Surprising many Republican insiders, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is at the top of the vice presidential prospect list for John McCain. But lack of personal chemistry could derail the pick.
We don't really see that as a problem, since the Mittster can have just about any personal chemistry you'd like.
Campaign insiders say McCain plans to name his running mate very shortly after Barack Obama does, as part of what one campaign planner called a bounce-mitigation strategy. "We figure after Obama names someone that gets the country all excited and interested, we'll name Romney and everyone will be all like WTF?" said a McCain campaign spokesperson. "Then they'll totally forget about Obama's pick trying to figure out what we've been smoking."
One of the chief reasons the Massachusetts governor is looking so attractive is his ability to raise huge amounts of money quickly through his former business partners and from fellow members of The , the Mormons. "Well, that and he's the best choice for the country," said the aide."Don't forget to write that too."
Romney’s other advantages, according to people involved in McCain’s screening process:
— Squeaky-clean and fully vetted by the national media."There is the dog incident," said a representative for Romney. "But we don't figure to get the pet vote anyway."
— Has presidential looks and bearing and immediately would be a strong campaigner who could be trusted to stay on message."Besides looking like a sack of potatoes that fell down a flight of stairs, McCain has a tendency to babble if he's late with his meds." A McCain spokesperson told reporters. "It's all about ticket balance."
— Family’s Michigan roots would help in a swing state that went Democratic in 2004."We don't think anyone will remember he hasn't lived there in god only knows how long," said a representative of McCain's Michigan office.
But there’s one big problem: Despite the buddy-picture choreography of a McCain-Romney campaign swing, McCain remains less than enamored with Romney. "Not a problem," said one aide. "We plan to tell the senator he picked Fred Thompson. We figure he doesn't pay that much attention, it'll be inauguration by the time he figures it out."