When will Mitt Romney announce his pick for vice president? Whatever date he chooses will certainly come at the conclusion of a cost-benefit analysis that takes into account political momentum, media power, and the timing of the upcoming GOP convention.
Conventional wisdom says that Romney won’t want to announce on a Friday, when news staffs prepare to pack it in for the weekend, as he would miss out on the opportunity to maximize publicity. While it’s true that making the announcement on a Friday could limit the press response slightly, that could be exactly what Romney wants, and there’s precedent for announcing a controversial candidate on a Friday. John McCain’s shocking announcement that he had chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate came on a Friday.
Going back a bit farther, we can see the different strategies that candidates have used to announce their running mates. George W. Bush personally asked Dick Cheney, the head of his vice presidential search committee, to serve — on a Tuesday, in mid-July. Perhaps he chose a date farther from the GOP convention date to give the GOP time to accept his choice of running mate, as choosing the head of the search committee was certain to turn heads.
Bob Dole’s 1996 running mate, Jack Kemp, was actually chosen on August 10, 16 years ago today. His selection came on a Saturday, another slow news day, perhaps because Dole’s first choice, Bill Bennett, had declined the job.
Finally, in 1988, George H. W. Bush announced his choice of Dan Quayle at the official GOP convention, perhaps to maximize the political momentum and energy gained from the convention.
If Romney’s pick is controversial, like relative political newbie Marco Rubio, it could be coming today or this weekend. Otherwise, with a safer choice like Paul Ryan, he may hold out until the convention, using his announcement to generate even more energy.