Thursday, 19 July 2012

0 Sex, drugs and religion: How VPs are vetted

Mitt Romney vowed today he will pick a running mate who believes in "conservative principles," but gave no clue on who is or isn't on his short list.

The VP search led by Romney aide Beth Myers presumably is still going on, as Romney tries to decide on a No. 2 between now and the Republican National Convention.

Sex, drugs and religion: How VPs are vetted

Ever wonder who goes on during the vetting of a possible vice president?

Jason Zengerle of GQ has a fascinating read about being vetted by Ted Frank, one of the lawyers who helped conduct background checks on John McCain's potential running mates in 2008. Frank's work included vetting Sarah Palin, who was deemed "high risk, high reward" by A.B. Culvahouse, the man in charge of McCain's VP search.

GQ calls vetting a vice presidential pick "the most invasive process in politics." There are lengthy questionnaires dealing with personal finances, drug use, church attendance, foreign countries visited and the like. Interviews are said to touch on sexual encounters, fidelity, and "what if" policy situations.

Former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating, who was vetted in 2000 when George W. Bush was looking for a running mate, told GQ he was asked if there was anything in his life that would make him "vulnerable to blackmail or coercion."

Former Indiana senator Evan Bayh, who was on Barack Obama's short list in 2008, had to pay for some extensive medical tests to determine the diagnosis of a vexing stomach problem. "They wanted to make sure I wasn't dying," Bayh is quoted as saying.

Frank also briefly assesses some of Romney's most frequently mentioned VP possibilities. The risks:

    Ohio Sen. Rob Portman - "His ties to President George W. Bush" and years as a lobbyist. Portman was trade representative and budget director in the Bush administration.
    Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty - His "dozens of speeches where he might've spoken ill of Romney," whom he attacked during his brief presidential bid last year. Pawlenty once derided what he called "Obamneycare," the health care laws signed by both Obama and Romney.
    Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal - He once wrote an article for the New Oxford Review titled "Beating a Demon: Physical Dimensions of Spiritual Warfare" and attended the exorcism of a friend.

As for when Romney's choice might be revealed, the candidate said at a town hall meeting in Ohio today that he still hasn't made a decision. His wife, Ann, told ABC News that it's not a done deal yet.

"We are certainly talking a lot. This last week, this last weekend, there was a lot of discussion," Ann Romney said in the interview airing tomorrow on Good Morning America. "There was a lot of talk. We're not quite there yet. And we're going to be there soon."



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