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Mitt Romney's Top Seven Vice Presidential Picks

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By Ben Cohen: Now we know for certain that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for President this year, we can expect a brand new media circus over who he will pick for his running mate.  We'll get fancy graphics, charts, polls, and hours of analysis from the pundits - enough to put any sane person over the edge. While it will be painful to watch, it is actually quite an interesting process, largely due to Mitt Romney's extraordinary inability to connect with the public and his decidedly liberal past.

To beat Obama, Romney will have to close the massive gap with women, get the base out, attract minorities (particularly the Latino community), and woo the center - all of which are completely contradictory. It's a tough decision for Romney, and one he will have to think about very carefully.

Here's The Daily Banter's summary of Romney's top choices:

1. Jeb Bush

Pros: Gets the base out - a huge pro given Romney's weak showing with the Right in his party. Jeb Bush is also very popular in Florida, a swing state that could be a big factor.

Cons: He's a Bush, does nothing for Romney for women and has the 'old white guy' factor that Romney should probably stay away from.

Likelihood: 5/10

2. Marco Rubio

Pros: The jr Senator from Florida almost has it all - he's charismatic, Latino, is in a crucial swing state, and is well respected by conservatives. He would add an 'X Factor' to Romney's campaign and is the betting favorite for a reason.

Cons: Rubio is inexperienced on the national stage and has only spent 2 years in the Senate. As a Cuban American, he also supports the DREAM act that allows illegal immigrants to become citizens under certain circumstances - a big no no with the Right.

Likelihood: 7/10

3. Rick Santorum

Pros: Helps Romney massively with the evangelicals and hard Right in his party. Santorum has a far better ability to connect with voters as he is seen as a genuine candidate.

Cons: He's a religious nut and is positively toxic to the center and women. Santorum and Romney have also fought bitterly over the past few month and Santorum has still refused to endorse Romney despite dropping out of the race. It's unlikely Romney's team will want anything to do with him going forward as the cons seriously outweigh the pros.

Likelihood: 2/10

4.  Newt Gingrich

Pros: Gingrich is respected by conservative voters and would definitely help bring out the base.

Cons: The worst thing about Gingrich is that he's an ego maniac and Romney would never be able to control him. Gingrich is also personally despised by the establishment, hated by women and not trusted by the center. Gingrich would have to completely change his personality to come on board, and that simply isn't going to happen.

Likelihood: 0/10

5. Ron Paul

Pros: Paul could help Romney with the Tea Party activists and libertarians.

Cons: Paul is far too divisive for national elections - both sides consider him an extremist and he would alienate the center and base. Not a good choice for Romney.

Likelihood: 0/10

6. Condoleeza Rice

Pros: She's black and a woman, two demographics Romney needs serious help with. The former isn't that important as Republicans rarely attract African American voters, but the latter is becoming a real issue for Romney. He needs women to come out and vote for him, and Rice would help him do that. Obama's former green jobs czar Van Jones recently spoke on the possibility of a Romney/Rice ticket, stating it would do wonders for Romeny's campaign: "She's actually tested. She is actually a national figure. She has foreign policy experience. She was secretary of state. And she's sitting there. Now people say, you know, you want to do something bold, put Condoleezza Rice on the ticket and watch the Obama campaign go crazy." Jones is right and team Romney would be smart to seriously consider her.

Cons: Rice is mistrusted by the base (she's pro choice), and hasn't expressed any real desire to be on a national ticket. She's also a private person seemingly more comfortable out of the limelight these days.

Likelihood: 3/10

7. Paul Ryan

Pros: Ryan is hugely popular with the base given his extremist views on austerity and budget measures. He's young, well spoken and a major figure in GOP politics these days, and no doubt has Presidential aspirations of his own.

Cons: Ryan does not help Romney with the center - which may not be a problem as Romney does quite well there any way, but he doesn't really help with women, minorities or Romney's lack of charisma either. There isn't a huge X factor in a Romney/Ryan ticket, and to take on Obama in the general, people need to be excited.

Likelihood: 3/10

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