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Suspense rises over Mitt Romney's choice for running mate

By David Usborne

Packed though it may be with aides, pollsters and consultants, the campaign bus can be a lonely place for a candidate chasing the keys to the White House.

But Mitt Romney, this year's Republican runner, is preparing at last to make some room in the front for someone to join him, hip to hip, for the rest of the journey.

Exactly when Mr Romney means to roll out the running mate he hopes will help him unseat President Barack Obama is a point of speculation almost as urgent as guessing who that person might be.

But any other hints about who he wants as the No 2 on his ticket were not forthcoming. "I certainly expect to have a person that has strength of character, a vision for the country that adds something to the political discourse about the direction of the country," the former Governor of Massachusetts said.

The Romney campaign has been actively stoking the suspense at a time when the campaign conversation has in all other respects not been kind to the candidate, particularly after he was seen to have botched his trip to Britain, Israel and Poland.

The window for revealing his vice-presidential choice is getting narrow -- it must happen before the Republican Party convention, which opens in Tampa in two weeks.

The final decision rests with Mr Romney alone and in the end it could be that he picks someone the rest of us haven't thought about -- a general, a mayor or an industrialist.

Popular names mentioned so far include Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American senator, Rob Portman, a senator from Ohio, Representative Paul Ryan and former governor Tim Pawlenty.

(© Independent News Service)

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