DERRY – People know what they want in Mitt Romney’s running mate.
They just don’t know a whole lot about those under consideration for the Republican presidential ticket and – three months to Election Day – haven’t bothered to learn.
Even Kelly Ayotte’s name draws shrugs from people unaware the first-term Republican senator from New Hampshire is on Washington’s watch list for vice president.
Some haven’t heard of Ayotte. Others don’t know she is their senator.
An informal survey last week did highlight what matters to them in a potential vice president.
“I think honesty and do stuff for the people,” Jon Lyons of Derry said.
“Integrity,” Jill DiMaria of Derry said.
“Right now, the economy and working for the
middle class people,” Theresa Carr of Derry said.
“Honesty, integrity, being able to step up if anything happens,” Amy Eaton of Sandown said.
“Integrity,” Pete Schindler of Derry said.
“Just to be prompt and, like, ready for anything if some
thing was to happen,” Abbey Smith of Der
For some, gender matters.
“I’d like to see a woman get in there because I think that would be a candidate who could give Obama some competition,” Paula Muse of Candia said.
For others, the GOP ticket should have fair and balanced viewpoints.
“I think they should have a good balance of their opinions so that they can come together and be equal to everybody,” Morgan Taschereau of Derry said. “There should be a good tuning in the middle, I’d guess you would say.”
So, summing up, someone who is honest, prepared and considerate of working people would make a good vice president. They want someone who can balance Romney’s thinking, being a woman could be a plus.
What of Ayotte then?
“New Hampshire something. I don’t know what her title is,” Kathy Lyons said.
“Isn’t she the governor here?” Kelly Kyriakides of Derry said. “Yeah, I’m not a Mitt Romney fan, but she’s good.”
“She is from New Hampshire. She is a senator from New Hampshire,” DiMaria said. “I think she is too like Sarah Palin and we know how that worked out.”
“Oh, I do know who Kelly Ayotte is. That’s New Hampshire isn’t it?” Eaton said. “She’s a senator from New Hampshire, isn’t she? I don’t know enough about her.”
“A nice girl from New Hampshire here. Means well,” Schindler said. “I’m not so sure that she would be a good running mate. I wouldn’t say so.”
People struggled with some names like Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, John Thune of South Dakota and Marco Rubio of Florida.
“Don’t know” or “I have no clue” was a common response.
Some willingly took a stab at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“Oh, that one rings a bell. Isn’t he something in Massachusetts?” Eaton asked.
“Oh, I do know him. He has a talk show,” Carr said.
“Is that the governor of New Jersey? Yeah, they say he would be (a good running mate),” Schindler said.
Jeb Bush, a former governor and brother of President George W. Bush, was known to some.
“He’s from Florida. He’s the brother of George? Yeah,” DiMaria said.
How about Condoleeza Rice, Secretary of State under George W. Bush?
“Don’t know,” Carr said.
“She is secretary of something,” DiMaria said.
“Is she the secretary of state?” Smith asked.
Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has the attention of Schindler.
“An excellent budget person that knows how to fight a little bit to get us back out of the horrible deficit we’re in,”Schindler said. “I think he would be a good running mate.”
Southern New Hampshire University political science professor Dean Spiliotes said he’s not surprised average voters don’t know much about Romney’s options at this point. He is not inclined to be too hard on them.
There will be a lot of information coming their way after the choice is made, he said.
“People will get up to speed pretty quickly,” Spiliotes said. “There will be instant overload as soon as we find out the choice.”
What matters now is voters can explain those qualities they are seeking in a running mate.
“That’s the main thing,” he said.
But Spiliotes said he would hope people in New Hampshire know Ayotte is one of their U.S. senators.
He sees the speculation over Ayotte as a running mate for Romney as beneficial for her.
“This has been an interesting ride for her,” Sp
Spiliotes is looking for Romney to go with a safe choice for his running mate.
“The reality is, for better or worse, the Sarah Palin experience has shaped the process this time,” he said.
Here is a consensus list of possible running mates for Mitt Romney: From the U.S. Senate: Rob Portman of Ohio, John Thune of South Dakota, Marco Rubio of Florida, Kelly Ayott e of New Hampshire From the U.S. House: Paul Ryan of Wisconsin Among governors: Bob McDonnell of Virginia, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and former Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Jeb Bush of Florida. Also mentioned: Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice Trivia: Oddsmakers in London have Portman at 2-1 and Pawlenty at 11-8, as the current favorites. Romney is a former governor. The last time the GOP fielded an all-governor ticket was 1948, the losing pairing of Govs. Thomas Dewey of New York and Earl Warren of California. Sarah Palin is derided as a bad pick by John McCain in 2008, but did you know George McGovern was forced to replace Thomas Eagleton in 1972 after revelations Eagleton received mental health treatments? Gerald Ford is the last vice president to assume the presidency in mid-term, in 1974, but never ran with Richard Nixon. Nixon named Ford to replace Spiro Agnew who himself had resigned mid-term.