WASHINGTON — Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney said Monday he is tapping long-time aide Beth Myers to coordinate his search for a running mate to join him on the ticket for November’s election.
“I’ve asked her to be the person who oversees the process of the vice presidential selection and vetting and analysis, and so she’s begun that process and is putting together the kinds of things you need to do to vet potential candidates,” Romney told ABC News.
Myers served as Romney’s chief of staff when he was governor of Massachusetts, then managed his 2008 presidential campaign, when he lost the Republican nomination to Senator John McCain.
Romney, interviewed with his wife Ann — whose profile has soared in recent days after a Democratic strategist insisted the homemaker mother had “never worked a day in her life” — would not reveal details of when he will make his pick.
“It would certainly be by the time of the convention” in late August, Romney told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an interview set to air later Monday. “I don’t think we’ve chosen the time we’d actually make an announcement.”
Ann Romney said a trip this past weekend to Florida where the couple spent time fundraising “was the first time we seriously really talked about” his potential running mate.
“There are some pretty terrific people out there,” she said in the interview.
Speculation over who Romney will pick has swirled ever since his main rival Rick Santorum dropped out of the race, essentially handing the Republican nomination to Romney.
US Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is seen as near the top of any Romney shortlist for the position, particularly if Romney prioritizes his need to appeal to Hispanic voters, who favor President Barack Obama by a wide margin.
Romney described Rubio as “one of the terrific leaders” of the Republican Party but stopped short of saying whether he’s a leading contender.
“I think it’s way too early to begin narrowing down who the potential vice presidential nominees might be,” Romney said. “But we’re beginning that process.”
Romney’s pick is expected to get huge scrutiny, after McCain’s choice of virtual unknown Alaska governor Sarah Palin was seen as a liability.