(WASHINGTON) — PORTMAN ON ROMNEY TURF, BUT NO MEETING: Sen. Rob Portman ventured onto Romney’s turf this weekend, participating in an event for the New Hampshire GOP in Concord, but he told reporters Saturday he had “no plans” to meet face-to-face with the Republican nominee. But the Ohio senator could have another chance to meet with Romney or his staff in Boston today as he headlines a fundraiser for Romney at the Westin Copley, ABC News’ Gregory Simmons reported.
RUBIO TO FUNDRAISE FRIDAY: ABC News obtained a copy of an invitation to a Romney fundraiser featuring Sen. Marco Rubio in Boston Friday. The $2,500-a-plate luncheon will be at the Boston Harbor Hotel, putting the Florida senator close to Romney’s headquarters where he could potentially meet with Romney’s staff.
RUBIO OP-ED ON HEALTH CARE: Rubio aligned himself with Romney Sunday in an Orlando Sentinel op-ed slamming President Obama’s health care plan, stressing that it is a tax. “With the recent decision on Obamacare, we were reminded of why this news matters far beyond the Supreme Court’s steps. It matters in kitchens like the one in Ben Pumo’s restaurant and for individuals and business owners across the country. Obamacare is not the president’s signature achievement. It’s the signature example of the leadership failures and broken promises that have defined Obama‘s presidency,” Rubio wrote. “Obamacare is bad policy that adds around $800 billion of taxes on the American people. It does not discriminate between rich and poor. It hurts everyone. It is a job-killer that will drive up insurance premiums and jeopardize the ability of millions of Americans to keep the insurance coverage of their choice. For individuals not complying with Obamacare, it means the IRS will come calling if they fail to pay the Obamacare tax.”
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN TO THE VP PICK: With seven weeks to go until the Republican National Convention in Tampa, the veepstakes is entering its final stages, with speculation rising about whom Romney will select as his running mate and when he’ll announce his decision, the Washington Post’s Phil Rucker reported. “With the prospective vice presidential candidates fanning out as campaign-trail surrogates, Romney and his closest counselors have entered the final stages of selecting the ultimate surrogate – a running mate. There are seven weeks remaining until the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and Romney has a few important strategic decisions to make before then: not only who to name as a vice presidential nominee, but also when and how to do so,” Rucker wrote. “Will Romney follow the precedent of both parties in 2008 by waiting until a few days before the start of his convention to announce his pick? Or will he elect to name a running mate sooner to effectively double the Republicans’ ability to raise money and campaign against an incumbent president and vice president? And if Romney goes the early route, will he make the announcement over the next 2 1/2 weeks before he departs for Europe to begin a foreign trip? Or will he wait until he returns from overseas in early August, when the campaign will be competing against the London Olympics for media attention? Romney campaign officials would not comment on the confidential vice presidential selection process but said nothing has been determined.”
CHRISTIE’S TUSSLE ON THE JERSEY SHORE: “One week, two shouting matches, one governor of New Jersey,” ABC News’ Shushannah Walshe reported. “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got into another verbal battle Thursday night, but this time with a constituent instead of a reporter. In video posted by TMZ, Christie is on the boardwalk of Seaside Heights, N.J. (yes, home to MTV’s Jersey Shore) holding an ice cream cone and yelling, ‘You’re a real big shot, you’re a real big shot shooting your mouth off.’ The video doesn’t show how the exchange begins, but the man replies, ‘Just take care of the teachers.’ Christie, who appears on many veepstakes contender lists, replies, ‘Keep walkin’ away, really good, keep walkin’.’”
McDONNELL’S MILITARY SERVICE: Yahoo! News’ Chris Moody notes that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is the lone VP contender who adds military service to the GOP ticket, and if he’s not selected, neither party will have a former service member on their ticket this fall. “The last time a presidential election was held in which neither ticket included a former military service member, the Chicago Cubs had just played in the World Series, Al Capone was furnishing his prison cell, and a gallon of gas cost a dime. For the first time in decades, it could happen again. (And we’re not talking about a winning season for the Cubbies.),” Moody wrote. “Of those rumored to be on Mitt Romney’s short list for vice president, only one, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, has served in the military. McDonnell attended the University of Notre Dame on an Army ROTC scholarship and served on active duty in Grafenwohr, Germany, and Newport News, Va., until 1981. McDonnell remained in the Army Reserves, and retired as a Lt. Colonel 16 years later. Since 1944, at least one of the presidential candidates for a major party has spent time in the military. Neither President Barack Obama nor Vice President Joe Biden were eligible for the draft during the Vietnam War. Obama was 8 years old when the lottery was reinstated in 1969, and Biden was 28, making him too old. Romney was eligible, but received four deferments, first as a student and then for his mission work in France for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of course, all could have enlisted in the service voluntarily at some point in their lives if they wanted to.”
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