Political heavyweights share predictions on Romney VP selection

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is staying tight-lipped about his coming running mate selection, but that hasn’t stopped intensifying speculation over the decision.

“I have nothing for you on the vice presidential question,” Romney said when asked if he had made up his mind during an interview aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“I give you nothing on that. But I can assure that by the third day of the Republican convention we will nominate a Republican VP,” he added.

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But other political heavyweights are placing their bets on who will join the GOP presidential ticket.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA Bipartisan gun measure survives test vote Senate Republicans may defy NRA on guns MORE (R) placed his money on former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) and Ohio Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA McConnell quashes Senate effort on guns Poll: Burr narrowly leads Democrat in NC Senate race MORE (R), both of whom are rumored to be on Romney’s short list.

Florida GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart tossed his weight behind fellow Sunshine State lawmaker, Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioColorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Rubio: I hope I can trust whoever wins with the nuclear codes Rubio faces Trump-like challenger in primary MORE (R).

"I think Marco Rubio would be a spectacular candidate for vice president. I think he would energize the country. I think he has a great story,” Diaz-Balart said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” noting that Rubio has “more” elected experience than Romney did. 

Former Democratic Govs. Ted Strickland (Ohio) and Ed Rendell (Pa.), whose states are key battlegrounds also weighed in with their predictions.

Strickland said he expected Pawlenty to get the nod over Portman, noting Portman’s role as then-U.S. Trade Representative and Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under former President George W. Bush.

“He was the budget director at a time when we were careening towards the conditions that led to this recession," Strickland said, adding that Pawlenty, however could attract evangelical voters for Romney.

Rendell joked that he wanted lightning-rod conservative and one-time presidential hopeful Rep. Michele BachmannMichele BachmannFalwell faces flak for posing with Trump in front of Playboy The Trail 2016: On faith and the economy Michele Bachmann to advise Trump on evangelical issues MORE (R-Minn.) on the GOP ticket.

“I’m for Michele Bachmann for vice president. I want everyone to be clear about that," he said laughing. 

Rendell also applauded Romney for saying he would choose a running mate with enough experience to step into the role of president should it become necessary.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who has also been the focus of speculation, however, followed Romney’s lead and refused to share his thoughts on the decision, refusing to even confirm if he has been vetted.

McDonnell told CBS host Bob Schieffer, “as soon as I find out, I'll let you know.” 

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