A day after Florida Senator Marco Rubio endorsed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and dismissed vice president nominee rumors, the authors of the book-turned-film Game Change shared their predictions on who will take the Republican seat for second-in-command.
Political journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, alongside John McCain’s chief strategist in 2008, Steve Schmidt, talked in front of a full audience at Hofstra University Thursday about their book and the potential game changers of this election. The three focused intensely on Gov. Sarah Palin’s role as a game changer in 2008, and how the poor results of her nomination have caused Romney’s campaign to think twice about who its vice president pick.
“[W]ith the memory of Gov. Palin so bright in their minds,” said Heilemann, “I think there’s a much higher level of risk and it takes people off the table who could conceivable do some of the things you’d want to do for Mitt Romney.”
Predicting a no-risk route for Romney, Heilemann and Halperin don’t consider any of the potential vice president nominees a risk like Palin.
“The people who are out there, I think the most likely picks at this point are not game changing picks in almost any respect,” said Halperin.
Thus, in predicting that Romney will not gamble on a game changer, Heilemann and Halperin pinpoint the safe picks for the Republican vice president nominee.
“At this stage in his career, my guess is that Gov. Romney will have to do something incredibly boring and incredibly responsible,” said Heilemann.
Both authors expect Ohio Senator Rob Portman will be that boring, but responsible pick. Hailing from an important swing state for Romney, Portman provides competence and the qualifications to take on the role of commander-in-chief if he had to. But while Portman helps Romney’s campaign fundamentally, Halperin argues that he lacks the star-quality Palin brought to the presidential race in 2008.
“Rob Portman is considered a blank figure that makes Mitt Romney look like Lady Gaga,” said Halperin, in reference to a line by Washington Post opinion writer Dana Milbank. “So it might make Romney look like a jazzier guy.”
However, if Romney chooses to go flashy, Halperin suggests New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is Romney’s best bet.
“I think Gov. Christie who comes with some real risks associated with him, I can see him being a game changing pick for a variety of reasons, “said Halperin.
According to CBS News, Romney leads the Republican primaries with 554 delegates