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The Boston Globe’s Joan Vennochi is no fan of Mitt Romney, but her column today looks at the many upsides to McCain’s selection of Romney as his running mate. Key graphs:

At a time when the economy frightens everyone from Main Street to Wall Street, Romney has the most extensive and successful business background of any candidate on the national stage. McCain admits that economic theory is not his strong point….

Even if Massachusetts is more than a long shot, Romney might help McCain snatch New Hampshire from the Democrats. Romney could also be helpful in Michigan, the state where he was born and beat McCain; and in Nevada, which has a large Mormon population.

If McCain selected Romney, the former Massachusetts governor would probably spend every other day in his home state of Michigan and in the Ohio regions that need a rebirth of the car business. Romney as veep nominee has all the other advantages Vennochi points to, but his selection would really be about the electoral map, and there doesn’t seem to be any other Republican available who adds as much to the ticket in places where a McCain win would mean a McCain presidency. Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty does put the Gopher State into play, and would help with Wisconsin and Iowa as well, so he is the natural rival to Romney, and Pawlenty was with McCain from the beginning and stuck with him through the long summer of ’07.

But Romney’s finance team was formidable and could re-engage in minutes.Romney’s personal wealth would be important, but the fundraising network he built and the enthusiasm with which it worked for him is an existing, highly valuable asset, one that has to have appeal to Senator McCain as he surveys the networks Senator Obama has built.


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