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ABC News Exclusive: Mitt Romney Kicks Off VP Search

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Mitt Romney on Monday revealed for the first time that he has put longtime adviser Beth Myers in charge of his vice presidential vetting process.

“I have selected someone who has been a counselor of mine for a number of years, Beth Myers.  She was my chief of staff when I was governor,” Romney told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview.

“I’ve asked her to be the person who oversees the process of the vice presidential selection and vetting an analysis and so she’s begun that process and is putting together the kinds of things you need to do to vet potential candidates,” Romney added.

Asked whether there is a deadline for choosing his running mate, Romney said he does have a deadline in mind but would not reveal the specifics.

“It would certainly be by the time of the convention,” he said.  “I don’t think we’ve chosen the time we’d actually make an announcement.”

Romney's wife Ann said this weekend, which the couple spent in Florida fundraising, was the first time they had actually spoken seriously about a vice presidential pick.

“You know it’s been interesting this weekend was the first time we seriously really talked about it and there are some wonderful people out there,” she told Sawyer.  “So we’re thinking about it now and we haven’t allowed ourselves to go there yet and I think this is a time when we realize it’s very important and it’s time to think about it.”

“There are some pretty terrific people out there,” she added.

Romney, who recently spoke about the need to appeal to Hispanic voters, said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is “one of the terrific leaders” of the Republican Party, but wouldn’t go as far as to say whether he is on the shortlist.

“I think it’s way too early to begin narrowing down who the potential vice presidential nominees might be,” Romney said.  “But we’re beginning that process.”

See the exclusive interview Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET on World News With Diane Sawyer and at 11:35 p.m. ET on Nightline.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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