Veepstakes: An offer they can’t refuse

Amy Walter, David Chalian, Rick Klein, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham
Power PlayersApril 4, 2012

Top Line

Let the 'veepstakes' begin. As the Republican primary winds to a close, the immediate question becomes: Who is going to be the vice presidential nominee? Now is the time when anyone on a potential short-list gets asked: 'Are you going to be the nominee? Are you interested in this? The contenders rarely say no if asked, but must not express an eager interest. What comes out instead are a series of public denials, and non-denial denials. Meanwhile, Republicans and pundits alike are picking apart the attributes, and short comings, of potential running mates.

"I'm not going to be the vice president in 2012," Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told ABC News. That decision is not actually up to Rubio; the Republican presidential nominee will make that call. Rubio is simply doing what all potential vice presidential picks do: Play it cool, be coy, and play hard to get.

Public denials aside, Rubio would check a lot of boxes for front runner Mitt Romney -- he has Tea Party support, he comes from the battleground state of Florida, and the Hispanic factor is huge. But Rubio is also a freshman senator and may not fully vet -- and rest assured, that Game Change lesson, that Sarah Palin pick of 2008, is on the mind of Mitt Romney's team.

Paul Ryan, Nikki Haley, and Chris Christie all come with their pros and cons. How do they duck the VP question (one of our favorites, "Do I look like somebody's vice president?" scoffed by Gov. Christie, R-N.J.), and how do they measure up against the running mate prerequisites? Check out this week's Top Line to find out.