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Who Will Romney Pick to Be His Running Mate?

1:23 PM, Mar 30, 2012 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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In all likelihood, there will come a time, assuming Romney wins the nomination, when he will begin to take seriously the question of whom he will add to the ticket. People on the “long list” that is surely floating around in Romney’s head, if not somewhere around Boston headquarters, will be asked to provide reams of paperwork detailing virtually every aspect of their professional and personal lives. Romney, who campaigned with Rubio in 2010 and has called him a “leading light of the Republican Party,” would be foolish not to include him.

Another possibility: Paul Ryan, who endorsed Romney on Friday. (See Fred Barnes from last week on that possible pairing.)

Ryan said last week that he was open to an offer from Romney. “I would have to consider it,” Ryan told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. “But it’s not something I’m even thinking about because I think our job in Congress is pretty important.”

It was a classic Ryan response. “I’m not going to lie to people,” he says. “I can’t do that.” Even when he was considering a run of his own, he had a hard time trying to convince people otherwise. When I asked him Friday about his openness to the job, Ryan told me he’s a detailed, methodical thinker and said he hadn’t given nearly as much thought to joining the GOP ticket as he had to running himself. “You forced me to move up my decision on this race,” he said, referring to reporting last August that Ryan was seriously considering a bid. “I’d planned a two-week decision making process. I had a timeline, a pro-con thought sheet, I was talking to my family and people close to me – all that got moved up.” And when he ultimately decided to pass on a run of his own, he ended a period of examination that had lasted, at some levels, for several months.

Thus far, he hasn’t devoted any significant time to thinking about a possible Romney-Ryan ticket. I honestly have not given this any serious thought and I’ve been just really focused on the budget. If they tell me to think about it, I’ll think about it.”

Ryan says he endorsed Romney because in their personal interactions, he became convinced that Romney isn’t satisfied just being an alternative to Barack Obama in the fall. “He’s willing to take the political risk involved in giving the country two very stark choices,” Ryan says. “He’s endorsed what we’re trying to do in the budget framework. He’s put out specifics on taxes, Social Security, Medicare.”

Ryan believes Republicans will have to move quickly in January 2013 if they control the House, Senate, and White House. “When you talk to him about what needs to be done, he’s ready to do it. I walked him through – here’s what 2013 is going to have to look like if we’re going to avoid a debt crisis. I told him we’d have to really move. His comment to me is we’re going to have to do it in the first 100 days.”

Those promises will no doubt reassure some conservative skeptics of Romney. Picking a movement conservative as his running mate would reassure many more.

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