The former Carter speechwriter and top aide to legendary House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, suggested that the second best pick for Romney would be Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. “I think he’s looking at Virginia and Ohio” as states Romney must carry to beat President Obama, added Matthews. It's an assessment GOP officials agree with, seeing Portman strong on conservative and fiscal issues and without social policy baggage.
As for Tea Party favorite, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Matthews said the GOP should wait. “He’s the future, he’s not now,” said Matthews, who suggested that former President George H.W. Bush picked Dan Quayle as his veep before the former Indiana senator was ready for prime time.
In the general election, Matthews said President Obama is no shoo-in. He figured that Romney’s base of support will be the 47 percent Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., won in 2008. “So he has to get back half of that 6 percent difference and it’s not too hard,” he said, snickering that he’s not heard any McCain voters say they are likely to vote for Obama.
And on Election Day, he said margin of victory will be among voters who make up their mind at the last minute about whether the president “is the best bet for the next four years,” a decision that will be impacted, he added, by gas prices and unemployment. Gas closer to $5 a gallon and unemployment closer to 9 percent, he said, would give the election to Romney.