The following is a discussion between Mitt Romney and his campaign manager and advisers.
Advisor: Now that we have the nomination wrapped up, Mitt, we have to turn to the convention in Tampa.
Romney: Yes, a few days in the hot Florida sun will do everyone good, I think. Listen, we have the platform stuff all tidied up right? I don’t want any surprises down there.
Campaign manager: We’re working on that as we speak, Mitt. But there are two items we need to discuss.
Romney: OK. Well, I want a big enough suite for my entire family and eggs benedict for breakfast.
Advisor #2: No, no, Mitt. Your acceptance speech and your running mate.
Romney: The speech shouldn’t be too hard. I want something that is long on vision and short on specifics. Some grand vision. Throw in references to freedom and liberty and choice and freedom from the government. That takes in a lot, don’t you think?
Campaign manager: Yes sir, it does. But people will be asking for specifics.
Rommey: Isn’t that what my website is for? Oh—throw in some references to our Founding Fathers. The Tea Party folks like them. I was Governor of Massachusetts. How about something from Sam Adams? Maybe I can get a beer endorsement out of it.
Advisor: Sam Adams was a radical revolutionary. I don’t think you want your campaign somehow linked to a radical.
Romney: You’re right. Guess he was the Bill Ayers of his time. How about John Adams?
Advisor: He was a federalist, sir.
Romney: Right. States rights and all that….
Advisor #3 (thinking): Is this Sarah Palin in a man’s body?
Campaign manager: I think some references to Madison or Jefferson, or even Ben Franklin will do nicely, Mitt.
Romney: Agreed. Besides, we need Pennsylvania and Virginia this year, boys. So Madison, Jefferson and Franklin it is.
Advisor: Now that we got that out of the way, have you considered anyone as your running mate?
Romney: I’ve considered lots of people, but who do you guys have on your list? Let’s compare.
Advisor #2: Well, there is Chris Christie from New Jersey. He might put that state into play. If nothing else, it would divert Obama’s attention and some money.
Romney: Do I look like John McCain? I don’t want to divert his money and attention. I want to win this election. I’ve met Chris. Nice guy, but he kind of scares me. I was having dinner with him in Princeton and all I said was that I was not a big fan of fois gras. He lunged across the table, sticks his finger in my chest and says, “Are you some California duck loving liberal?”
Advisor: So we should cross Christie off the list…
Romney: And fois gras.
Advisor: OK. How about Rob Portman.
Romney: The Senator from Ohio? I met him, you know. Nice guy. Knows his (expletive deleted) too when it comes to the economy.
Campaign manager: Well, he would certainly help solidify our message about the economy. Is he a yes or a no?
Romney: Didn’t he have something to do with Dubya before he was a Senator?
Advisor: Yes, sir. He was Management and Budget.
Romney: Budget…Bush…deficits. I want this election to be about the economy under Obama. Wouldn’t putting Portman on the ticket just bring up Bush all over again? I mean, why put us in that position? And speaking of George, how is he these days?
Campaign manager: Governor Perry assures us that Bush will be silent during the campaign. He is already assigning the Texas police to surround his ranch and cut off all means of communication with the outside world.
Romney: Rick Perry. I met him a few times…nice enough guy. Not too bright upstairs if you get my drift.
Advisor: Yes, sir. We were there during those early debates. Getting back to Portman…
Romney: I just don’t know. I’m thinking “No” because of that whole Bush connection thing. You know what? After I am elected, I won’t have to worry about all that and then I can maybe appoint him to my cabinet. What do you think? Treasury Secretary Portman?
Campaign manager: That would be a consideration, sir. OK…moving right along, how about. Never mind…you said no Bush, so I guess that eliminates Jeb.
Romney: Oh, yes, Jeb Bush. I’ve met him. Nice guy. Smart too. He obviously got the brains in the family, if you know what I mean. (They all share a chuckle).
Advisor: Bobby Jindal. Have you considered him?
Romney: Yes I have and the answer is “no.” Did you see that speech he gave after Obama’s State of the Union a few years back. Egads! I can’t have any of that. I mean, I want the anti-Palin, but I don’t want a corpse either.
Campaign manager: He’s improved since then, Mitt.
Romney: Well, I’ll think about it, but I’m leaning against. I mean, do I really need the Indian-American vote from Louisiana? And I’m not talking about Cherokees and Navajos, if you get my drift.
Advisor: We get it, Mitt. Tim Pawlenty. What about him?
Romney: Nice enough guy. I met him, you know? Again, I don’t want someone to overshadow me and go all rogue and all that and Tim fits that bill, but does this guy ever open his eyes?
Campaign manager: You’ve got a point, sir. Moving right along, how about Bob McDonnell?
Romney: The Governor of Virginia. Good guy, nice enough. I met him, you know? Certainly wouldn’t overshadow me and we do need Virginia. There is just one thing, though.
Advisor: What’s that (circling McDonnell’s name on paper)?
Romney: Well, he is a Governor and I was a Governor. Doesn’t that make too many Governors on the ticket?
Campaign manager: You have a point, sir. So we should make him a “maybe?”
Romney: Let’s come back to him. Who else we got?
Advisor #2: Well, there is Marco Rubio.
Romney: That Senator from Florida. I’ve met him several times, real nice guy. Even campaigned with me in Pennsylvania. And he’s a handsome one. But that could be a problem.
Campaign manager: How’s that, sir?
Romney: Well, my hair is always perfect. Not John Edwards perfect, but close enough and my teeth are white. I just think Rubio would overshadow my looks.
Campaign manager: He might help with the female vote. And the young people vote.
Advisor #1: And the Latino vote.
Romney: I don’t want to go there. I’ve worked with Mexicans and I’ve worked with Cubans. You know my family has roots in Mexico. Anyway, I don’t think they have anything in common with another other than Spanish surnames. Besides, wouldn’t that be pandering to the Hispanic vote?
Campaign manager: The Democrats would certainly spin it that way. But you know, the press is really pushing this guy.
Romney: Well, that could never be good. But I have an idea (snidely chuckles). Let’s tell the press that we fully vetted Rubio and that he is on the short list. That will get Axelrod and that gang all worked up and focused on Rubio. Maybe we can even get Rubio to propose or float some immigration reform stuff- nothing too comprehensive, though. This way while they look into Marco, it’ll give us some time to get to my choice I’m leaning towards.
Advisor: Who is that? We mentioned all the big names.
Romney: Exactly. But, I’m thinking of someone with some government experience- more than two years in the Senate. Someone with some executive experience in Washington, who knows how Congress works. Someone who is under the radar, who won’t overshadow me and will have good conservative credentials. I’m thinking west to South Dakota.
Campaign manager: Sir, although it would be bipartisan, I don’t believe George McGovern would be willing to be on the ticket. He’s a Democrat, you know.
Romney: McGovern? Who said McGovern? Is he even alive still?
Advisor: We’ll have to check on that, sir (writing on note pad)
Romney: No, no, no. John Thune from South Dakota.
Campaign manager: Hmmmm…. interesting choice, Mitt. OK, so its decided. We’ll get right on the Thune thing and make sure the press knows you’re “thoroughly vetting” Marco Rubio. That ought to take up the time of those rubes.
Romney: Good one. Rubio. Rubes. Get it?
They all share a laugh and clink martini glasses as scene fades to black.