Mitt Romney’s campaign declined to directly dispute an MSNBC story citing an “informal adviser” who said that Sarah Palin had made it nearly impossible for Romney to pick a woman as his running mate. The campaign instead pointed to a recent remark from Romney in which he said no one truly knows what’s going on in the VP search besides himself and the woman heading up his selection process, longtime aide Beth Myers.
The remark from the “informal adviser” to the Romney campaign quickly caught fire. From MSNBC:
[F]ew women except for New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte — a freshman lawmaker from New England with only scant federal experience — are thought to be under consideration by Romney.
“I think unfortunately, Palin poisoned the well on that,” said one informal Romney adviser, fretting that any woman selected as VP would draw inevitable comparisons to the former Alaska governor. “I would guess if I were inside the Romney mind that they’re worried that any woman chosen will be subjected to a higher level of scrutiny. “
An anonymous “informal” adviser’s “guess” at what’s going in in Romney’s head is less than rock-solid evidence that Team Romney considers women too hot to handle after Palin. Romney’s campaign refused to directly answer any questions on the validity of the assessment, or the idea what women are not seriously being considered for the VP post, and instead repeatedly pointed to this quote from Romney’s appearance on Sean Hannity’s radio show Tuesday. A transcript (emphasis from the Romney camp):
Hannity: “What did you make of the ABC News report this morning that said Marco Rubio was not being vetted but Governor Tim Pawlenty was being vetted? Any comment on that story?”
Mitt Romney: “I get a kick out of some of the speculation that goes on. I’m not going to comment on the process of course. But I can tell you this: only Beth Myers and I know who is being vetted.”
Hannity: “Does that mean Ann Romney doesn’t know?”
Romney: “Even Ann doesn’t know. We talk about the possible people that I might select. But in terms of actually who is being vetted, that is something only two people know. And Beth Myers doesn’t talk.”
Hannity: “Is there a shortlist?”
Romney: “There are a number of people who are being vetted and that is obviously the group we are considering most seriously.”