What Does the RNC Line-Up Say About Romney’s Potential VP Pick?

The Republican National Convention will convene in exactly three weeks in Tampa, Florida, and today the Republican National Committee has released the first round of speakers for the event.  But does the list tell us anything about who is or isn’t in the running to be presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate?

The list is:

  • South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, the first female governor of South Carolina and the youngest sitting governor in the United States;
  • Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, the 44th governor of Arkansas and 2008 presidential candidate is a NY Times best-selling author, radio and television show host;
  • Ohio Governor John Kasich, former House Budget Committee chairman;
  • New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, the first female Hispanic governor in the U.S. and the first female governor of New Mexico;
  • Arizona Senator John McCain, the party’s 2008 nominee, now serving his fifth term in the U.S. Senate;
  • Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, America’s 66th secretary of state and the first African-American female to hold the position; and
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott, from the convention host state

It seems rather unlikely that the RNC would put the likely nominee in the line up already, although it is possible that they have no idea who Romney is looking at. But if we assume Romney has had some input on the schedule, that would leave a few notable people off the list that could be considered a sign that they are on the short list. The most obvious would be New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, who was nearly inseparable from Romney on the trail and everywhere as a surrogate and whom he might think would bolster his lady problem.

However, Ayotte is not considered to be the strongest of public speakers. Especially compared to some other notably absent names and possible V.P. picks, such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio, or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Either Christie or Rubio would make an excellent pick for a keynote, which has not yet been announced. But does that mean the other one must be the running mate?  It’s very hard to tell, especially since there are no Pauls on the initial speakers’ list, either. 

It has long been assumed that Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s continued efforts to win over delegates even after the caucuses and primaries were long finished were a strategy to gaining clout at the convention. The absence of his name from the current list might mean that he has failed and is out of he picture, or that he traded that power for some other goal–perhaps to get his son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul added to the ticket?

In the end, the speakers named to date may do little to clarify who might still be in the running, except maybe to rule out one person.

Sorry, Senator McCain.

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