviser's quote. He insisted that Rubio is being "thoroughly vetted". Our own Chuck Todd noted on Twitter exactly why the Rubio stuff, specifically, was problematic for Romney: