FAIRFAX, Va. — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney stood on a stage here and praised Bob McDonnell, Virginia’s governor and a much-discussed potential running mate for any 2012 Republican nominee.
“I say nice things about Gov. McDonnell every time I get a chance,” Romney told a crowd of Republican activists in the parking lot of the county GOP headquarters. “He’s a terrific governor, doing a great job out here in the state of Virginia.”
However, Romney wouldn’t go far as to admit that McDonnell would be on his vice-presidential short list if he wins the nomination for president.
“It would be presumptuous for anyone in my position, so far from the nomination, to start thinking about who might be a vice president,” Romney said.
In a brief interview with The Daily Caller after the event, McDonnell, who has said before that he’s open to being vice president, played coy when asked if he would agree to serve on a ticket with Romney.
“I’ll let him decide what he wants to do in about 9 months,” he told TheDC. “He’s got a lot of work to do before he gets there.”
Added McDonnell: “I’ve got the best job in America, the job that Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson had. Who would want to leave?”
McDonnell hasn’t made an endorsement yet in the GOP race for the White House, but Romney made it known he would welcome it.
“There are no endorsements today, although those are always welcome,” Romney said to laughs from the crowd during the event to whip up enthusiasm for Republicans in upcoming statewide elections.
Romney also played the part of the inevitable GOP nominee during a press availability, declining to discuss rivals Herman Cain and Rick Perry when asked by a reporter. Instead, he pivoted to a critique of the incumbent Democrat, Barack Obama.
During his visit to the “GOP Victory Center,” Romney placed a phone call in front of reporters to one Virginia voter, encouraging him to support Republicans.
“This is Mitt Romney calling,” he said to laughs from those watching while leaving a message for the voter. “It really is.”
He also told activists that it would be important for Republicans to win Virginia in the presidential election next year, noting how Obama visited Fairfax County shortly before winning in 2008.
“We’re counting on you Fairfax County,” he said. “This is where President Obama — then it was candidate Obama — made his last campaign stop. This was his last, last visit. Then he went on to win.”
“Well now were going to send him a message [in] the last place he campaigned: we’re taking back the White House.”