Sería una versión actualizada de las audiciones que hizo Jimmy Carter en su granja de Plains. En este mundo actual sometido al ciclo informativo 24/7 (24 horas los 7 días de la semana), ya no es suficiente la clásica entrevista de trabajo; los aspirantes tienen que probar su disciplina y dedicación, y demostrar que pueden ser eficaces portavoces del candidato en la televisión nacional.“He said everything is fine. Do you think it’s fine?” Senator Rob Portman of Ohio asked a crowd gathered here in the town square on Sunday, reminding them of the president’s recent remark on the condition of the private sector. Several hundred people roared back “No!”A day earlier, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota fired up a Pennsylvania audience as he shouted, “Have you had enough of Obamacare?” As the Republicans loudly replied “Yes,” Mr. Romney clapped his hands and joined in the revelry.A growing sense of optimism surrounded Mr. Romney as he campaigned on a five-day bus tour through a half-dozen states that Mr. Obama carried in 2008, at least some of which seem to be within the Republican’s grasp. His caravan doubled as a series of rolling auditions, a chance for Mr. Romney and his family to measure their comfort level with a potential partner on the ticket.Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a favorite of many fiscal conservatives, takes his turn on Monday when he welcomes Mr. Romney to his hometown, Janesville.(...) The selection is still done with intense secrecy, but the Romney campaign has intentionally sought to eliminate at least some of the mystery about who might run. The back-to-back tryouts, first with Mr. Pawlenty, and then with Mr. Portman flipping pancakes with Mr. Romney on Sunday and standing alongside him for much of the day, provided a chance for the campaign to assess how Mr. Romney and either of the two would look as a ticket.In the privacy of Mr. Romney’s bus, the two chatted about politics and policy as they chugged across Ohio. Mr. Portman even helped clean up some of Mr. Romney’s grandchildren, who were out on the road for the day and messy from blueberry pie.(...) Mr. Romney, who has been thinking about a running mate since well before he locked up the Republican nomination, has been studying the dossiers on potential candidates. For weeks, lawyers have pored over votes in Congress, records in office, family histories, college dissertations and other published works.The search process, which is being overseen by one of Mr. Romney’s longtime confidantes, Beth Myers, is entirely isolated from the rest of his Boston campaign headquarters. The methodology, which Ms. Myers has declined to discuss, has been streamlined from the extensive 80-part questionnaire that Mr. Romney and other Republicans received four years ago when Senator John McCain was selecting a running mate.(...) A team is planning how a selection would be announced, but none of the people involved know who is on the short list.(...) In addition to a running mate being prepared to serve as president, aides said, Mr. Romney has expressed a strong desire for the candidate to be familiar with the rigors of the national campaign spotlight.Mr. Pawlenty, who quickly endorsed Mr. Romney after ending his own presidential bid last year, is one of the few prospective running mates without a full-time day job. He has made himself more available than nearly anyone else, often traveling across the country several times a week for the campaign.In Pennsylvania on Saturday, he was bouncing along on the campaign bus in bluejeans and keeping up an easy, casual rapport with Mr. Romney. And by Sunday morning, Mr. Pawlenty turned up in New York on the set of “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on ABC, aggressively deflecting criticism about Mr. Romney’s policies on immigration and other issues.Mr. Romney has formed some early impressions, according to several Republicans who spoke on the condition of anonymity: Mr. Christie is often late, as he was during a $5 million fund-raising dinner in New York City last month. After a few uncomfortable moments, Mr. Romney finally had to take the stage and speak first. When Mr. Christie did arrive, it was left to Mr. Romney to introduce him to the crowd.