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Veepstakes: Portman is all the buzz

CHRISTIE: Chris Christie is getting arrows from the Star Ledger for his claims on higher education funding. The New York Post says he fell asleep at a Springsteen concert.


JINDAL:
Jindal waved off him as VP: “I've got the job that I want,” Jindal said, per Politico. “Our next challenge is pension reform.”

To that point, the Shreveport Times writes, “Anyone who can count knows the state retirement system is drowning in debt. And anyone who can count votes knows that the governor's original plan to address the problem was drowning in the steady drip, drip, drip of criticism that his proposals are unfair, unconstitutional and — worst of all — unpolitic. While his attention publicly was focused on passing his landmark education bills, Gov. Bobby Jindal was hearing from legislators, his canaries in the coal mine, that constituent complaints about his retirement overhaul bills far surpassed the flak over teacher tenure and private-school vouchers.”

“A day after Gov. Bobby Jindal announced his endorsement of fellow Republican Mitt Romney for president, Louisiana's Democratic Party has endorsed Jindal as Romney's running mate,” Alexandria Town Talk writes. “Big Government Bobby has wreaked enough havoc on the lives of Louisiana's children, working families and teachers, so the Louisiana Democratic Party believes it's time for him to resign as governor so he can leave Louisiana immediately to focus on securing the GOP vice presidential nomination," said Democratic Party spokesman James Hallinan. “Timmy Teepell, Jindal's political consultant, replied, ‘I'm glad to hear there's still a Democratic Party in Louisiana and Obama still has confidence in them.”

MCDONNELL: Bob McDonnell declared Romney would win Virginia. The Washington Post writes: “McDonnell also took aim at Obama’s record on the economy, during both his three years as president as well as his four years as the junior senator from Illinois.” He said, “I would say that certainly going into the race four years ago, people — it was well known President Obama was the most liberal member of the United States Senate. I think he’s governed like that with more big government, whether it’s been health care, more taxes. He’s done virtually nothing to get us out of this crushing and unsustainable and really immoral debt, $16 trillion. His budget would get us to $25 trillion by 2021.”

McDonnell may be tamping down speculation on his potential as VP but he’ll be making foreign trips to England, Germany, and Sweden in June. Currently, he’s in New York with Donald Trump and then heading to Canada. “The Republican governor is currently leading a four-day trip to New York and Canada, which included a reception to promote Virginia tourism, wine and film with Donald Trump on Tuesday and another reception scheduled for Thursday in Montreal,” AP writes.

PORTMAN: Robert Costa at National Review Online interviews Rob Portman, with the headline, “Working-class wonk.” He notes his working-class touch, his avoidance of rhetorical red meat, his having worked with Republicans on a “jobs agenda,” and his closeness with the Bushes. Asked about being VP, Portman said with a chuckle: “It’s not going to happen.”

One reason RomneyWorld may like Portman. This nugget: “Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior Romney adviser, credits Portman for lifting Romney over Rick Santorum, Romney’s chief rival, who lost the state by 10,000 votes, or about one percentage point. Thanks to Portman’s statewide network and dogged stumping, he says, Romney ‘came in here a week before the election, down eleven points, and quickly caught up.’”

On ideology, Portman notes, growing up, “I wasn’t a Democrat or a Republican. No one in my family had ever been in politics. My dad thought it was something that got in the way.” (His wife Jane Dudley is a Democrat and was an aide to Tom Daschle.)

Portman settled on anthropology as a major at Dartmough, but seemed more into the outdoors, including kayaking the entire Rio Grande. He still road bikes and mountain bikes. Other facts: John Boehner gave him the tip that the Ohio congressional seat he’d run for would be opening up. He played Joe Lieberman and Al Gore in presidential debate prep. He turned down trade rep. at first, but accepted at his wife’s urging.

GOP 12 digs up this Time article with this nugget: “[Portman] noticed that in a previous debate Gore had left his stool and approached Bill Bradley during an answer — ‘seeming to try a little physical intimidation to rattle him,’ Portman says. Portman did the same with Bush during a prep session, so it was little surprise when Gore pulled the same move on Governor Bush during their final debate. Bush gave him a dismissive nod and continued without missing a beat, prompting laughter from the audience and pans for Gore from the pundits. Point for Bush.”

RUBIO: Jules Witcover writes in the Baltimore Sun: “Forget Rubio and Ryan.”

“He may be only in his second year in the U.S. Senate, but Florida Republican Marco Rubio is going places. Mexico and Colombia, to be precise,” NPR writes. “Rubio's staff confirms he'll be attending the Summit of the Americas this weekend in Cartagena, Colombia. So too will President Obama.”

RYAN: Change in plan? “U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said tax breaks for the wealthy should be reduced as part of an overhaul of the nation's tax code. ‘We should ask: Who should get them?’ Ryan, R-Wis., said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg in New York. ‘We should circumscribe these tax benefits to middle-income and low-income people, and not to higher-income people.’ Ryan, 42, declined to identify which benefits ought to be cut to finance his proposed tax overhaul.”

The Wall Street Journal notes how Democrats have taken aim at Ryan.