Pity the poor Republicans deemed to be on Mitt Romney’s short list for vice presidential running mate: If they want the job, tradition and politics dictate that they have to say they don’t, or won’t get picked, or are too busy in their current job to give the veepstakes much thought. For candidates who really don’t want to be on the list, it’s worse: You’re still going to be asked about the No. 2 slot on the ticket in every interview, and how many ways are there to say no, without offending Romney and other powerful figures in the GOP?
Here, some of the best ‘I won’t be Romney’s running mate’ lines:
- Mike Huckabee: His talents are best used elsewhere
Why he’s in the veepstakes: Huckabee is already a household name, thanks to his 2008 run for president and subsequent Fox News show, and he’s popular with social conservatives and right-leaning economic populists. He’s also an ordained Baptist minister with a sunny public disposition.
Why he won’t be chosen: “I think there’s a greater likelihood that I’ll be asked by Madonna to go on tour as her bass player than I’ll be picked to be on the ticket,” Huckabee told ABC News on June 10.
- Jeb Bush: Not interested in towing the party line
Why he’s in the veepstakes:The former Florida governor, and younger scion of the Bush clan, is a Republican’s Republican, a uniting figure who can bring together different factions of the GOP — and could help Romney win Florida.
Why he won’t be chosen: Being Romney’s running mate is “not in the cards for me,” Bush told ABC News on June 1. “I don’t know how many times I have to repeat this. I have been repeating it for the last two years. I’ve been pretty consistent…. I am not a candidate. I’m not going to be asked…. This will prove I’m not running for anything: If you could bring to me a majority of people to say that we are going to have $10 of spending cuts for $1 of revenue enhancement, put me in, coach.”
- Marco Rubio: The Freudian slip
Why he’s in the veepstakes:The freshman senator from Florida is Latino, photogenic, and popular with the Tea Party, and he is popular at home, in the biggest of the swing states.
Why he won’t be chosen: ”I don’t want to be the vice president,” Rubio told National Journal in April. “But you know he’s not going to ask. That doesn’t work. He’s watching this interview right now…. Three, four, five, six, seven years from now, if I do a good job as vice president — I’m sorry, if I do a good job as a senator instead of a vice president, I’ll have a chance to do all sorts of things, including commissioner of the NFL, which is where the real power is.”
- Chris Christie: Too big to make the cut
Why he’s in the veepstakes: The tough-talking New Jersey governor has been campaigning for Romney since last fall, and he’s endeared himself to the Republican base by taking on public service unions as policy and politics — Christie’s short videos of himself verbally smacking-down critics at town hall events have gone viral on YouTube.
Why he won’t be chosen: ”Do I look like somebody’s vice president?” the famously portly Christie said at a December 2011 Romney rally in Iowa. “If you were a betting woman, I wouldn’t bet on Romney-Christie. I wouldn’t lay any money on that.”
4 more creative ways short-listed Republicans have said (believably or not) thanks, but no thanks, to VP speculation