As speculation mounts over who Mitt Romney will select as his 2012 running mate, one of the favorite contenders insisted today that he may not want the job.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman, whose name most often tops potential V.P. lists, said today that he plans to remain in the Senate for the rest of his term, and hinted that, contrary to popular belief, he is not on Romney’s shortlist.
“I am happy where I am, I’m fortunate to get to represent our state,” Portman said in an interview with an Ohio radio station this morning. “I was elected in 2010 because of my interest in trying to move our country forward and our state forward here in the U.S. Senate, so that’s where I intend to stay.”
Of course, it is customary for vice-presidential candidates to say they are happy where they are, so Portman’s comments should probably be taken with a grain of salt (although most of his fellow VP contenders have dropped the pretense).
Later in the interview, Portman did volunteer some names who he thinks would be “terrific choices” for Romney’s No. 2.
“I like [former Minnesota Governor Tim] Pawlenty a lot, I know him well, I’ve been with him in Ohio introducing him to some of my supporters and constituents,” Portman said. “There are also a few Senators who have expressed interest possibly — Marco Rubio, John Thune, Kelly Ayotte, all strong candidates.”
He added that he thinks Condoleeza Rice is “terrific.”
But he also cautioned against putting too much stock in who Romney selects as his running mate:
“I know this could disappoint some of the folks in the media who focus a lot on this VP pick, but people vote for the President.”