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Inside the Boiler Room: Potential Romney VPs

NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro discuss the list of potential Republicans Mitt Romney could pick as his running mate if he wins the GOP nomination.

Thanks to Feisty Redhead Roselle, IL and Bob-1887910 for their questions!

Video edited by NBC's Matt Loffman.


MARK MURRAY: Welcome to the latest edition of Inside the Boiler Room, I’m joined by my esteemed colleague Domenico Montanaro. Domenico, we actually haven’t done this since Iowa and New Hampshire—


MARK MURRAY: --the first Inside the Boiler Room in a while. And since then, Mitt Romney in a lot of respects looks like he is going to be the clear frontrunner in clenching the Republican nomination. And relating we have two questions one from Feisty Redhead Roselle and also from Bob and they pretty much ask about the same thing. Feisty asks, “Given the fact that it looks like Romney has the nomination sewn up, who do you think are the top contenders and what strengths would they bring to a Romney ticket?” and Bob asked essentially, “What actions would Romney take to make peace with the conservative wing on making a vice presidential pick?”

DOMENICO MONTANARO: Well, I guess you can combine them because you figure, well- maybe there is a way he could make a pick for VP that could help bring over some of those Tea Party supporters who might lack some on the enthusiasm that Romney would want and the obvious person that comes to mind, it is kind of a Sarah Palin pick that John McCain made, is Chris Christie, Chris Christie of New Jersey. You know he may be more socially moderate than the party likes which may be a reason that Romney doesn’t ultimately pick him but the energy, the enthusiasm, the ability to speak plainly. That is something that Romney lacks and has a hard time with, and Chris Christie would automatically give him a little bit of juice. 

MARK MURRAY: I agree, and certainly if he and Christie have a very good rapport on the campaign trail, Christie has been campaigning for Romney in Iowa and New Hampshire, that could be a pick. I do think there is a very big top three. You have Christie, you have Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio and I think that all three of those guys would end up giving Mitt Romney a little bit more juice with the Tea Party,  a little more enthusiasm with the base. 

DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah, they bring separate things. So Christie brings energy and enthusiasm with the base, Rubio- some people hope he will carry Florida because of being Hispanic, speaking Spanish, large growing block. And McDonnell is kind of the safe choice. You know, high approval rating, popular in the state, smart guy, socially conservative --but with a moderate tone. So those are the things  they bring to the table. There are some dark horses we can quickly run through. Tim Pawlenty, he was the runner-up in 2008, he has done everything he can for Mitt Romney so he is someone who could be on that list. I doubt this next one but Jon Huntsman, some people have talked about— 

MARK MURRAY: --No, you saw that tepid response. I doubt… 

DOMENICO MONTANARO: I doubt that is going to happen. We haven’t mentioned a woman, so let’s mention one. Susana Martinez, in New Mexico, popular governor, Hispanic- that would be very diverse look for a ticket for a party that is criticized for being too white, too male. Brian Sandoval, Governor in Nevada, also popular Hispanic. Rob Portman, John Thune, maybe Nikki Haley, maybe Mitch Daniels but now we are going pretty far down the list— 

MARK MURRAY: --I think we pretty much have the whole field. What is going to be fascinating is that if Romney essentially gets this nomination we could have a veepstakes that could last six, seven months. But it is important to note that a vice presidential pick has rarely gone on to decisively help someone in a presidential contest. The last time that a veep pick made an huge impact was 1960 with LBJ helped JFK win in Texas but often times more than not a vice presidential pick can actually hurt you rather than helping you. 

DOMENICO MONTANARO: That’s right, that is why a safe pick is often the better pick. 

MARK MURRAY: Thanks guys for the question!