“There is very little information coming out of Boston on the vice presidential selection process,” says Karl.
He does not, however, anticipate the Romney camp to shock the nation with an out-of-the-blue choice in the way the McCain campaign surprised nearly every political observer. “Most of the people covering this thing say it comes down to [Ohio Sen. Rob] Portman or [former Minnesota Gov. Tim] Pawlenty,” says Karl. “I added [Wisconsin Rep.] Paul Ryan in there. I think there is a 20 percent chance that it could be Marco Rubio, or they pull somebody else out like a [New Hampshire Sen.] Kelly Ayotte. But it wouldn’t’ be a total shock the way Palin was. No [Oklahoma] Gov. Mary Fallin.”
Karl scooped the political world again this week when he announced that he had learned the Romney campaign had narrowed their vice presidential picks down significantly and had told at least two potential candidates to be on standby for an announcement that could come at any moment. Portman and Pawlenty made Karl’s list, but political observers were surprised that he thought the selection of Ryan was just as likely. In fact, Karl thinks much of the political wisdom that sees Ryan as a detriment to the Romney ticket is undone by the former Massachusetts governor’s personal support for both Ryan as a politician and his embrace of the House Budget Committee chairman’s controversial Path to Prosperity budget reform proposal.
“I think Romney has already embraced the Ryan budget and I think they’re fully aware that they’re going to get attacked on it whether he’s there or not,” said Karl. “Ryan is the best person to defend against those attacks on the ticket.”
“His only experience is as a member of Congress, so there are a lot of reasons why you could imagine it would not be him, but he has one very big believer and that is, I believe, Romney himself,” said Karl. “I think the only opinion that matters is Romney’s.”
Karl thinks, ultimately, that the conventional wisdom that dismisses the impact a vice presidential choice can have on whether or not a candidate wins that running mate’s home state is wrong. Romney will derive geographical benefits from the vice presidential nominee and that will influence his decision. “If you have a Marco Rubio – even if he makes half a point of difference in Florida, it matters” said Karl. “Rob Portman in Ohio – that could mean the difference between winning and losing Ohio.”