With not one Republican primary vote cast yet, we're getting way ahead of ourselves by speculating about whom Mitt Romney might pick as his vice-presidential running mate. But Willie Geist did invite Politico's Mike Allen to make his "bold predictions" for 2012. And Allen delivered, prognosticating that Romney would pick Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman as his ticket-mate.
Mark Halperin strongly seconded Allen's assertion. View the video after the jump.
Watch Allen make the case that the Romney campaign figures it should carry Florida without Marco Rubio on the ticket, whereas Portman could be more of the key to victory by helping to carry his home state of Ohio.
MIKE ALLEN: One of the first big stories in 2012, assuming Mitt Romney becomes the Republican nominee, however long it takes, who will be his vice-presidential pick? A lot of people are looking at Marco Rubio in Florida; he's definitely on the list. But I think the most likely to be chosen, at the top of Mitt Romney's list, is Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio. Brings that important state, put it with Michigan, where Mitt Romney could be strong, and you would really have President Obama sweating, there in the industrial Midwest.
WILLIE GEIST: Now, what does Portman give him, Mitt Romney, if it is Mitt Romney, what does he give him over Marco Rubio?
ALLEN: It's a two-fer. In addition to Ohio, and if Mitt Romney doesn't already have Florida he's already in trouble, so the Romney folks are hoping they're going to have Florida without Marco Rubio. Ohio would be a bit tougher call. So Rob Portman would be more helpful there. Also, it's a governing pick. He has experience on the Hill, both in the House and the Senate, in the White House as the Budget Director, and so he would bring a lot of gravitas, experience to this administration.
MARK HALPERIN: I think this is an easy one. First off, Mitt Romney is going to make a governing pick. He knows from history, the first, second and third obligation, both politically and substantively, is to pick someone ready to be president. I think Rob Portman is head and shoulders above most of the other people who Mike mentioned on that score. Both the press and the public would look at him and say, yeah, that's responsible, that's somebody who's ready to president. I think Chris Christie will also be considered. But I think on this one, somebody's going to have to make a compelling case for me, for someone besides Portman, for me to think it's not headed in that direction, or should be, assuming Romney's the nominee.