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Who Will Be Romney's VP Pick?

After months of speculation, Mitt Romney may be finally announcing his vice presidential nominee on Friday. The list of choices is narrowing down, though there are still a number of frontrunners: House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan  (R-Wis.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) seem to be the most likely picks. Of course, there’s also a couple of dark horse contenders: former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and CIA Director David Petraeus are all options as well. Here are the basic stats on the most likely options.

The Frontrunners:

Paul Ryan: The Wall Street Journal just called him the best pick for VP, citing his proactive focus on entitlement reform as the factor that sets him ahead of other candidates. National Review Editor Rich Lowry wrote for Politico that Romney’s campaign needs “to have an unmistakable substantive content” and that Ryan would help pull Romney away from “a presidential campaign devoid of real interest.”

Rob Portman: According New York Times analysis, Portman is the most likely candidate to swing the national election in Romney’s favor (the odds were computed based on likelihood that the VP swings their home state for Romney, and that that swinging swings the election.) The Wall Street Journal called him “well respected nearly everywhere for his thoughtful, disciplined brand of conservative politics.” Nevertheless, his role in the Bush administration is hanging over him like a cloud, and won’t help Romney to differentiate himself from America’s most recent Republican president.

Marco Rubio: If Romney iss looking to pick a VP nominee who appeals to a broader voter base, Rubio could be his guy. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani just said that Rubio is the best choice, pointing out that the child of Cuban immigrants will appeal to Hispanic voters as well as the youth. On the other hand, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that Rubio has less chief executive experience than Sarah Palin, and Romney may be hesitant to rock the boat.

The Dark Horses:

Tim Pawlenty: This two-term Minnesota governor’s “working-class roots and middle American values would counter the stereotype of Mr. Romney as too rich and disconnected to average concerns,” the Wall Street Journal argued. Nevertheless, the New York Times’ analysis found that Pawlenty would actually lower the odds of Romney winning the electoral college, not to mention the risk that voters nationwide would approve of him even less than his home state does.

Condoleezza Rice: The conservative Drudge Report incorrectly named her as a VP frontrunner last month, but there’s a decent case to be made for Condi. She brings foreign policy experience, appeals to African American voters, and might help the Republican Party to overcome the bad press their “War on Women” has earned them.

David Petraeus: The CIA director might be “too good to be true” as a VP pick. Between his Princeton PhD in International Relations and his four-star General rank, he’s got a long list of qualifications. However, he just made a statement that he “will not seek elected office,” so even if Romney picks him, he might not accept.

Weigh In: Who will Romney choose to be his Vice Presidential Nominee. And who should he choose? 

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