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Veepstakes: Later rather than sooner?

We noted in First Read yesterday that despite some hints a Romney veep pick would come early, don’t bet on it. And today, the New York Daily News’ Tom DeFrank reports: “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.”

More: “The running mate choice — a high-stakes pick often described as the first presidential-caliber decision a candidate makes — will dominate the news cycle for days, temporarily changing the subject from Romney’s financial baggage. But some top advisers believe popping the name now would be seen as a panicky overreaction to Romney’s bad press and should be saved for better ‘bounce’ closer to the convention. As a practical matter, moreover, a GOP veteran of vice presidential rollouts said it takes at least a month for a support staff to be up and running before a nominee is named.”

The New York Times looks at the process of Romney selecting his VP. “Aides to Mitt Romney have pored over video footage of potential running mates, studying hundreds of hours of Sunday news show appearances, campaign debates and stump speeches for insight into how they handle unwelcome inquiries, even hecklers. They have instructed possible No. 2’s to fill out a questionnaire with about 80 detailed and sometimes intrusive questions covering the financial and the personal, including, ‘Have you ever been unfaithful?’ And they have listened for political intangibles that are subjective but potent, like: is a candidate’s style of speaking inviting or grating?”

“In the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, only a quarter of voters say the selection of the vice presidential candidate matters a lot to their decision in November. Another quarter says the choice of running mate doesn’t affect their vote at all. The rest say they consider the selection to some degree,” the New York Times writes. “The group for whom the vice presidential pick matters are voters who are more enthused about voting in November than usual. Overall, a third of all voters say they are more enthusiastic this year about taking part in the presidential election, while a quarter are less excited.”

CHRISTIE: The New York Post: “The word is going out quietly to Republican activists across New Jersey: If you’re going to the GOP convention in Tampa next month, be sure to be there by Tuesday night, Aug. 28, because Gov. Chris Christie is going to be giving the keynote speech that night. ‘We’ve been told that’s the night to be there, that’s when the governor is going to speak. They’re saying he’s the keynoter,’ one top party activist told The Post yesterday.”

PAWLENTY: “Pawlenty, whose name has figured prominently in speculation about the Republican vice presidential selection process, tells "CBS This Morning" he thinks the news media have been obsessed by questions surrounding Romney's taxes. And he accuses President Barack Obama of ‘hanging shiny objects before the public and the press, and the press is taking the bait,’” AP writes. “The former two-term Minnesota governor called releasing two years' of returns ‘the standard for Republican nominees.’ Pawlenty says, ‘I don't think there's any secret to the fact that Mitt Romney has been successful and he's achieved success and he's paid a lot of taxes.’”

He also said on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports that it’s the standard for a Republican to release two years of taxes – despite his father releasing 12 years and Barack Obama releasing 10.