Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. Secretary of State; Nikki Haley, the Governor of South Carolina; and Susana Martinez, the Governor of New Mexico, were all announced as speakers at this month’s convention in Tampa—all but ruling them out as Mr. Romney’s choice for vice-president.
None of the three women were thought to be likely choices but all had been floated as possibilities—especially by those urging Mr. Romney to pick a woman in order to improve his standing among female voters.
The convention speaking slot announcements are closely monitored by political observers as they often yield clues to the candidate’s selection process. The running mate is always given a prominent speaking slot at the convention and it would be highly unusual for Mr. Romney to pick someone who had already been assigned a speaking time.
As the convention draws nearer, the chorus of speculation about Mr. Romney’s pick has swelled. Pundits have focused on Rob Portman, a safe if somewhat unexciting senator from Ohio; Tim Pawlenty, a former governor of Minnesota who ran against Mr. Romney in the primary but is now a loyal surrogate; and Paul Ryan, a young Wisconsin congressman who is best known as the author of the Ryan Plan—a ferociously conservative budget that would slash government spending.
Other possible contenders include Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American senator from the swing state of Florida; and Bobby Jindal, the Indian-American Governor of Louisiana.
Mr. Romney has a reputation for caution and deliberation but could still shock the political establishment by picking a relative unknown, as John McCain did with Sarah Palin in 2008.
Mr. McCain will speak at the convention in support of his 2008 primary rival, as will Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas and a leading figure on the Christian Right.
The Republican Party has still not announced who will make the coveted key note address, which is usually reserved for a rising star. Chris Christie, the outspoken Governor of New Jersey, has been repeatedly cited as a possible choice.
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