here’s what Bill Kristol is hearing:
THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned that the Romney campaign has begun to prepare a vigorous effort in support of Paul Ryan if he is selected as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick—something now likely to happen soon. For example, GOP officials tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is among a group of Republicans who has been asked to be ready, in terms of his schedule and other practical preparations, to make the case publicly for a Romney-Ryan ticket as early as Saturday.
This of course does not mean the Wisconsin congressman will necessarily end up as Romney’s running mate. The Romney campaign may be working to lay the groundwork for one or two other possible picks, though THE WEEKLY STANDARD has been unable to find evidence of any comparable preparation for other candidates. Or the Romney team could be engaging in some last minute misdirection, as other campaigns have done. In 2000, much of the attention in the days before the announcement of Dick Cheney as Bush’s running mate focused on John Danforth, thanks to nudging from inside the campaign. And in 2004, the New York Post splashed on its front page a story indicating that Richard Gephardt would be John Kerry’s running mate. It’s entirely possible that the Romney campaign is engaging in the same kind of shenanigans.
But if the signs pointing toward Ryan, increasing in number, are meant as a feint, it’s an odd one. Ryan is popular among conservatives and Republicans, and the talk about him is generating lots of excitement in conservative and GOP circles. The campaign would presumably be acting to tamp down Ryan speculation if Ryan weren’t going to be the pick, in order to avoid a sense of letdown if he’s passed over. But the campaign is doing no such thing. Rather, it seems to be preparing observers for Ryan.