T-Paw Abandons Sinking Ship

Former Minnesorta Gov. Tim Pawlenty, one of Mitt’s national campaign co-chairs, has abandoned Mitt’s rapidly sinking ship and swum safely to  K Street, where he will make tons of $ as CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable.

They would have held the job open for another seven weeks if he’d had the slightest interest in staying on board the SS Romney.

Having run a disaster of a presidential campaign himself, T-Paw knows one when he sees one.

T-Paw’s hasty retreat is an embarrassment for Mittens.  Mitt’s been dealing with red flags, but this is an early white flag.

Dems Feared T-Paw

I agree with Politico* that the veep pick the Obama campaign feared most was Tim Pawlenty, with his truck driver dad, his mom dying of cancer when he was 16, and his being the first in his family to graduate from college.  He could have gone toe-to-toe with Joe Biden on regular guy-ness, and he didn’t have anything like the Ryan plan hung around his neck.

* “The Veep Obama didn’t want to face,” Glenn Thrush

And Then There Were Three

The Great Mentioners are convinced that the Veepstakes is down to Tim Pawlenty, Rob Portman, and Paul Ryan.  Ryan is considered the most bold — and potentially dangerous — of the three because of his plan to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher system.  I don’t see Mitt going with bold and dangerous.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia has locked the pages of potential veep choices with limited exceptions for those with certain accounts who’ve made changes before.

Who’s Behind the Bain Stuff?

Someone is pushing hard on the Bain stuff, and I wonder if maybe it’s not a Dem.  First, it was pushed by David Corn at Mother Jones, then expanded on by Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo with more SEC documents, and then picked up by The Boston Globe.

This is the kind of attack you’d expect the Obama campaign to pursue in the fall, after the conventions, when they want to go after Mitt’s character and brand him a liar.

That’s why I wonder if there are GOP Powers That Be who are trying to derail Mitt now and keep him from being the nominee.  They know he’s a disaster.

Would it be too late for someone else to get a campaign up and running?  I don’t think so.  First of all, a lot of the work is going to get done by outside groups like Karl Rove’s.   Those folks are already geared up.  Plus, there are plenty of good policy advisers, strategists, ad people, etc. who aren’t currently working for Mitt, but who have solid experience on presidential campaigns.  The state and local parties have their people in place ready to help with events and logistics.  And no one runs in all 50 states anyway.

Who would they crown?  Not Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry or Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.  I’m thinking someone who doesn’t freak out independents, but would be fine with the base, someone like Tim Pawlenty or Mike Huckabee.

If I’m right — you read it here first.  If I’m wrong, it won’t be the first time!

Bobby Jindal’s Freudian Slip

In a conference call for Mitt’s campaign, Jindal had a Freudian slip and referred to Obamacare as “Obamneycare,” that unfortunate (but true) term coined by Tim Pawlently during the primary.

If he had any shot at being Veep, that slip was the “death panel” for his chances.  Mitt is more likely to pick Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Buh-buh, Bobby.

Marco! Rubio! Says Mitt Did Invite Him

I posted yesterday that Mittens is having a big retreat in Park City, Utah this weekend for his major donors and supporters.  I wrote that while a number of potential veeps would be there (Portman, Ryan, Pawlenty), Rubio had not been invited.

Today Rubio says he was invited, but he wants to spend the weekend with his kids.  People who want to spend weekends with their kids don’t go into politics.

Rubio Off Guest List

Mittens is having a very high-profile retreat this weekend for his biggest ($50,000 and up) donors and supporters in  Park City, Utah.  VP short-listers Tim Pawlenty, Rob Portman, Paul Ryan, and John Thune will all be there.  Marco Rubio?  His invitation seems to have gotten lost in the mail.

Who else will be there?  Bold-faced GOP names like Condi Rice, Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, John McCain, Karl Rove, Fred Barnes.   Lots of super rich Mittmen (and women) like Meg Whitman and Frank Langone.

Veepstakes Narrowing

Rumors abound that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is out of the running, amid concerns that he would overshadow Mitt.  That’s certainly true, both physically and personality-wise.

Those left on the short list seem to be Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.  Pawlenty is supposedly favored by Ann Romney, which I suspect is a huge plus.

How Veepstakes Look from the Beltway

The National Journal offers its latest rankings for Mitt’s VP choice:

# 1  Ohio Senator Rob Portman (up from #4)

# 2  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (up from #7)

# 3  Florida Senator Marco Rubio (down from #2)

# 4  Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan (down from #1)

# 5  Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (up from #8)

# 6 Wild Card (up from #10)

# 7  Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (not ranked)

# 8  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (down from #5)

# 9  Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (down from #3)

#10  New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte (down from #6)

Nobody on this list would get me to vote for Mitt.  I think he’d have to kidnap my son and hold a gun to his head to get me to vote for him.