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ROMNEY/ Avoiding a second Sarah Palin

LORENZO ALBACETE reviews some of Romney’s options for running mate, and discusses whether or not it would be prudent for him to choose a woman, perhaps Senator Kelly Ayotte.

Mitt and Ann Romney campaigning   (Infophoto) Mitt and Ann Romney campaigning (Infophoto)

Mitt Romney is not saying much about who might be the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States, and observers and political gurus are discussing how much, if at all, he might be helped by choosing a woman as a running mate. Once again, The Week provides timely commentary on the issue.

Romney’s wife Ann has not been as secretive as her husband, leaking in an interview with CBS News last Thursday that her husband's campaign is considering choosing a female vice presidential candidate. “We've been looking at that, and I love that option as well,” she said. Though she stopped there, political commentators quickly began talking about whether choosing a female running mate would be a wise move.

The Week
cites a survey earlier this year that showed President Obama leading Romney among women voters by 16 points, causing some to argue that choosing a woman would certainly help him in his campaign.

What about New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who just appeared with Romney at a Fourth of July parade, and is being pegged as the early frontrunner. Would she be a good choice?

Romney has to assure voters that Ayotte is not another SarahPalin: Choosing Kelly Ayotte as his running mate would certainly help Romney secure the female vote, says The Capitol Column, but the campaign needs to tread carefully as “the move would likely remind voters” of McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Ayotte is “a rising star within the Republican Party” and could be a good choice if Romney is cautious when presenting her.

Ayotte could be a convincing VP choice”, says Elspeth Reeve at The Atlantic. Her state of New Hampshire is a swing state, she is popular with the Tea Party, and has an impressive background as a state attorney general. She has also been a staunch supporter of Romney throughout his campaign. However, she does not have much experience at the national level, as she was just elected to the Senate in 2010.

Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who was first elected in 1992, could be a better option, as could South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris, or New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who is Hispanic and from a swing state.