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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

“Inside the Circus” by Mike Allen and Evan Thomas

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Politico’s Mike Allen, co-author along with Evan Thomas of Inside the Circus, joins me in hour two to go through some of the key portions of the new ebook.

Order the POLITICO Playbook 2012 ebook today!
The transcript of that conversation will be posted here later, and it includes the unusual parallels in Romney’s and Obama’s backgrounds:

HH: As I said in hour number one, the Republican race for the primary nomination is still over. It’s still over, it’s been over since Florida. But if you want to know why it’s over, why Mitt Romney’s going to be the nominee, you may want to go to Politico.com and order the brand new e-book, Inside The Circus by Mike Allen and Evan Thomas. It’s their second installment in their sort of instabooks that come out throughout Campaign 2012. Now, their White House correspondent and principal political prognosticator extraordinaire, Mike Allen, joins me. Hello, Mike.

MA: Well, Hugh, thank you so much for having me on.

HH: Hey, congratulations. Inside The Circus was a wonderful read. Like the first one, I sat down and read it cover to cover in a single sitting. How’s it doing?

MA: Very kind of you. It’s doing great. It’s one of the best selling political e-books ever, and it’s because of the great Evan Thomas, who is an amazing writer, and Jon Meacham, the editor and conceiver of it. So our idea was to do that old Newsweek project, remember, where they would embed a reporter during the campaign, and they couldn’t write anything until after the campaign. Now, for the digital age, we are doing it in real time. So Jon Meacham calls is Teddy White in real time. At least that’s what we’re shooting for. [# More #]

HH: Well, I love parts of it. I disagree strongly with other parts of it. Let’s walk through and start with, I think, probably the best part of it, which is every “advisor” and senior consultant, and all of the Republican campaigns appear to have had a few drinks with Mike Allen and Evan Thomas along the way.

MA: Yeah, we cast as broad a net as we can. The idea is pull back the curtain, show people what’s really happening behind the photo ops and the speeches they see.

HH: Let me go to Page, actually, I got a page proof. It doesn’t have pages in it, so I’ll just have to read it to you. “Those closest to Mitt Romney, his staff as well as his friends and family, remain devoutly loyal. Despite some internal tensions, the campaign was remarkably free from the public spitefulness and sniping that characterized many presidential campaigns. Romney set the business-like, no-nonsense tone with some exceptions. The Romneyites generally avoided selling out one another, engaging in the sort of petty intrigues common to stressed-out campaign workers surrounded by opportunistic reporters.” In other words, it sounds like the no-drama Obama has met his match in the no-drama Romney.

MA: No that’s a great point. What we found as we talked with people who have worked with Governor Romney over the years, some of his family members, talked about, what we learned is what a great boss he is, and the fact that he, behind the scenes, is sort of Mr. Fix-It in a way that they’ve never conveyed through the campaign. So there’s real frustration by some of the people who’ve been around Governor Romney for a long time that voters just aren’t seeing who they see. His son, Tagg Romney, talked about how Mitt Romney would come over, and he’d bring a pickup truck, and he’d want to fix the water heater. He’d want to figure out something in the garden. So he’s very self-sufficient. He wants to sell voters on that idea, and they’ve just struggled. So within the campaign, there’s a big question. How much do you let Romney be Romney? How much should you script him or unscript him? Hugh, some of the people that we talked to for Inside The Circus thought that he was too constrained, that the campaign was too afraid to let him out, go out there. And they pushed to, as one person said to us, open up the kimono, let people see that Mitt Romney’s a real person, and as one of them said to us, bleeds red.

HH: Now Mike, talk to us a little bit about sources, because as I went through this and I made my notes, I made my notes between one and ten, i.e. a source that I consider to really know what they’re talking about, because I’ve been following Team Romney for six years now, since I started a book in 2006. and I know most of these people, and I’ve dealt with a lot of them. I don’t know [Matt| Rhoades, and I don’t know Stuart [Stevens|, but most everyone else has come across my radar at some point, so I know what a kind of team it is. But there are a lot of hangers-on around political campaigns, and I don’t think the Romney campaign is any different in that they’ve got layers upon layers upon layers of advisors. The people that you speak to, do you consider them in Zone 1, meaning Matt Rhoades, and the people that talk to the candidate directly? Or are many of them in Zone 5, and some of them in Zone 10?

MA: We talked only to people who, or use information only from people who we believe know, people who were there, saw it. And what’s in the book is congruent with what we’ve learned other places. So just because somebody’s out there running their mouth, we’re not going to put them in the book. We only put it in the book if Mike Allen, Evan Thomas want to put their name behind it, believe that that’s what’s going on within the campaign, and people from the campaign believe that we captured it accurately.

HH: Now I want to stay focused on Romney, because do you agree with me he is going to be the nominee, Mike Allen?

MA: He already is. And he’s, we had a very fascinating, you had a great post last night about he’s still the nominee. But now, he’s acting like it. One thing that we learned was that starting today, Mitt Romney’s not going to say the words Rick Santorum again. His focus now is running for president of the United States. The campaign believes he’s won the nomination. They believe he’s defeated Rick Santorum. And so if there’s some kind of responding that needs to be done to Rick Santorum, it’ll be by a surrogate, it’ll be by staff. But Governor Romney is now running against President Obama. And you look at the President’s remarks yesterday, and he feels the same way. So both of them now are engaging. The general election has begun, despite the fact that there’s a little leftover action still to occur on the Republican side. But I can tell you that is not what’s going to distract Mitt Romney or the campaign right now. A debate in the Romney campaign that Hugh, you’re kind to be a faithful reader of Politico Playbook, so you probably saw this, this morning, that there are two schools of thought. Do you spend a ton of money in Pennsylvania on April 24th, try to crush Rick Santorum, humiliate him in his home state, end it for good? Or are we just headed there anyway, you just let nature take its course, and save that money for the general election. I don’t know what they’ve determined on that, but that’s what they’re trying to figure out. And it’ll be a very important decision for the temperature of the race.

HH: There’s a middle path there as well, which is you don’t do anything to clobber Rick Santorum and his people, but you do play in Pennsylvania for purposes of building your general election campaign staff, that you want your committees in place, you want your volunteers identified, your phone banks set up, and you want the Santorum people to come over and help you staff them at the end of the day. So you do not deliver the Thor hammer to anyone from here going forward, since it’s an inevitability. Let’s talk, Mike, about personality about Romney. Early in the book, you write that the campaign, they said, you’re talking again with strategists who are close, some, including a couple of Romney friends who spoke to us, said that no strategy could lift up the Romney campaign. The campaign, they said, did not have a strategy problem or a Stuart’s problem. It had a Mitt problem. Romney was just not relatable. And here, you are repeating, this is not Mike Allen thinking, you’re repeating a common refrain which I challenge, but it said he had lived inside bubbles, prep school in a wealthy Detroit suburb, lifelong service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, many years in the rarified world of high finance. He had never hung out in bars, and rarely, if every, whiled away the hour by watching sports. Even at Harvard Law and business schools, he’d been regarded as aloof, remote from the early 70s student scene. Now when I did the work on the book in 2006, a few things don’t jive with this, so I want to test them. Number one, it’s hard to be cloistered when you do a mission in France in 1967-68, because of the upheavals there and the places that he lived, except for very brief periods of time. So he actually has had a lot of experience dealing with sort of ordinary people. Part two, when he was a bishop, as he was in the Latter-Day Saints church, you have to deal with everyone from the pregnant teenager to the out of work dad who’s got four kids, to the people who are, you know, tithing on multi-million dollar incomes. It’s really one of the more worldly experiences you can have.

MA: Sure, of course. And of course that’s different from serving in the military, or working at Wal-Mart. You’re among your own people. But of course, and to say nothing of campaigning for governor, or becoming governor, or running an Olympics. Of course it’s not to say that he’s lived in some sort of bubble. It’s that there is a bridge that he struggles to cross to get other people to see him the way these people close in see him. And this isn’t something that we say. This is something that the campaign is very cognizant of, and is looking for ways to deal with. Hugh, I think in the next couple of weeks, and certainly in the next couple of months, we’re going to see a little bit of Mitt Romney, this is your life. We’re going to see it dramatized for voters and campaign reporters some of these experiences from his life that you’re talking about. I think we’ll see Mitt Romney traveling around the country, visiting places where he’s had these experiences, as voters get to know him. Mitt Romney has something that neither you nor I have, a great gift. And that is he has a second chance to make a first impression. Now as soon as he becomes officially the nominee, there’s a lot of people who have not been following the race closely, maybe don’t know him, who are suddenly going to tune in. So this is a momentous couple of months ahead, because Mitt Romney gets to redefine himself for some of the voters. Now you talk to Democrats, and they say it’s too late, that we have the video, and he’s going to be stuck in this time warp, that’s who he is now. But in fact, the American people take their own measure of the people running for president. They get the sense of whether they’re comfortable in their own skin. And that’s going to be something that’s going to be very important for Governor Romney to portray, because that’s something that voters look for. They want someone who’s comfortable with themselves, and that therefore they can be comfortable with.

– – – –

HH: It’s an in-depth look at how the Republican primaries have unfolded, brought us to this day after Wisconsin with Mitt Romney as the presumptive nominee. One of my quarrels, Michael, I have very few quarrels with you, but at one point, you say no one was paying attention to Rick Santorum in the fall. Well, of course, Rick was on once a week with us, and about three months before Iowa, I said looks to me like you’re perfectly positioned to come in second or first there. I wonder, does Beltway-Manhattan media, of which you are a star but a friendly star, do you guys pay attention enough to conservative media that sees a lot that you guys don’t see?

MA: We should definitely pay more attention. You were totally right about that. Jon Ward of the Huffington Post also very early put himself, put his finger on the potential power of Rick Santorum. So you were totally right about that. And of course, we should pay more attention to media, left, right and center as my mother would say.

HH: All right, so given that, here’s my take on maybe what the book doesn’t see. It sees a lot. I’ve got to talk to you about all these other candidates. You quote at the end of the book, there doesn’t seem much question that Romney’s a good family man. Sons of political figures sometimes struggle, but Romney’s own sons seem to be both self-sufficient and close to their father. The Romneys actually do seem to be taken straight from a 1950s TV series. One advisor calls Romney Ward Cleaver, the ultimate white guy. For the great mass of voters nostalgic to return to a simpler and more prosperous time, Romney should fill the bill. Now here is my quarrel with that, Mike. That’s like right out of Axelrod’s playbook. I don’t think he’s got anything at all to do with the 50s. I think they’re actually high tech’ed up, that they are very, they’re past the old media paradigm of how candidates are supposed to act, and that they are very truly authentically family in the way that the big church movement, I remember a guy down…and you’ll understand this, at First Columbia Church in South Carolina once said to me, nobody does small town like a big church.

MA: I love that. That’s so good.

HH: It is. And so everyone wants small town, because it’s values of trust and character and reliability. And I think Romney comes through that way over and over again. But I think Axelrod wants to try and paint him as Ward Cleaver. I’m not even sure I’d struggle against it. What do the Romney advisors say about the Chicago gang’s attempt to put him in a time warp?

MA: Well, they know that the Obama machine is formidable. They refer to it as the Death Star. I’m actually calling you from Chicago, because I was chatting with some Obama folks today. And they’ve had a great luxury, which is that they’ve had several months to work on their campaign while the Republicans were focused on fighting each other. And the Romney folks recognize that they’re going against a very well-built, deep, proud, expensive machine. In Inside The Circus for the first time, we list the large numbers of states that already have Obama offices. Obama has more offices in particular states than Romney has in the whole country. So they’ve got a huge advantage in their field organizing – eight offices in Michigan, eight in Illinois.

HH: Eighteen in Florida.

MA: Florida, yeah. So…

HH: Thirteen in Pennsylvania, a dozen in Ohio. I’m looking at that page, nine in Michigan, seven each in Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia, four in Arizona. And then you go on to describe them. They’re wired in. It’s kind of filthy stealthy. And you know, one advisor said, trying to put the best light on what he’d just seen, groundbreaking. And then you write, Mike, you and Evan, in some ways, Obama 2012 headquarters looks like a vast student center. There are college banners, Christmas lights, a ping pong table with 2012 written on the surface. But the overall effect is quietly intense and purposeful. If enough smart kids could write enough code and mine enough data, the young Obamaites seem to believe they might be able to wire together enough votes to win. I thought that was, that’s the most important part of this book, because it is arrogant on their part to believe they have any idea what’s going on in America, because they talk to each other on social media. They don’t know, Mike. They haven’t been out there in the way that the Republicans have been, talking to people about unemployment, foreclosures, great deal of sense of despair about the future. I think Obama is out of touch. I think they’re projecting when they say Romney’s out of touch. I think he’s clueless about the country.

MA: Well, and of course in his remarks last night, his victory remarks in Milwaukee at the Grain Exchange there, introduced by Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney did say that he thought the President was out of touch. And there was a little, it was clever, throwing his own words back at him. But what the Obama folks will tell you is that they have been reconnecting with their own people. And Hugh, as you well know, they’re getting a lot of pushback and blowback from disillusioned Obama ’08 voters – some of your younger voters, newer voters. So they’re going to have to work to get those back. So it’s not just they’ve been talking to themselves. But they’ve been hearing from their own people that there’s unhappiness in the land, and specifically unhappiness with the President. They’re working on bridging that. Both sides think that their problems with their own bases will a little bit take care of themselves when the choice is Mitt Romney or when the choice is Barack Obama.

HH: Now let me ask you, Mike, there’s some interesting parallels here. Both Obama and Romney had fathers who were born in poverty outside of the country, who came to the United States. Of course, George Romney stayed and made something of himself, and President Obama’s father went back to Kenya. Both of them went to exclusive private schools. Obama’s the Punahou School, Romney is Cranbrook outside of Michigan. Both of them go to elite Ivy League institutions – Romney is a graduate, although he began at Stanford before he went to BYU. And Obama as a Harvard guy. Well, they’re both Harvard guys. And so they both have some amazing similarities. The difference, of course, is that Obama’s family fractured, and Romney’s family stayed together, coherent, cohesive, loving and a unit. And I think you see in their personalities the reflection of that. That’s not much in evidence of Inside The Circus. Maybe it’s a David Maraniss sort of thing. Did I pronounce his name correctly?

MA: Yeah, David Maraniss. He has one of the year’s most awaited books. He went back, and you wouldn’t think that there would be any unplowed ground about Barack Obama. But there is, and he found new information about his biography that’s going to, I can guarantee you, cause a stir on the campaign when it comes out a few weeks from now.

HH: How do you compare Matt Rhoades and David Axelrod? Obviously, you’ve spent time with both of them.

MA: Yeah, Matt Rhoades is younger, he came up in Romney world. I will tell you that something is similar between these two groups of advisors, is that they’re very comfortable with each other. Every senior member of the Obama campaign worked on the last campaign and in the White House. So they’re comfortable with each other. Similarly, a lot of the key officials, including the folks that you mentioned, Eric Fehrnstrom, Beth Myers, [Peter] Flaherty, all worked together in Romney ’08, so they’re comfortable with the Gov, as they call him, and they’re comfortable with each other. That’s a huge advantage, but that’s another fascinating place that these two campaigns mirror each other. You mentioned the no drama issue, which I agree with. And you have two pretty introspective, and two public figures who also have similarities in their personal traits. It’s pretty fascinating, surprising and unusual.

HH: Peter Flaherty, by the way. When we come back, I’m going to talk to you about the books these two candidates have written. They’ve both written two books. It’s very fascinating when you compare Romney and Obama. They have both written two books. I may be the only guy in America who’s read all four of those books except for my guest, Mike Allen.

– – – –

HH: How many more of these are coming, Mike Allen?

MA: We’re going to do four, Hugh. There’s going to be one right before the conventions at the end of the summer. The Republicans are in Tampa at the end of August, the Democrats in Charlotte, North Carolina at the beginning of September. And then we’ll do one right after the election. So the idea is to excite both people who are just tuning into the election, and also feed the people like us who have been catching every twist and turn. We discovered in sitting down with people, and there was some skepticism, Hugh, to be honest, about whether it would be possible to do the old Newsweek project in real time, to get candid revelations in real time. But what we found is that in this crazy news cycle, which we call the news cyclone, where you have like five stories a day, we found that people really like the opportunity to sit down, no cameras, no clock, and tell their stories, hit pause, talk about where we’ve been and where we’re going. It’s a new way to get information. Politico likes to be on all different platforms, wherever you are. And this is something new. We found a book for sources and readers that they’re finding this refreshing.

HH: Now I mentioned before the break, both of the presidential candidates have written two books. Barack Obama wrote Dreams Of My Father, and the Audacity Of Hope. Mitt Romney wrote Turn Around, and No Apology: Believe In America. I know for a fact that Mitt Romney wrote both of those books, often in longhand, always laboring over the typewriter. I’ve seen the drafts. I know that. I don’t know if Obama wrote Dreams Of My Father and the Audacity Of Hope. There are some speculations that in fact other people had a major hand in it. But they’re both writers no matter what. Have you read all four of those books? And what kind of comparison do you get between those books and their authors?

MA: Well, I have, and they very much were written. Governor Romney’s most recent book was one that really helped him get his mind around his agenda for the campaign. His advisors say that in preparing for the debates, that it was very comforting to him, because it gave him really a sense of where he was going. And you’re right about him writing it in longhand, you know, sitting outside in California. In fact, as you know, Hugh, they had a researcher/ghost writer, but they eventually parted ways, because Governor Romney wanted to write it himself. President Obama, you can see his touch with the typewriter as my old boss at the New York Times, Drummond Ayres used to say, that’s an outmoded term now, but you can see President Obama’s touch in the changes that he makes to the works of his own writers. The White House has posted these fascinating photos of President Obama’s emendations to remarks he made about health care to his state of the union. And so you can see that he, too, is a writer. And I can tell you, talking to his staff, they feel it, because he pushes them as only a writer will.

HH: Now I’ve got to ask you about this. This will matter so much going forward. In the middle of the book, you write one operative, who has extensive experience crafting messages for presidential campaigns, was doubtful about Romney’s scriptwriters. He was scornful of Romney’s mid-February speech before CPAC, which used the word conservative 35 times. It’s like saying I’m a car, I’m a car, I’m a car, trying to convince people you’re a car. According to the operative, Romney’s become like a golfer with too many thoughts in his head. Well yesterday, the President gave what may have been the worst speech of his presidency. Guy Benson analyzed it extensively at Townhall.com. It was absolutely miserable. It was chagrin packaged in 40 minutes with bad jokes and ridiculous hyperbole. I think they both need overhauls of their speechwriting shops, and they both need to go away from the teleprompter. Do you expect that both of them will?

MA: I don’t expect they’ll go away from the teleprompter. But as we move into this new engagement phase of the campaign, you can expect them to sharpen what they’re saying. A dilemma for the President is how partisan do you be, because one of his big assets, and this has been one of the theories of the Obama campaign from Day One, and I agree with them, is that he is the President, and to be statesmanlike. And so when you go out and give a caustic, personal, partisan speech, what does that cost you? Now they’re signaling that they’re going to play tough, that they are going to come to play just as the Romney campaign has in its commercials. So I think, Hugh, that we can definitely agree that this is going to be a very tough campaign. Both of them have showed that they’re going to go straight at each other from Day One. They believe it’s going to be close, you talk to them, nobody thinks it could be like Dole ’96, where he got behind and didn’t get ahead. In President Obama’s modern landslide, so-called landslide of 2008, he got 53% of the vote. He has a slightly lower ceiling this time. Hugh, you know that in America, as split as it is, it’s a 50-50 country. The difference between 53% and 49% can be a week or a weekend. It’s going to be tough and close, and that’s great for people like us who love politics.

– – – –

HH: Mike, when we were going to break, we were talking about the President’s alleged landslide in ’08. In fact, I’ve just read Sean Trende’s book, The Lost Majority, which is a very closely argued, apolitical look at the Obama majority that’s vanished, that his deep and narrow majority is shattered in a lot of these 12-14 states. We named them earlier. It’s a dogfight. It’s going to be 1980 all over again, and I expect Romney will be behind for a while, then he’ll catch up, he’ll go ahead at his convention, then he’ll fall behind at the Democratic convention, then he’ll close in September. The debates will have a huge deal, and it will break decisively one way or the other. Am I wrong? Is that your guess as well?

MA: No, that sounds right, and we think that Mitt Romney definitely could go way up. Democrats are convinced that unlike President Obama, who came out of his primary fight with Hillary Clinton stronger, Democrats are convinced, and Republicans are worried, Hugh, I can tell you, and you can hear it yourself, that Mitt Romney has been weakened by this, that among Hispanics, among women, that he’s paid a price during this campaign. So this reintroduction period is crucial. Some people are saying that Mitt Romney should go and hide for a while. No, I think they’re going to be out working it hard. They know they don’t have a day to lose. That’s why they don’t want to waste any more time on a primary if they think that they know where it’s going. So Rick Santorum has, says he’s all in for Pennsylvania. But Hugh, people are starting to wonder. Does he really want to be embarrassed in his home state? If it looks like Rick Santorum is not going to make it in Pennsylvania, will he go ahead and pull out before April 24th? There are no signs of that now, but you can see the logic for that. Newt Gingrich sounds like he’s going to the convention. Ron Paul, as you know, there is a friendship between Ron Paul and his wife, Ann Romney and Governor Romney, and I can see him making a deal for whatever he wants at the convention. He might get out quicker. And we haven’t talked about Ann Romney, something that we learned early in researching these books. It’s clear for your listeners to see how great she’s on stage when she introduces the President…introduces Romney. But what we learned was how important she was behind the scenes, how much calmer, easier he was when she is around, when she’s on the bus. Lois Romano did a great piece this week about her where Tagg Romney, the oldest of the Romney sons, referred to Ann Romney is the Dad stabilizer, that she just makes him feel so much better. As you know, Mrs. Romney has come back from multiple sclerosis, so they’re very cautious of her. She has a two event a day limit. The Governor enforces that himself. One week out of each month, she’s back in California riding horses. That’s part of her therapy. But a big and fascinating dilemma now for Matt Rhoades, Stuart Stevens, the rest of the campaign as they plan the weeks ahead, is how much do you keep her with Mitt Romney where she’s so helpful, or do you have her out in swing states working her own schedule? So as we look ahead to the fall, we have this fascinating subtext of also Ann V. Michelle.

HH: I’m also interested, and that’s true. Mrs. Romney was on the program two weeks ago. She is extraordinary. Everybody knows that. She’s in many ways as good as any first lady I’ve ever seen on the stump, and I’ve seen a lot of good ones. I want to know when you’re going to turn your attention, perhaps in the next book, to the President Obama team, because, Mike, he just had perhaps the worst political week ever, between this incredible, incredible admission of duplicity that he made to Medvedev, where he basically is on record saying I’m not going to be honest with the American people. Then you go, and he attacks the Supreme Court after three days of brutal arguments that destroy the efficacy of his health care, and then he goes to the AP and makes this outrageous, over the top, the Republicans are in favor of dirty air and crashing satellites, no air control systems, I think he’s falling apart. I think part of it is because his team’s in Chicago. I think Axelrod needs to get back closer to the guy he has run basically as a puppet for a long, long time, or they’re going to have themselves an absolute collapse. When are you going inside Team Obama in the way that you have Inside The Circus, and find out whether or not they’ve actually hit the panic button yet?

MA: No, as we hit the general election here, in the next book, a lot of it will be about Team Obama. I can tell you they’re not panicking. In fact, they are worried about overconfidence among their donors and supporters. The economic numbers have ticked up so well, they think that they have such a strong hold on Hispanic voters, they’re feeling very confident.

HH: You know, Mike, that’s just spin. I mean, what about the Medvedev crackup? That thing is a disaster that will live in between now and November. I’ll probably play it every day at least a couple of times.

MA: And the Romney Team also thinks it is…excuse me, the Obama Team feels that they benefited from being in Chicago, that if they were in Washington or the Washington suburbs, that they would be more consumed with what people in Washington are talking about, where out here in Chicago, they can more focus on the campaign, they can talk to their grassroots around the country. You don’t get caught up with the topics that obsess people like myself.

HH: All right, last two questions are the vice presidential questions. Joe Biden gave us another gift in talk radio by talking for 11 minutes yesterday and saying nothing about gas prices. We love the man. I hope he’s not replaced. I think he will be. So who’s going to be the vice president for [Obama], and who’s going to be the vice president for Mitt Romney, Mike Allen?

MA: The vice president for President Obama is going to be Joe Biden. The vice president for Mitt Romney may well be Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. Ohio is not optional for Republicans. It’s a governing pick, somebody who knows both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue – House leadership, Senate, U.S. trade representative, Bush budget director. He could, if he’s looking to excite conservatives, I can see him turning to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Some of the controversies in that state have probably hurt him. And you’re not going to believe me, not many people believe this, but write this down, I think someone who will get serious consideration, will be at the top of the short list, Paul Ryan, the House budget director of Wisconsin – young, Catholic, would excite conservatives, from the Rust Belt, in for a dime, in for a dollar. He’s going to be tied to Paul Ryan anyway. It would be a way to get a little of that Reagan magic. I think that his name is going to trend upwards, and certainly be strongly considered. Another name that’s been thrown out there, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, very comfortable with Mitt Romney.

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