Memo to Mitt: Name names

Beyond the immediate question of who his vice presidential running mate should be, I wish the former Massachusetts governor would tell us more about the people he would like to include in his administration. Earlier this week, Rod Paige, a former Secretary of Education in the Bush 43 era, agreed to serve on Romney's national Education Policy Advisory Committee. As vital as education is to our nation's future, nothing is more important to either presidential candidate than reviving America's struggling economy. Candidly, both their political legacies depend on it. 

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Conventional political wisdom suggests that President Obama's reelection effort will hinge on the economy. Ditto for Romney. He has just announced a goal of reducing unemployment to 6% during his first term in office. Notwithstanding some major international crisis this summer or fall, one of them is going to win in November based on voters' pocketbooks and bank accounts.

To this end, it's no wonder Obama has attacked Romney's career at Bain Capital, while Romney has been talking for months about Obama's failure to repair the economy. If reelected, the president most likely will try to keep many of his key economic advisers, like Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and Alan Kruger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, in place. Not so Romney. I'm guessing he will want to immediately clean house beginning with Geithner and Kruger.

So who might Romney pick as his top economic guru? Will it be someone from Harvard or Wall Street; Stanford or the Silicon Valley? Will he or she be a veteran of a previous administration or "new" to the high stakes world of Washington? In either case, that person will need to eat and breathe the #1 guiding principle of this year's presidential election: "It's the economy, stupid."

I don't know the answer to these questions, but I sure hope Gov. Romney is thinking about them now. When football coaches or baseball managers take over a team's top job, they name their coaching staffs, right?  Of course they do. Voters should demand no less from the candidate who wants to be the next leader of the free world (and celebrated for turning  around the U.S. economy).

Freidenrich, a former congressional staff assistant, is the founder of First Strategies consulting in Laguna Beach.