In the latest edition of his “Crystal Ball,” University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato sizes up the roster of potential running mates for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Looks like no one can accuse Virginia’s most famous political pundit of home cooking.
Sabato, the director of UVA’s Center for Politics, does not put Gov. Bob McDonnell — often mentioned as a VP contender — in the top tier of potential Romney running mates. He ranks Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as first-tier candidates.
McDonnell is in the second tier with notables such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
“He is clearly available for the job and would accept in a nanosecond if offered,” Sabato says of McDonnell in his video report.
In his written analysis available here, Sabato identifies McDonnell’s strengths as being “willing and very available,” being from a swing state, being polished and no threat to overshadow the guy at the top of the ticket. His weaknesses? “Transvaginal ultrasound” ; “White bread sandwich + mayo” ; “Ties to Pat Robertson.”
Sabato said the conservative who would bring the most excitement to a Romney ticket is not constitutionally eligible for the job. That would be Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who recently was shipped to the New York Jets.
– Michael Sluss