Thune’s VP star shoots up

Team Romney has let word out that South Dakota’s own John Thune is on the VP list. The deed was done via the National Review Online (but of course), and apparently an NBC reporter tagged along with Thune to the Custer fire hall Wednesday, too.

Having a national reporter drop in to small-town South Dakota means Thune is a big enough story to prompt said reporter to make the trip. Not insignificant.

From the NRO:

As Mitt Romney’s senior advisers consider their vice-presidential prospects, they’re keeping an eye on a dark horse: Senator John Thune, a lanky and telegenic South Dakota Republican.

“Even though he’s not from a battleground state, he’s seen as serious and credible,” says John Sununu, a Romney confidant. “There’s no question, in my mind, that he’s on the list for consideration.”

“Very smart,” says Ed Rollins, Ronald Reagan’s former campaign manager, when asked about a potential Romney-Thune ticket. “He looks presidential and passes all the tests.”


(Who else is starting to twitch whenever they read the word: telegenic?)


“I don’t think you ever rule out or say no to opportunities to public service if you are really interested in making a difference for your country, you want to put your gifts and abilities to the highest and best use,” Thune told reporters following a town hall in the local firehouse here. But, he added, “I don’t expect that to happen but I don’t think you never say never when it comes to serving your country.”

Thune seems to have shifted in the way he’s spoken about about his contact with the Romney campaign. Just two weeks ago, the senator told The Hill, he had yet to be contacted by the Romney campaign. But today, Thune said, “We talk to him all the time.”



Thune VP buzz buzzing buzzily

He’s not at the top of the list. We can’t all hail from Ohio, after all. But South Dakota’s own John Thune is in the mix as the quadrennial Veepstakes speculation enters the frenzied stage.

South Dakota's own John Thune is in the Veepstakes mix. Huzzah!

With Mitt Romney’s GOP nomination all but wrapped up, we have a few months ahead of us of media obsession over this potential game-changer.

I’ve seen Thune on various lists over the past weeks, heard his name escape the lips of TV pundits and even seen his photo in a montage while he got no mention in the accompanying article.

The latest to catch our attention here at the MDR is this piece from a Virginia paper that lists Thune as a fourth-tier(!) contender and labels him “a whitebread sandwich.” Well, I never.

He gets more prominent mention in this WaPo blog post.

My take – worth what you’re paying for it – is that he’s an attractive choice. Very unlikely to gaffe it via a live mic, knowledgeable on the requisite range of issues, comfortable with crowds of all income levels, not a bad bio and “impeccable conservative credentials,” according to another Washington Post assessment.

But my gut tells me he’d rather not. Not this time, anyway. It seems to me the upside is limited in an uphill race he wouldn’t control. The downside seems to have too much potential. Romney could gaffe it in a contagious way that would be difficult to recover from. A landslide defeat, not probable but possible, would hang over his head indefinitely. The rabbit hole has already proven a wild ride. Who knows what misadventures await?

Perhaps more interesting is that none of the pundits seems to think Thune will be Romney’s choice, but they all feel the need to include him in the mix. If that doesn’t say rising star, I don’t know what does. And there aren’t too many places left for a fella to rise to.