Romney camp: No VP yet, despite reports
Updated 2:47 p.m. ET
(CBS News) Mitt Romney's presidential campaign on Monday knocked down reports that the presumptive GOP candidate has chosen his running mate.
Early Monday, the New York Times reported that "Mr. Romney has reached a decision, his friends believe, and he may disclose it as soon as this week."
However, after a fundraiser in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told reporters that no decision has been reached. He later told the Associated Press that Romney could make "a final decision in the coming days."
Romney hosted the fundraiser with one of his potential running mates, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, but Fehrnstrom said that Jindal and Romney did not talk today about the vice presidential slot.
By announcing his vice presidential pick before the Republican National Convention, Romney could generate new excitement for his campaign. The move could also provide a distraction from the scrutiny he's received recently over his tenure at Bain Capital and his refusal to release more than two years worth of tax returns.
The window of opportunity for Romney to announce his running mate ahead of the convention, which starts in Tampa Bay on August 27, is narrowing: Romney is traveling to London to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics in just 11 days. After that, he is stopping in Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Announcing his running mate weeks before the convention could cause headaches for Romney, since it opens up the campaign to new scrutiny. As former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a seasoned Republican, said earlier this year of choosing a running mate: "Never make a political decision until you have to."
Still, revealing his decision now would help Romney regain control of the political narrative at a time when the Obama campaign appears intent on continuing its hard-nosed attacks on Romney's business record. The right running mate could serve as an effective attack dog against the Obama campaign and help generate more campaign donations.
Along with Jindal, handful of prominent Republicans reportedly remain in the running for the VP slot, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, South Dakota Sen. John Thune and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Like Pawlenty, Jindal would also help Romney improve his standing with evangelical Republicans and bring executive experience to the table. He's won over conservatives with his handling of the 2010 BP oil spill, as well as state budget issues, the Washington Post reports. The governor has been a fierce surrogate for the presidential candidate thus far.
Thune, meanwhile, told the Hill that he has met with Romney's senior advisers and Beth Myers, the trusted adviser running the vice presidential search process. The South Dakota senator could help Romney in midwestern states like Iowa and could excite conservative activists. He would, however, be called to defend his 2008 vote of support for the Wall Street bailout and his past support of earmarking.
Political commentators have noted many things that Romney supporters might find not to like, however. Chief among them: The fact that Rice has called herself "moderately pro-choice."
Another choice that could generate some buzz would be Chris Christie, the unabashedly outspoken New Jersey governor. Perhaps to prove his buzzworthiness, Christie's office recently released a list called "Chris Christie by the numbers," which shows that the governor has generated 5 million YouTube hits and has raised taxes a grand total of zero times. Christie, however, could be an especially risky choice. He's engaged in some confrontations that have raised eyebrows, and the New York Times reported last month that his tardiness to events may have made a bad impression on the Romney campaign.
Rob Portman, meanwhile, could be a safer -- if blander -- choice. The senator's strongest asset is his organization in Ohio, a must-win state this year. Portman will campaign for Romney in Lebanon, Ohio today just hours before President Obama campaigns in Cincinnati. According to CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller, the president has made more trips to Ohio than any state other than New York, a fundraising mecca, and Washington's neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia.
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