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McCain in Romney Country

DETROIT — As Sen. John McCain campaigns in Michigan, there has been a flurry of speculation about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — a native of the state, whose father was governor — as a potential running mate. Over the last few days, Romney made the rounds on the cable news networks, where he went after presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama and coyly deflected questions about McCain’s veep vetting process. Here he is Tuesday on Fox News’ "Hannity & Colmes":

COLMES: You’d like the job, though, right? You wouldn’t say no?

ROMNEY: You know, I’m just not going to speculate at all about the VP process. I think it’s one of the least interesting parts of the campaign at this point.

I think the most interesting thing that’s going on relates to Barack Obama and his aggressive shift on policy positions in breathtaking speed, but with regard to — regards to the VP sweepstakes, I think it’s speculation that I’m going to avoid.

Nonetheless, the word is that Romney is not-so-subtly angling for the position. As we’ve previously noted, Romney would bring some advantages to the McCain ticket. The biggest obstacle remains the suspected animosity between the two men that arose from the primaries. Romney ran a negative campaign, prompting McCain to chastise Romney at a New Hampshire Republican debate, for airing a disingenuous attack ad:

"My friend, you can spend your whole fortune on these attack ads, but it still won’t be true."

During yesterday’s avail on the Straight Talk Express bus en route to the town hall meeting in Portsmouth, Ohio, McCain indicated there was no longer any ill will between the two.

“Oh yeah, we’ve spent a lot of time together, spent time together and, you know, I’ve seen other primaries, Michael, and they’ve been much more spirited and sometimes much rougher than ours was. There was a couple occasions where we had fairly sharp differences in the primary, but overall—how long did the primary last? A year? A year and a half? We had a respectful campaign. It wasn’t hard to come back together. And I’ve gotta say that his generosity, almost immediately — seeing me up in Boston was really a generous gesture on his part.”

Still, there has been no mention from the McCain camp that Romney will appear with the senator here today. It would seem logical that if McCain was seriously considering Romney as a running mate, he would put Romney out there on the stump in Michigan — a key battleground where he might have the biggest impact. Unless Romney makes a surprise appearance, it doesn’t look like that will be the case.

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