Full Video of the 2012 Vice Presidential Debate in Danville, KY

Bookmark and Share  For those who may not have seen the debate for themselves, White House 2012 proudly posts a complete video of the event.  For an assessment of the one and only 2012 vice presidential debate, click here.  For a complete transcript of the debate click here.

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Condoleezza Rice Offers No Reaction to Paul Ryan’s Nomination

  Bookmark and Share  As speculation about who Mitt Romney was going to select as his running mate ran rampant, one name that consistently popped up was former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  In a decision making process that must consider everything from the electoral benefits of race, religion, ethnicity, and gender, to experience, demeanor, and expertise on the major issues of the day, Condoleezza Rice was a compelling and attractive candidate for Mitt Romney.  She offered a perfect sense of balance to the Romney ticket. While Romney is white, Rice is an African-American.  While Romney is a man, Rice is a woman.  While Romney lacks any pronounced expertise in foreign affairs, Condoleezza Rice is a foreign affairs expert.

Combined with Rice’s well mannered, diplomatic demeanor and unparalleled expertise on world affairs, Rice would have made an excellent choice for both the shallow electoral benefits that could have been realized because of her race and gender and because of her being probably more prepared to step in to the presidency of the United States at moment’s notice, than any other name that was considered.  Many independent polls even indicated that among voters, Rice was their most popular choice Romney could make.

The obvious value of Rice’s potential placement on the G.O.P. presidential ticket forced her name on to almost all vice presidential short lists.  If she was ever on Romney’s short list though is another question.  Being what she calls “moderately pro-choice” probably denied Romney the chance to give Rice serious consideration for the number two slot on the ticket.  Had he picked her, Romney would have surely offended many factions of the conservative base which was already uninspired by his candidacy and doubtful about his committment to the right-to-life cause.

As for Condoleezza Rice herself, all the speculation forced her to repeatedly state that she had no desire to reenter politics, or at least electoral politics.  But many, including myself had some doubt as to how sincere Rice was in those claims.  In the weeks leading up to Romney’s announcement, although they were unrelated to the Romney campaign, Condoleezza Rice made several high profile appearances and even wrote a superb editorial for the Financial Times that seemed like a foreign affairs manifesto for a future presidential Administration to adhere to.   In the months leading up to Romney’s decision on a running mate, some had openly suggested that Rice was “quietly campaigning”to be tapped for Vice President on the Republican presidential ticket.

In April of 2008, ABC News reported that Republican strategist Dan Senor made the same claim.

ABC reported;

“Condi Rice has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning for this,” Senor said this morning on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

According to Senor, Rice has been cozying up to the Republican elite.

“There’s this ritual in Washington: The Americans for Tax Reform, which is headed by Grover Norquist, he holds a weekly meeting of conservative leaders — about 100, 150 people, sort of inside, chattering, class types,” Senor said. “They all typically get briefings from political conservative leaders. Ten days ago, they had an interesting visit — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — the first time a secretary of state has visited the Wednesday meeting.”

Of course all of that is just speculation and unless we choose to believe Condoleezza Rice’s own claim of having not desire to get back into politics. we will never know for sure how accurate or inaccurate the conjecture and assumptions of political talking heads were.  But in the two days since Paul Ryan became the VP pick, Condoleezza Rice’s alway’s active online social media activity has been filled with messages about her thoughts on a few different topics but one topic has not been addressed at all ——- her thoughts on the selection of Paul Ryan for Vice President.

Since Romney made the announcement on Saturday morning , Rice posted two comments on her Facebook page and she tweeted the same two comments on her Twitter feed.   The first comment  offered kinds words to the organizers of the Olympics and Team USA;

                    Congrats to London & the people of Great Britain on a GREAT #Olympics!  Congrats & thanks to Team #USA for an inspiring two weeks!

Her most recent comment, more than 48 hours after the Ryan announcement, was a quote indicating her support for the NFL along with a photo which displayed her “passion” for the Cleveland Browns.

Like all the talk about Rice being a potential Romney running mate, the meaning of her lack of a reaction to Paul Ryan’s addition to the G.O.P. ticket is also speculation, but so far her silence is deafening.

In a few weeks, Condi who has been given a coveted primetime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in a couple of weeks, will certainly be praising Romney, and Ryan too, but so far there is no indication of how genuine he glowing words will will be.  Especially since her initial reaction has been not to react at all.

Did Condi really want the job or is it true that she really can’t care less about her future role in public service?

Regardless of Rice’s feeling’s though, it is clear that most conservatives are quite happy with the choice of Paul Ryan and with good reason.

While Condoleezza Rice would have certainly brought an incredible amount of dignity, class, superior intelligence, and invaluable experience to the ticket, she would have also a brought up the opportunity for the left to distract Americans voters even more than they are currently are by rehashing Rice’s ties to former President George W. Bush.  Such a strategy could have been easily addressed by both Rice and Romney but it still would have been an unnecessary distraction.  But by picking Paul Ryan instead of Condi Rice, Mitt Romney  forces this election to be about the economy and the federal budget that Paul Ryan is an expert in.   And those are the issues which just so happen to be the Achille’s heels that weaken  both of  feet that the President is trying to stand on.

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Associated Press Confirms Romney Will Pick Paul Ryan for Vice President

Bookmark and Share   The Associated Press has confirmed White House 2012’s previous post which reported that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will nominate Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan for Vice President;

According to Associated Press;

“NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has picked Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate.       

A Republican with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Romney has chosen Ryan. The Republican spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to disclose the decision.       

Romney was expected to introduce Ryan during a rally Saturday morning in Norfolk, Va.”       

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Who Do You Want Mitt Romney to Pick for Vice President?

Bookmark and Share As the race for President seems to have entered a perpetual state of boredom that is filled with a bumper sticker mentality of shallow stump speeches that offer little insight and a whole lot of repetitive pot shots and one liners, concerned voters find themselves left with but one last intriguing question —- who will Mitt Romney pick for Vice President?

Rob Portman

Aside from the actual election results, the question of who Romney will pick for Vice President is perhaps the only moment of suspense remaining in the campaign.  And as such, who he picks could actually make more of a difference than it has in most of the presidential elections in our recent past.  In fact, according to a CBS News/New York Times  poll released last Wednesday, 74 percent of registered voters said that a candidate’s running mate  matters “a lot” or “somewhat” to their vote,(26 percent  said that it matters a lot, while 48 percent said that it matters somewhat). At  the same time, 25 percent said that it doesn’t matter at all.  However; that sentiment is often expressed at this point in every presidential election, but by the time Election Day rolls around, it is a sentiment that is usually proven wrong.  Yet in the case of Mitt Romney and this extraordinarily polarized electorate, who he picks could make the difference between winning and losing.With swing states like Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin at stake, Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, or Paul Ryan  could add the percentage or two to the election result in their respective states that is responsible for putting Republicans over the top in the Electoral College.But with figures like former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or New Mexico’s Susana Martinez also on the list of possible contenders, the combination of their being women and being representative of different minority groups, has the potential to erode an important part of President Obama’s base vote just enough to make a small difference in a multitude of states that Romney is currently considered less competitive in.

Marco Rubio

What Romney is thinking is anyone’s guess though and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. The only thing we know for certain right now is that some names are less likely to be selected than others.  Take Mitch Daniels for example.  He’s a highly successful and popular two term, conservative Governor of Indiana who I originally hoped would be our presidential nominee.  With his command of matters of the budget and fiscal conservatism in general, he would be a perfect running mate for Romney in a campaign that will be based on fiscal responsibility.  Daniels also has crossover appeal and would be a perfect balance for Mitt.  Unfortunately though, Mitch  has agreed to become the President of Perdue University at the end of his term in January.  So he’s out.  Unless of course that decision was thrown out to throw us off the track?

Paul Ryan

The there’s Chris Christie, or at least there was.  He has supposedly been given the honor of delivering the highly coveted keynote address at the Republican National Convention.  That essentially means he won’t be delivering an acceptance speech at the convention.  Unless of course the rumors about his being the keynoter were intentionally thrown out for public consumption to throw us off the track?Another very striking contender was Virginia’s popular conservative Governor, Bob McDonnell.  With his national star rising from Virginia, another key battleground state in this election, his presence on the ticket could deliver a state that is practically a must win for Republicans.  But McDonnell has been named chairman of the Republican platform committee, a job that brings with it the type of contentious floor fights and baggage that automatically scratches him off of any V.P. short list.So those are is at least one name you can take out of contention and two which you can stop taking bets on.  Maybe.

McMorris Rodgers

But that still leaves us with a mix of both likely and unlikely contenders who can potentially be nominated to join Romney on the G.O.P. ticket.  They range from names such Senator Kelly Ayote of New Hampshire, to Washington State Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and from Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, to Tennessee’s former U.S. Senator, Fred Thompson and a host of names in between such as Florida’s Allen West and Jeb Bush, or South Dakota’s John Thune and Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty.  In one scenario, even a Blue Dog Democrat, North Carolina’s Heath Shuler has been floated as a game changing decision for Romney. Polls about who most Republicans want Romney to pick vary based on the audiences that frequent those platforms offering such polls.  For instance, the conservative site Town Hall is probably seeing it’s far right readers choose dark horse contender Allen West, while other more libertarian geared sites might find that Rand Paul is the choice that it’s audience most wants to see selected by Romney.But when it comes to less partisan entities that happen to do professional polling and are therefore far more accurate at polling than those who conduct online opinion surveys , there is one name that keeps emerging as the favorite among voters —– Condoleezza Rice.

John Thune

A Rasmussen Reports poll that was conducted between July 15-16, found  that 65% of likely U.S. voters share at least a somewhat favorable view of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, while just 24% view her unfavorably. Those results included 29% who have a Very Favorable opinion of Condi Rice and 6% who had a Very Unfavorable opinion of her. Twelve 12% were undecided in the poll.  (To see survey question wording, click here).  Other professional polling surveys have had similar results and for good reason.Condoleezza Rice is regarded as a very respectable, likeable, admirable leader.  She is also viewed by most voters as someone who is guided more by personal conviction and ideology than Party and partisan politics.  Such a persona could do nothing but help the G.O.P.  and hurt Democrats.  This is especially the case when you consider the fact that as both an African-American and a woman, Condi Rice does have the potential to make significant inroads into a base vote that President Obama needs to keep in his column and that Mitt Romney desperately needs to peel off and bring his way.  Furthermore; Condoleezza Rice can help Romney with the all important independent vote that will essentially determine who wins in November.Whether Romney agrees with that assessment or not is anyone’s guess but I will state this.  If he doesn’t agree with that opinion, he’s a dope.

Condoleezza Rice

While I like many of the potential candidates for Vice President, I believe that Condoleezza Rice is the one person  who can bring everything that Romney needs to the ticket.  And I mean everything.  Not only does she cover the electoral aesthetics of being a women and being African-American, her presence on the ticket adds a degree of historic value that can benefit Republicans much the same way it benefitted Democrats in 2012.  Add Rice’s ability to articulate conservatism and the traditional American values of independence, freedom, personal responsibility better than practically anyone else other than Allen West and what you have is a running mate who is an electoral goldmine.But it’s not just the electoral politics that makes Rice such a good choice for Romney.  It is her ability to be a great President that makes her not just a good choice, but also a potentially good President.  And afterall, is that not what a Vice President is suppose to be? Few politicians have the experience and knowhow that Condoleezza Rice has and few Vice Presidents would be more immediately prepared to assume the office of President at a moments notice as she.Still, there are three things that stand in the way of a Romney-Rice ticket.

One is the fact that Rice herself has not seen fit to show any interest in the job.  Yet despite the lack of interest, her recent penning of an inspiring editorial in the Financial Times raises some question as to exactly how disinterested the former Secretary of State is in getting her country back on track.  Problem number two is Rice’s stance on abortion.  Rice does not support banning abortion.  She does however strongly support placing many restrictions on how its practice.  While that position may be tolerated by some on the right, it will not be acceptable by others, especially those who are already doubtful about Mitt Romney’s own committment to the right-to-life cause.

Lastly is the political fear factor that Romney and his consultants may have regarding Condoleezza Rice’s ties to the Bush Administration.  They may fear that teaming Rice with Romney will provide Team Obama with an unintended campaign theme that links Romney to the not so popular former President.   While such political fears are worthy of considering, political reality should lead Romney to realize that Condoleezza Rice brings far more positives to the ticket than negatives.  And Team Romney should also realize that if the Obama campaign wants to revisit Condoleezza Rice’s record, they will be entering in to a very dangerous zone.  Rice will be able to defend her record and the Bush record better than anyone else and she will also be able to remind the American electorate that it is President Obama who essentially carried out her policies in Iraq and Afghanistan even though he and his Vice President ran against those policies in 2008.

All things considered, I believe Condoleezza Rice would be the best choice for Romney and while I would certainly be gleeful over the selection of someone like Marco Rubio or even the man whom I believe Romney will ultimately choose, South Dakota Senator John Thune, I can’t help but believe that only Condoleezza Rice can provide the momentum, gravitas, and appeal that Romney will really need if he wants to win the independents, and undecideds who will decide who the next President is.

What do you think?  Cast your vote for Vice President here.

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A Romney Pick for Vice President That Would Change the Dynamics of the Entire Election

  Bookmark and Share  There are many good choices that Mitt Romney can make in picking a partner to lead our nation with.  But there is one strategic line of thinking that could lead Romney to a pick that would be so game changing that it will turn the 2012 presidential election in to an entirely different race than it it now is.

It is an option that does not seek to win by playing on the politics of ethnicity or gender. It does not seek to play on geographical politics or the assurance of winning any one particular state. It seeks to cross the divisions of sex, color, religion, class, geography and even the lines of political Party. It is a strategy that ignores the desire to pander to women on the basis of sex or Hispanics on the basis of ethnicity. It is a strategy that, if it focuses on anyone, it focuses on the small percentage of  independent voters in the handful of battleground states that will determine who will be elected President in November.

It is strategy that would shock the political world, put Republicans in control of the headlines and in charge of the political agenda that dominates the remaining weeks of the presidential campaign, and it is an option that seeks to do all that President Obama promised but failed to deliver………unite us instead of divide us.

It is a strategy that begins with Mitt Romney allowing all the speculation over who he will nominate to continue consuming the news cycles until the second day of the Republican National Convention. By allowing the buzz over who Romney will pick  to remain a hot topic, and even manipulating the media by allowing some certain names to leak out every few days, Team Romney is assuring that Team Obama will have to share any of their own campaign’s distractions and distortions about Romney with each media outlet’s desire to make sure that they are in the forefront of covering the biggest news of the election to date…….. who Mitt Romney’s running mate will be. Holding off on announcing who the nominee will be also insures a greater national focus on the Republican National Convention, an event that is so scripted that it is spells suspense “P-L-A-N-N-E-D”.

Allow there to be some suspense. Give the news all the help it needs to generate ratings for their stations by forcing them to use the suspense over Romney’s vice presidential pick by covering the convention from gavel to gavel.

Then on the evening of Monday, August 28th, the first night of the Republican National Convention, Team Romney announces that on Tuesday, afternoon, Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee, will be holding a rally outside of the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, the site of the Democratic National Convention which will be held the following week.

This will immediately lead to an unfettered frenzy of speculation over Romney’s announcement of his vice presidential nominee and while this fevered pitch over who the nominee will be, provides the backdrop for the events and speeches at the first night of the Republicans national nominating convention, allow each speaker who comes before the national primetime audience to stress two things—- national unity and the united resolve to address the worst economy since the Great Depression, and to do so as one people, the American people, a people who have always valued a life of independence over a life of dependence.

With the stage now set, on Tuesday afternoon of August 28th, amid thousands of Republican activists who have been  rapidly mobilized  by the RNC and by local and state Republican organizations throughout the Carolina’s and neighboring states, an array of distinguished speakers begins to address the large audience in attendance and the even larger national audiences witnessing the event on every channel and internet stream available to them. Let each speaker fire up the audience with remarks about everything from the need for a President who unites us rather than divide us, to the need for an end to an Administration that is hell-bent on waging class warfare and a war on capitalism.

The long list of speakers at this rally would have two purposes.  In addition to preparing the crowd for Romney and to help set the tone for his announcement, it will help to throw the media off the scent. Have people like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Congressman Allen West there. Have Tim Pawleny, Condoleezza Rice, Marco Rubio , South Dakota Senator John Thune, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and Ohio Senator Rob Portman all there. Have New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayote and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal there. Even have Sarah Palin there to address the people and make it impossible for the media to determine who the nominee is based upon which one of them is jopining Romney at this announcement.  Let each of these fine people promote the Republican cause and most of all, make it impossible for the media to scoop Mitt Romney’s ability to capitalize on the shock value of his announcement.

Then comes the moment of truth. Marco Rubio steps up to the mic and after hammering home the theme of a nation tackling our problems together as one people, he introduces “the next President of the United States…. Mitt Romney.”

To the roar of the crowd, with a sea of signs and American Flags waving, Romney steps out on to the stage, hand in hand with his wife Ann, and the rest of his family behind him.

Romney thanks everyone for coming together on such short notice. He hits upon the theme of his campaign, one of which is that we the people are in this together and that the only way out of the depths of our dreary economy will not be found by splintering ourselves by sex, orientation, faith, color, or class and how we certainly can’t find economic recovery by dividing ourselves along Party lines. And in his own words Mitt Romney says the following;

“Today, America will take a step towards ending the traditional partisan political paradigm that has divided us. Today I propose that we bridge the political divide by demonstrating a willingness to solve our American problems with American solutions. Not partisan solutions that are based on foreign political ideologies.  But it is important to understand something. It is important to understand the difference between Party and ideology. Ideology is a closely organized system of beliefs, values, and ideas forming the basis of a social, economic, or political philosophy or program.  Political parties on the other hand, are typically motivated more by the desire to seek to influence government policy by consolidating power for themselves.   And in that search for power, we often see the issues and even ideology, take a back seat to each parties desire to dominate the process. 

But what if we the people, took the partisan power trip out of the equation?  What if our nation focussed on chosing an ideology instead of just one Party?  Today I come before you in an attempt to lead us based on ideology not Party. My ideology, the conservative ideology, seeks to retain traditional institutions and supports the most minimal influence and control of society through government.

This ideology is a basic philosophy that comes to us from the founding principles of our great nation. And these founding principles transcend Party lines. They lie at the heart of my vision for America, a vision quite different than that of our current President.

While our current President seeks to increase the size and scope of government, I seek to lead an America of less government, less taxation, less spending, and more freedom.  And that goal is not limited to me. It is the goal of millions of Americans. Including Democrats.

Democrats, like Republicans, have all suffered from the failures of the current Administration. Democrats, like Republicans, have suffered from the longest period of sustained high unemployment in history. Thanks to the liberal tax and spend ideology, like Republicans, Democrats have been forced to endure the weight of our national debt becoming so burdensome that it is now a national security issue. Democrats and Republicans are having to face the fact that for the first time in history, we are about to leave our children with a nation that is worse than off than it was for the generation before them.

That is why millions of Democrats are just as unhappy with the way our nation is going, as Republicans are.  That is why we are in this together. It is why I know the only way out of this is to work with all Americans. Instead of making the wealthy the enemy of the poor, we need to strengthen the system that built this country so that it can continue creating wealth and opportunity for all.  It is why instead of limiting our potential by focussing on consolidating partisan political power, I choose to work with Democrats and Republicans alike.

For too long we have seen both Republican Presidents and Democrat Presidents fail to reduce our debt.  For too long we have seen a government divided by Party, fail to unite the people behind the solutions that we need.  Today, I seek to unite us all by uniting the parties behind a vision for America, a vision that is shared by Democrats and Republicans alike.

I choose to break us out of  the boundaries of partisan politics that restrict us and limit us by focussing not on Party, but on the endless opportunities that the conservative ideology which founded this nation can provide for all Americans.  And I choose to lead by example. That is why today I am proud to keep my promise to you. I promised to pick a running mate who is conservative. And today I proudly deliver on that promise by nominating a conservative…… a conservative Democrat……….. North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler“.

Now back to reality.

Shuler,  a former first-round selection in the 1994 NFL Draft, who was taken by the Washington Redskins and  later played for the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders, is a competent campaigner and powerful speaker and while picking him to be Vice President is probably not in the cards for Mitt Romney, it is a choice that is well worth exploring.

The selection of a conservative Democrat as Romney’s running mate would be a game changing choice that upends every potential angle to the 2012 presidential that has been discussed to date. While much of the focus has been on Romney nominating a running mate who can fire up Republicans or increase his support among some key voting blocs such as women or Hispanics, by picking a conservative Democrat as his running mate, Romney will be focussing on the one group of voters that encompasses not only women, or Hispanics, but people of both sexes, all ethnicities, all religions, all states, and all colors……. independents. These voters are more important than any other single voting bloc. They are the only voters who reamin unpolarized and who will ultimately determine the winner of every battleground state that Obama and Romney will endlessly court. They are the voters who will determine who is elected President in November.

By picking a conservative Democrat, Romney will take control of the political agenda, capture the imaginations of voters, especially independent voters, and change the dynamics of the entire election.

The move would help breakthrough the polarization that has locked Republicans out of contention in many states that are now consideredd to be solidly in President Obama’s column.

It will also put President Obama on the defense.

In 2008 President Obama promised to be a uniter.  Yet in the years since then, we have seen him do nothing but divide us.  He has claimed Republicans are waging a war against women.  He has told the poor that we must target the rich.  He has essentially belittled entrepeneurs and claimed that government control is more valuable to the American people than American entrepreneurship.  And if this them versus us strategy of divide and conquer isn’t enough to demonstrate that he is anything but a uniter, since taking office, President Obama’s legislative agenda has been nothing but a display of totalitariansim and partisan politics. In addition to his unilateral appointment of an endless array of unelected and unnaccountable czars designed to circumvent Congress and the voters, President Obama has led by dicatating executive order s and the by getting legislation passed through entirely partisan deal making that were conducted behind closed doors.

By nominating a Democrat, a conservative Democrat, Romney will be able to exploit that record to the fullest.

Independent voters who consistently claim that the answer to our problems is having Democrats and Republicans work together will begin to at least find hope in Romney’s attempt to finally make that solution possible.

Picking Heath Shuler will not suddenly make liberals vote for Mitt Romney.  Indeed most Democrats won’t cross lines to cast their ballot for a Romney-Shuler ticket.  But given the extraordinary political polarization that we are experiencing at this juncture in our political history, nothing will make that happen.  However; by picking a Democrat as his running mate, Romney will help  to reverse the troubling polarizing that we are experiencing in this election cycle.  And by picking Shuler, Romney  will appeal to at least some Democrats, including those in his native state of North Carolina, a state Democrats are hoping to win but are quickly losing that hope in.  He will also be able to appeal to Democrats elsewhere and he can do so with far more success than President Obama and Vice President Biden would have if they were to campaign among Republicans.

Heath Shuler can campaign for the Republican ticket in blue states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and attract more Democrats to the Republican ticket than Obama and Biden would be able to among Republicans in redder states such as Indiana, Virginia,.  And in swing states like Ohio, and Florida, the appeal of Heath Shuler among Democrat voters could make the difference between winning and losing the election.

But how would Republicans take to the idea of Mitt Romney, a candidate whose conservative credentials they already call in to question, picking a Democrat, even a so-called Blue Dog, conservative Democrat?

Not very well and therein lies the downside to this strategy.

Many conservatives will initially feel betrayed.  They will claim that Romney can’t be trusted and that he is selling conservatives out.  However, by the time Heath Shuler accepts the nomination, thanks to the magic of politics, the power of symbolism, and the increased prospect of victory, many of those minds will be changed.

Shuler who is not running for reelection to his seat in Congress, has voted against Obama’s additional $825 billion economic recovery package.  He voted “No” on  on the 2008 $15 billion dollar bailout for GM and Chrysler and has supported Truth in Spending legislation that would force the government to show real costs vs. planned costs.  On the issue of abortion, Shuler is a staunchly opposes the practice and opposes any and all federal funding of the practice.   Such fine points may not prove that Shuler is as conservative as a Jim DeMint or a Rick Santorum.  But a look at the record shows that Shuler is certainly not a traditional Democrat and he is certainly not a liberal.  Shuler’s histroy also demonstrates that he has even been willing to stand up to his own Party and defy its liberal inclinations.  In 2010, after Democrats were brutally rejected and found themselves in the minority in the House of Representatives, Heath Shuler stood up for conservatism within the Democrat Party, and took it upon himself to challenge the liberal leadership of Nancy Pelosi by opposing her for House Minority Leader.  That in and of itself is a powerful image to use among conservatives.

Still, the truth is that promoting Shuler as a conservative based on the entirety of his record, especially in the area of taxes and the environment, will be a tough sell.  But not  an impossible one.

The question is, would the conservative base be willing to concede the need for political compromise on their presidential ticket in order to achieve a conservative victory?

Picking Shuler would be a big gamble for Romney.  It would force Romney to risk the support of the Republican base which remains leery of him and which he can’t afford to lose.  But polls currently show that Romney is consolidating that base behind him.  That consolidation of support may have more to do with a growing disapproval of President Obama among conservatives than out of a love for Romney  among conservatives.  However,  if  President Obama continues to demonstrate that his vision for America is antithetical to our nation’s founding principles, and Romney can hammer that point home along with the fact that President Obama’s policies have failed us, Romney will have wiggle room and picking Shuler will provide Romney with a perfect opportunity to move this election away from the proformer Democrat versus Republican paradigm and turn it into a referendum on two different ideologies and visions for America.   It would be a bold move that leave  a partisan President Obama defending his divisive tactics, party politics, failed record and tax and spend vision, against that of a bipartisan ticket united behind a vision of less spending, less government, and more independence.

Will Heath Shuler be nominated for Vice President by Mitt Romney?  Most likely not.  But it is an option worth exploring.

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Unconfirmed Reports Say that Chris Chrisite Will Be the Keynote Speaker at the Republican National Convention

Let the Speculation Begin.

  Bookmark and Share  New Jersey Republican activists can hardly contain their excitement over the fact that their Governor has been selected to give the all important keynote address at the Republican National Convention.  New Jerseyans are bursting with pride over the thought that our Governor will be given the national spotlight and be called upon to articulate the Republican case and cause before the nation and the world.  But the reports have not yet been confirmed by either Governor Christie, Governor Romney or the Republican National Committee.  According to the Washington Post;

“Republicans say that, contrary to media reports, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has not been confirmed as the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Neither the Romney campaign nor the Republican National Committee would confirm those reports.

“You”ll have to stay tuned,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon.

Sources with the campaign say Romney is not prepared to announce any speakers yet. The New Jersey State GOP Committee said they knew nothing about it. 

“I’ve gotten no invitation to do anything like that,” Christie told NBC.”

These unconfirmed reports amount to nothing more than speculation but if true, the decision to make Christie the keynote speaker opens the door for additional speculation.  So here goes.

If it is true that Christie is the RNC’s 2012 keynote speaker, it will signal the G.O.P.’s obvious desire to highlight the message of a figure who has established a reputation for being blunt about what needs to be done to get our nation on a track to economic responsibility and prosperity.   It would also signal the G.O.P.’s desire to appeal to fiscally conservative independent voters, a segment of the voting bloc which could be critical to who wins the presidency in November.

Picking Christie to be the keynote speaker could also be a signal of several other things to come such as who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate. There has been a wide range of Republicans who would have liked to see freshman Florida Congressman Allen West deliver the keynote address.  West has proven himself to be a powerfully articulate speaker who inspires the conservative base while also firing up the TEA Party which Romney needs to bolster his standing among.  Christie tends to enjoy similar popularity within those same groups but West brings additional positives that Christie doesn’t.  Unlike Christie who comes from a state that Republicans feel is so hard to win that they have written it off in most of their campaign plans, Rep. West comes from a critical swing state that is well within the reach of Republicans to win.  Additionally, West is African-American, and those two factors would have made West a prime pick for giving the keynote address.  But giving that honor to Christie instead of West could be a sign that Mitt Romney has picked a running mate of color and so the need to highlight ethnic diversity during a high profile, primetime, keynote address may not be as necessary as it once was.  If true, that person of color who Romney may be ready to pick could very well be  former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who many have suggested that Romney is quite enamored with and whom  in national polls,leads all other potential vice presidential choices Romney may have.

But to read too much in to any decision would be wrong.

While Chris Christie is liked for the breath of fresh air that his brutal honesty and bluntness brings to the table, his abrasive nature does not fit well with the more diplomatic, less confrontational approach to politics that Mitt Romney is comfortable with.  The same goes for West who may seem like a good choice for Vice President for Romney but like Christie, neither man can be described as having the “same personality type” as Mitt, a factor that Anne Romney once described as a key consideration in her husbands decison on who he will nominate for Vice President.   Yet there is no denying that Christie’s approach has been popular and as such, there may be no other suitably prominent role for Christie to play in the Romney campaign other than allowing him to be a surrogate speaker and what more suitable platform can there be for such a surrogate than keynote speaker?

This of course does not leave West out in the cold.  Many other primetime slots are still available.  They include the highly coveted opportunity to be tapped as the lucky individual who gets to make the speech that nominates the presidential candidate, a role that West would fit quite well.

All of this is speculation though.  The only thing that is not speculation however is the fact that if it is true that  Christie is the keynote speaker, you can rest assured that he is definitely out of the running to be Romney’s Vice President.

On that front, until now, speculation about who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate has of late been superseded only by the speculation over when he will publicly announce who that person will be.    Today’s Wall Street Journal writes;

“It appears unlikely now that Mr. Romney will name his selection before departing next week for a trip abroad.”

At the same time, The New York Daily News writes;

“Sources close to the Romney campaign told the Daily News the working plan has  been to announce the pick after the Olympic Games, which begin next week and  conclude Aug. 12 — two weeks before the Republican convention in Tampa.”

Yet amid that media speculation comes a Tuesday tweet from National Review political reporter and CNBC contributor Robert Costa in which he writes:

“A Republican strategist close to the Romney campaign tells me veep announcement may come Friday”

Meanwhile, in an interview taped for ABC earlier today, Ann Romney claims that  her husband is “not quite there yet” on a final decision regarding who he will nominate for Vice President.

Not long after that interview, while attending a town-hall event in Bowling Green, Ohio, Mitt Romney answered a a question from the audience regarding who he will pick by confirming that  he has “not chosen the person” who will be his Vice President.

What this all means is anyone’s guess but to confuse matters even more, as noted in a previous White House 2012 post, Tim Pawlenty, the former Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has decided to retool his website, TimPawlenty.com.

Currently TimPawlenty.com has been replaced by a “Coming Soon Page” that features a blank white screen with four small words that simply read  “Please come back later.”  Normally such an event would not mean very much but at a time when who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate remains the only cause of suspense left in the presidential campaign, every move of every individual who might be under consideration for Vice President will be seen as a signal.   In this particular case though, having been a year since he dropped out of the race for President, T-Paw’s decision to finally retool his website and put in its place a “Coming Soon” page that urges people to come back and revisit it, appears at the same time that Mitt Romney’s decision on who his nominee for Vice President will be is also “coming soon”.

Coincidence?  Speculation?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

You’re guess is as good mine.

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Is Tim Pawlenty Preparing His Website For The Vice Presidential Nomination?

 Bookmark and Share  Most people have little if any reason to visit TimPawlenty.com, but if you are one of the very limited stream of visitors to the official website of the former Minnesota Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, than you have been surprised to find that the long standing platitudes for conservatism, apple pie, coffee, and all things American , have been replaced by a “Coming Soon Page” that features a blank white screen with four small words that simply read  “Please come back later.”

Whether Pawlenty is just conducting some useful site maintenance on his otherwise useless website, or handing control of the site and its future content to the campaign of Mitt Romney in preparation of Pawlenty’s accepting Romney’s vice presidential nomination is unknown.  Calls from White House 2012 regarding the status of the site that were made to several aides and former staffers of Pawlenty’s presidential campaign and his Nation First PAC have received a range of inconclusive responses that claimed the “Coming Soon Page” is up as the site undergoes some retooling.  However; attempts to determine exactly what it is being retooled for remains undetermined.

At a time when who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate remains the only cause of suspense left in the presidential campaign, aside from who will the election, every move of every individual who might be under consideration for Vice President will be seen as a signal but in this case, one can’t help but question the timing.  Almost a year since he dropped out of the race for President, T-Paw finally decides to retool his website and put in its place a “Coming Soon” page that urges people to come back and revisit, appears at the same time that we all know Mitt Romney’s decision on who his nominee for Vice President will be is also “coming soon”.

Now this could very well be coincidental but my political experience has taught me that in politics coincidences are events which politicians actually put on their schedules.  In politics, coincidence is a convenient excuse which allows the most unlikely set of circumstances to come together and seem like the most natural  string of events.  That stated, even though I have recently indicated that I am of the opinion that Mitt Romney will pick South Dakota Senator John Thune as his running mate, I can’t help but wonder if the coincidental timing of Tim Pawlenty’s “Coming Soon” page and Mitt Romney’s “soon to come” decision on a running mate is a more definitive indication of who that running mate will be than is my personal sense of who it will be?

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