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A Big Campaign?

10:20 AM, Aug 6, 2012 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES and WILLIAM KRISTOL
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There've been many emails in response to our editorial in this week's issue, “Go for the Gold, Mitt!” Two were particularly noteworthy.

First this, from a well-connected and dyed-in-the-wool Romney supporter:

I'm convinced Mitt needs to make this a "big issues" election. And the best way to do that is to pick the best voice "we" have for arguing our side of the big issues: Congressman Ryan. Mitt may well be able to eke out a victory with someone safe like Pawlenty (or Portman), but it will likely be too close for comfort, and any little thing could derail the campaign.

I know Ryan brings with him the Ryan plan and the threat of demagoguing.  But hundreds of millions in the bank give us our own megaphone.  And we're right on the issues so we should welcome the fight.  (Not to mention the benefit of winning a mandate by running a substantive campaign.)

You know that there are few more loyal backers of Mitt than I.  And I will enthusiastically do whatever I can to get him elected, whomever he picks, because I truly believe he has the unique skill set this country needs in 2012 -- the ability to analyze and turnaround institutions (like the federal government) badly in need of repair, married to impeccable integrity, intelligence and achievement.

But it sure would be easier if we made this a big campaign.

And another: 

I was an early supporter of Pawlenty for president and then for VP, but have to throw my lot in with you now and hope for Ryan as VP.

I thought this election would simply be about competence and jobs, jobs, jobs.  As a conservative I would have gladly liked someone exciting that would stirred my soul, but I just wanted to win.

But now I see that even if Romney was the best of a bad lot of candidates he needs help articulating where we are, how we got here and the path forward ... and Ryan does that better than anyone but maybe Christie. So let's go for broke and have the fight!

Speaking of Christie: As of Friday, when we wrote the editorial, we’d been led to believe Christie wasn't in serious consideration. We now have reason to think he may be. So to be clear: We'd certainly include him with Ryan and Rubio as potential gold medal finalists. As to choosing among the three of them? A photo finish. But choosing a VP candidate who will help Romney run a big, forward looking campaign—that is not a close call.

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