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Veepstakes: Distancing from Bush

CHRISTIE: The closer… “Surrounded by the biggest names in Republican politics last night, Mitt Romney knew which one could hit it out of the park for him. ‘Here’s Chris Christie,’” the Star Ledger writes. “Romney told a crowd packed into a high school gym 20 minutes outside of Aspen. ‘Normally I’d start with him. But he’s a big closer. He knows how to just nail any topic.’ After nine other GOP governors spoke, Christie stood up to the most raucous cheers and — despite his famed outspokenness — began to calmly explain what he sees as the fundamental problem with Barack Obama’s presidency.”

The Asbury Park Press editorial page, (a paper in a pretty conservative area): “Gov. Chris Christie has made a whole lot of noise in the past about the evils of patronage in government jobs. Of course, most any new leader beats similar drums when inheriting layers of other-party personnel, most of whom by definition are viewed as unqualified bums. But Christie seemed for a time to be almost genuine in that belief, among other things calling for widespread reforms and consolidations to streamline piles of semi-autonomous agencies and authorities littering the New Jersey landscape with unnecessary payroll burdens. That, however, was before he started establishing for himself his own patronage pit — the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.”

PORTMAN: Portman trying to distance himself from Bush is being picked up in a lot of places, starting in an interview with The Hill. Here’s USA Today, the New York Daily News, the Cincinnati Enquirer (where he also says he hasn’t downloaded the veep app), and Politico.

RYAN: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that “if Ryan is on the Republican ticket, it would make ‘the southeastern part of the state probably more competitive,’ but that Obama retains great strength throughout Wisconsin.” And: “Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, added: ‘If Romney puts Ryan on the ticket, it puts the Ryan budget on the ticket, which means this will be a referendum on radical cuts to all those things that have helped people through tough economic times.’”

Battle of the nerds: Peter Orzsag is challenging Paul Ryan to show how his budget would lower health care costs.