Politics

Veepstakes 2012: George Will says Jindal, Peggy Noonan says Portman

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

On Sunday’s “This Week” on ABC during the roundtable portion, two top conservative opinion-makers made their cases for who they thought would make former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s ideal running mate.

Washington Post columnist George Will argued that Romney should consider Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for the spot.

“My choice is decided — he would be president of Purdue University,” Will said. “That is Mitch Daniels. Portman and Pawlenty, they’re just fine. I would prefer someone that brings a little more excitement. Ryan would be good. The trouble is, you take Ryan out of the House … in two years I guess he could be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.  So, by default, and that’s not to disparage him, I would probably [pick] Bobby Jindal.”

Earlier in the show, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman was an attractive pick, especially with his debate experience in previous campaigns.

“What’s interesting to me is every time that the Romney folks have so absorbed the lesson of Sarah Palin from four years ago — don’t go broad and don’t get impetuous,” Noonan said. “Pick a small group of people and drill really deep into their lives. I still think Rob Portman is one of those who might be able to — the senator from Ohio with a great deal of experience and accomplishment. Everybody says that would be doubling down on almost Romney picking a Romney sort of person.”

Noonan noted that Portman has played the role of the Democratic candidate in previous presidential elections’ debate practices.

“I think it would just be doubling down on a certain kind of seriousness. But there’s another thing [that] comes with Portman. Portman has a great ability to debate. As you know, in previous presidential cycles, he has, as a Republican, played the part of the Democrat the Republican candidate would be debating in debate rehearsals. Everybody always says and has been talking for years he’s so brilliant, he’s so funny and he’s so bright. Well, imagine someone taking those particular talents, bringing them into 2012 as a vice-presidential candidate and facing Joe Biden?”

With Biden set-up going head-to-head against Portman, the match-up could further expose weaknesses in the Obama administration, she said.

“I think Joe Biden is a very charming, but sometimes surprising and gaffe-prone person,” she continued. “And I think no one has pushed at him in three-and-a-half years. And I think Rob Portman just might eviscerate him. I think that might lead to a certain sense this growing meme out there of the administration as a house of cards. There’s something not fully stable, not fully operating, not fully right about this thing.”

Noonan’s co-panelist, National Journal’s Major Garrett, maintained he had predicted Portman all along, pointing out a column he wrote back from April.

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